Book Update, May 29

Write or DieAnd the words just keep on coming.

Back on my wonderful weekend writing retreat, I made a plan. I looked at my schedule for the weeks ahead and figured out how many words I would need to write each day to reach the end of the book (or close to it) by the middle of August. Why the middle of August? Because that’s when my youngest will be done with summer playground and family life will take over. Also, that timing will give me time for the story to sit, out of my head, for a few weeks. That way, when school starts in September, I’ll be able to dive into the next step – revisions – with fresh eyes.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the plan. As of this moment, I’m up to 36,042 words out of a projected 90 – 95,000. Woooohoooo! Past the one-third mark!

There are two big factors in me keeping up with my projected word count. The first is the aforementioned plan. It is such a relief to know that as long as I write the words allotted for the day, I’ll stay on track. The second is a program called Write or Die.

Write or Die is one of those tools that authors either love or loathe. Very simply, it’s a program that lets you set a word and time goal – say, 500 words in 30 minutes – and then lets you choose consequences (good and bad) for meeting or not meeting that goal.

Those consequences can be personalized in a number of ways.  For me, if I stop writing for too long, my screen will turn bright yellow, a horn will blare, and I’ll see a picture of a spider. If I hit my words in time, I will hear a lovely tinkling noise, things will turn pink, and I’ll get to see a pic of a puppy or a kitten. There are many choices for the severity, timing, and types of consequences, which I really appreciate. I mean, I don’t LIKE spiders, but I can deal with them, no problem. If, however, I had to see a picture of a mouse when I stopped too long? Well, that would traumatize me to the point of not being able to write for the rest of the day.

I’ve used Write or Die since it’s original incarnation. (I believe they’ve just rolled out a third version.) You can use it for free online, or for a VERY reasonable price, you can download it to your own devices. It is, hands down, the best bang for my writing buck that I ever spent.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to set up another writing session.