A Belated NaNoWriMo2019 Postmortem

It’s been a busy December, so I am only just getting around to summarizing the results of NaNoWriMo2019.

Wordcount: 50,000 words, about half of my original goal, but enough to win. I’ve added around a thousand more in December, but still have a long way to go to finish the storyline.

Procedure: done almost exclusively at home with dictation. Things were busy at work and I didn’t manage to do much there. I managed perhaps 1200 words with phone and portable keyboard when traveling, and another 3500 or so dictating into my phone and using portable keyboard to clean it up, in situations where I was alone but didn’t have access to my computer.

Normal routine: a couple of minutes of warmup reading and mission statement dictation in the morning, five minutes of dictation, then five minutes of cleaning the results up on the keyboard. Then off to work. In the evening: 2 minutes of dictation plus 2 minutes of cleanup, 5 minutes of dictation plus 5 minutes of cleanup, 10 minutes of dictation and 10 minutes of cleanup. Then, if I had time and energy, 20 minutes of dictation and 20 minutes of cleanup. I dictated into a “scrap document” in Word, did basic cleanup there, and then copied the results over each day into Scrivener, where I had my scene outline.

Positive Results: My hands don’t hurt. Careful time/wordcount tracking of the dictation and cleanup segments indicates that dictation+cleanup is roughly as fast as typing everything. Being able to fill up a outlined scene (text unit) in Scrivener with actual material, and mark it “First Draft Done” was enormously satisfying. Looking at an outlined scene, realizing that it’s not needed after all, and moving it to the trash bin without putting any words into it: also satisfying. The Scrivener outline also helped me by showing me my progress through the story: with my 51000 words, I am in fact about halfway through the outlined material.

Less Positive Results: Dictation is easier than typing when I just don’t want to write, but it’s less fun than typing when I am in a writing mood, and the need to use code names and banal terms for everything was a real mood-killer when it came to worldbuilding.

We’ll see where it goes from here.


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