NaNoWriMo excitement and my tech setup for this November

Our first regional plotting bash for November’s annual National Novel Writing Month is today! So excited to get together with some of my Columbia WriMos for the first time in almost a year!

In other news, I have been very bad to this blog over the last couple of months. Just terrible. But that’s how it goes. I read somewhere, it may have been something Stephen King said in his memoir On Writing – “The more words you write in your blog, the fewer words you write in your book.” Lol. It’s true. And I have been writing more on actual projects lately, so if this blog has suffered a bit as a result, so be it. That being said, I will now attempt to make up for some of that neglect with a detailed post about how I’m writing my NaNo novel this year! We can do it! We have the technology!

This November, I am pretty psyched to be trying out some new gadgets for my mobile write ins and new software for organizing my writing during NaNo. There is a thread over at the NaNoWriMo forums devoted to tech topics, with some helpful suggestions and resources for organizing your novel and juggling files from multiple devices throughout the month. Check it out here for more tips and tricks from fellow WriMos.

And here’s my current setup!

Home Setup .

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I love my giant Asus laptop. It’s a 17″ monster with enough screen space for all my multitasking needs. I write primarily in LibreOffice and edit and organize later in Scrivener.

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I made the switch from MS Word to LibreOffice several years ago when I refurbished an old laptop and didn’t feel like paying over $100 for writing software that I had never been particularly happy with in the first place. I discovered LibreOffice through Linux users online, and fell immediately in love with it. It has all the features provided by Microsoft, and IT’S FREE. Open source is the future, y’all. Unlike MS software, Open source software is constantly being upgraded and improved by users all over the world. Love it. But once I have that big chunk of text, I need to edit! That’s where Scrivener comes in.

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I played around with the Scrivener trial provided to NaNoWriMo participants during my 2011 NaNo, and liked it, but felt that I wasn’t making the most of its features… so I held off on buying it. I still don’t feel like I use the program to its full potential, but bought the full suite earlier this summer because I had fallen in love with its excellent organizational structure. At only $40, it’s totally worth the cost. Scrivener essentially breaks up giants blocks of text into chapters, scenes, and notes, in an easier to digest format. When you first open the program, you have options for a short story format, novel format, screenplay format, etc. For me, it is really more of an organizational tool AFTER my first draft is done… rather than a program to write directly into from the get go. But everyone is different. I know some writers who use it the same way I choose to, and I know others who write exclusively in Scrivener. That’s the beauty of the program’s versatility. They offer a free 30 day no sign up trial, so feel free to try it for your NaNo (maybe sign up in December after you have a working draft so you can try it for editing capability?) and see if you like it.

And here’s one more cool thing I’ll be using for my NaNo this year:

NaNoWriMo Report Card

Created and shared by a very nice user on the NaNo forums (linked from his website), this Excel spreadsheet allows you to input your daily word count to keep track of your progress throughout the month. Pretty nifty!

Mobile .

Now here’s the fun part.

This will be my first year doing NaNo with multiple devices, one of which is mobile. Whee!

I got my Google Nexus 7 tablet earlier this fall as a late graduation present from my Dad (thanks, Dad!) and fell immediately in love with it. It does everything I need. If you are considering a Kindle Fire, or a Nook, or any other e-reader or tablet in the $200-$300 price point, JUST SAY NO AND IMMEDIATELY GO BUY AN N7. SERIOUSLY. In comparison with the Kindle Fire, this baby rocks a quad core processor, and for those of us Google nerds and Android lovers out there, this is a marriage made in heaven. It is built by Asus (you may be sensing a trend here… I love anything Asus-made.) and the OS is Android’s 4.1 – Jellybean. It comes preloaded with all the Google shtuffs like Chrome and Google+. You have the option of reading books through Google Play, or via the free Kindle app. Plays music, games, all that jazz. It’s my baby. But I digress.

The Nexus 7 is also great for writing! And here’s why!

Here is a great article: Getting Real Work Done on the Nexus 7 that goes into more detail about some of the great things you can get done on the N7.

I’m currently using a similar setup to the one Mr. Wagner proposes in his above article.

I just got my Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard ($50 on Amazon) yesterday and I love it already. Some people have complained about the keys being too small, but for me, I can’t tell a big difference between it and my laptop keys. The autocorrect feature that is built into the Android platform can get a little annoying, and if anyone knows a way to disable it in writing software, that would be great. I haven’t figured out if that’s possible yet. But as far as the keyboard itself goes, it’s great. Synced with the Nexus with no problems whatsoever.

This is OfficeSuite Pro for Android. I was lucky enough to score a download during the Android sale a couple of weeks ago, but I think it regularly sells for $14 through Google Play. The program is essentially a full suite of MS Office software, redesigned as a mobile app.

After writing my text in OfficeSuite, I can save directly to my N7 hard drive, and then comes Dropbox!

You download the program onto all your devices, and it installs a folder on your system into which you can drag and drop files. When you drop any file into that folder, the file is automatically uploaded to the Dropbox server, which makes that file immediately available for use from all of your devices that are synced to your Dropbox account. MAGIC.

This way, I can write a text document on my N7, then drop it in Dropbox, and reopen it immediately on my laptop to edit in Scrivener, or copy paste that text to a pre-existing file on my laptop. Awesome!

And finally there’s Evernote.

I use Evernote for quick notes of things I just need to jot down. Grocery lists, to do lists, whatever. But it’s also a great tool for brainstorming notes for writing projects. Perhaps my favorite feature though, is the audio recording option. I especially love to use this in my car. I’ll turn it on and just start brainstorming ideas, recording myself as I babble on. Lol, it feels very silly, but is ultimately very helpful when you’re not in a position to pick up a pen and paper or to type something, but you suddenly get an idea you don’t want to lose!

So there you have it. That’s my tech setup for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I commend you if you’re still reading this, because it ended up SUPER LONG. What can I say, I get excited about technology! We’re livin’ in the future, man!

Next time I might regale you guys with my novel idea for this November. It’s going to be very silly, very fun, and very horrific. I never would have thought I would want to write a zombie novel… But there it is.

See ya next time! Thanks for reading!

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