Author’s Log: In Which We Write Or Die (#ROW80, #NANO, #amwriting)

Hoooooooo-da-lally, folks. There’s enough smoke coming from my keyboard to send signals instead of my normal update post.

You thought Project Insanity was, well, insane? Well, I got it into my head to not only draft the final book of my Blood & Steam series because of deadlines (30k words), but to ALSO draft the first half of DRAGON’S HEART for NaNo (45k words).

So that’s, like, 75k words THIS MONTH. 18,750 words per WEEK, which shakes out to about 2600 words a day. Without stopping. Or, it seems, eating or sleeping.

And I’ll be doing this for December, too, to finish out 2015 with a bang, followed by what will sound awfully like a whimper. From me.

I rearranged my Production Schedule slightly to give myself some wriggle room, and have dedicated at least one evening a week (TV nite) to develop future projects well ahead of time. This largely occurred because a story that’s been banging around in my head awhile came together rather abruptly and demanded to be written, so I was up until close to 2:00am not so much outlining as telling myself the story, scribbling longhand before it leaked from by brain.

So, when the TV’s on in our house, I don’t feel like I’m losing production time. Take that, Netflix!

After a week off from the day job, I’m back and at it again, busy as ever. It didn’t help that my car broke down while my husband was driving it the Sunday before I was due back at work. Of course it couldn’t happen the week I didn’t actually need the car. Oh, no. But the evening before, when our mechanic’s shop was closed. Two days later, it’s running better than ever, but sheesh.

But back to the 2600 words per day thing. As it happens, I’ve been averaging (so far) around 3000 words a day–something I didn’t think would be possible unless I wasn’t working a day job. I’ve had my few successes, but it’s difficult to maintain that level of productivity ongoing.

So how’d I do it? I discovered an app for my computer called Write Or Die. And holy wow, does it work! I wrote 18k words in five days, y’all. 18,000 WORDS IN 5 FLIPPIN’ DAYS.

!!! o_O !!!

Basically, it forces you to write. Otherwise, if you linger a bit too long, it starts flashing warnings, alarm bells, and grumpy cats all over the place until you get typing again. Then, if you didn’t think to turn off “Kamikaze” mode, it deletes your words.

This, if you’re not prepared for it, will cause a minor heart attack. Because you’ve just installed this rather neat little program onto your computer, and NOW IT’S WIPING EVERYTHING. *shriek* *panic* ::FLAIL::

I nearly unplugged the entire Internet before I figured out what was going on. And then I felt silly, but a bit calmer.

Your session is then saved into a text doc (in a save folder you chose before writing), and then you can put the words wherever you need to after (Scrivener, Word, etc.) It also automatically saves every few seconds, so score. Or, you can simply copy and paste if you so choose.

There’s free trial, or you can just go for broke and spend the 20 clams to get the full version. Best $20 I ever spent.

Look, I even have stats!


Words Drafted: 18,295
Best Day: 6,023 (Saturday)
Days Drafted: 5/7
Avg Daily Words To Completion: 2,363
Overall goal completion rate: 18,295/75,000 words = 24%

So there’s that. This means, that as long as I can keep fast drafting, I can pare down my production cycle to between 3-4 months. Which means better stories FASTER.

Now on to:


1. Draft BLOOD & STEAM 3 (30k words): In Process (30% Complete)

I got to write my hero sparring with his boxing machine this week, and gave Lucia a chance to save the proverbial cat after a hydrogen fire/explosion. I’ve come to the conclusion that Lucia, while being as daring as Acacia, and as brilliant as Becca, does not have the confidence of her older sisters. She feels she has a lot to live up to as the youngest Carlisle in a family of people who are a bit larger than life. This is her first time away from home, where she spent much of her time in a lab, so she’s discovering herself and finding out what she’s truly capable of.

2. Draft DRAGON’S HEART (90k words): In Process (10% Complete)

As I initially suspected, once I knew what my opening scene should be all the rest fell into place. I know where I’m going. I know (largely) what I’m doing. And it’s going fast. No you know where all the smoke is coming from. *puts out keyboard*

3. Revise KEEPERS 4: Deferred (0% Complete).

I think I’m going to start this in the coming week, probably at a rate of a 3 chapters per week. That means my first pass will be done at the end of the month, and I’ll have an outline for the corresponding Origins story.

I’m almost convinced that Origins will be exclusively for my newsletter subscribers, at least at first. We’ll see how I feel once it’s written, however.


Okay ROW-ers–what are YOU up to? Are you NaNo-ing? How’s it going for you?


4 thoughts on “Author’s Log: In Which We Write Or Die (#ROW80, #NANO, #amwriting)

  1. Kait Nolan says:

    Yeah, I’ve been having great luck with write or die myself. I like the desktop version and seem to have found my happy place with it. This, combined with hauling my fanny out of bed at 5:15 on weekdays has really made my number of words go up.

  2. Beth Camp says:

    Write or die! Wow! That’s an amazing app and amazing progress for you. You just earned a new nickname — Thunder Fingers! I’m knee deep in NaNo as well, but not quite ready for write or die. Hope the rest of the year goes very well for you.

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