NaNoWriMo Progress Report: Week #2

Welcome to week #2 of NaNoWriMo. How’s everyone feeling?

I, for one, am surprised I made it this far. After falling behind last week, I wound up spending my weekend frantically getting caught up. But I finally broke 10k last night and I’m feeling good!

Probably my favourite NaNo trick (aside from letting people know what you’re doing and telling them to leave you the hell alone when you’re writing) has been writing in 20 minute sprints. I like to set a timer on my phone and try to hammer out as many words as I possibly can before it goes off. I kind of turn it into a competition against myself while I’m at it. It’s super nerdy, I love it.

For me – a person who needs to take regular breaks or my brain will revolt – this is a much more efficient system than shunning the internet and turning off my phone. I work my ass off knowing that the break is coming, and then I rest knowing that I’ve already accomplished a lot. It’s win-win!

Something else I’ve found super helpful has been being hyper organized (something I wish I could be in the rest of my life but I’ll settle for just NaNoWriMo for now).

Behold, my NaNoWriMo Google Drive folder:


What is this hellscape?

As a writer, Google Drive has been my saviour. The last time I attempted NaNoWriMo I tried to write my entire manuscript in one massive document.

It was a bad idea.

This time around I created a filing system that has been working wonders for me. Not only is all of my prep work in one place (outline, character profiles, research, etc.) but  I work in a new document every day so it’s easier for me to go back and find what I worked on at specific times. At the end of each day I move everything to a master doc so I can easily validate my word count on NaNoWriMo’s site.

Honestly, it might seem excessive, but I LOVE IT. I’m planning on writing Book 2 of The Star and the Ocean all at once and I will absolutely be using this system when I do.

What about you? What are your tips and tricks for winning NaNoWriMo this year? And how is your word count going? Tell me all about it in the comments!


12 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Progress Report: Week #2

  1. ToadieOdie says:

    I’ve been writing my book as episodes and posting it in my blog. I plan to compile it together in the end for validation. I also have copies of everything running in Scrivener so I can certainly understand your system. It is so much easier having your book sectioned off in chunks to work with!

    The first time I tried to write a book, all I had was an electric typewriter. No joke. I got about half way and decided to rewrite the entire thing and then lost everything. Something similar happened with my second attempt. After that I stuck with short stories for years. Now that I have a computer and the internet I am keeping multiple copies of this bad boy every where.


    • maggiederrick says:

      I think a lot of writers romanticise the idea of writing on typewriter but, damn, that would be devastating! Thank goodness for the cloud, let me tell you.

      When you say episodes, do you mean you’re writing your novel like a screenplay?


      • ToadieOdie says:

        More like trying to write the chapters like a mini series I think. Not exactly in true short story form because each one flows into the other smoothly (I hope), but I try to stop in a place that makes sense and will encourage the reader to come back before I post it on the blog. It’s still in traditional prose format.

        And while I miss the sound of the typewriter greatly, I do very much love being able to back up and save everything the way we can now without all the clutter! There was a program called Clicky Keys I think you could use on your computer that would almost sound like a typewriter but it missed the mark on certain aspects like the sound of the bar returning when you hit the return key and its “ding” sound when it finished doing that. The program only gave you the key strikes, but it was better than nothing suppose.


      • maggiederrick says:

        Ah. that’s kind of what I do with The Star and the Ocean. It seems to be the best format for web novels – you have to really give readers a reason to want to check back in regularly!


  2. Luke says:

    Hey, just wanted to say that I discovered the little 20 minute sprints thing too, it works so well! I know that if you were very pressed for time, you might not be able to spread things out like that.. but for me, having 20 minutes where I am 100% focused, and then a nice break where I can grab some food, is so much better than just having a slow unproductive hour or hour and a half!


    • maggiederrick says:

      Glad to hear it, Luke!

      I tried writing without the sprints last night and honestly, it was a nightmare. I was so easily distracted and got about about a third of what I could have written in the same amount of time doing sprints. Blah.

      They also help me feel productive when I only have 20 minutes here and there to squeeze in between projects at work. Super handy!


      • Luke says:

        Haha yes, fair enough, fitting writing in between other things is always going to be the struggle.

        Have you been to any write ins at all? I haven’t been able to go to any but they sound quite fun, it would be nice to have a bit of competition and see who could write more in the one day!


      • maggiederrick says:

        No, I haven’t. I don’t live in a community that hosts official write ins, although a friend and I are trying to arrange some! I’ve heard they’re pretty awesome though.


      • Luke says:

        Well, if you would ever like a friendly competition some day to see who could write the most or would like someone to bounce any ideas off then you are welcome to give me a message in a comment or an email or something – a virtual write in!


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