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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Just One Thing

Today is Halloween, a scary time of year, indeed. But tomorrow is something even scarier, something that can strike fear in the heart of the most stalwart writer... The beginning of NaNoWriMo.

In case you haven't heard, that funny word up there stands for National Novel Writing Month. Each year, writers from around the world dedicate the month of November to writing a 50,000 word novel. Not a perfect, ready-for-publication novel, but something that you can edit into shape. It started in 1999 with 21 writers in the San Francisco Bay area. Last year, over 300,000 adult writers participated. It's become a big thing, a way for writers to encourage each other and get the oft-needed kick in the pants to get working.

If you're planning to participate, you've undoubtedly signed up on the NaNo site, contacted your writing buddies, and checked out many of the resources available. So, in the spirit of working together (in a profession where we very often work in solitude) I thought it would be fun to share ONE THING: one thing that keeps you focused; one thing to help you maximize your writing time; one tool you want to try this year... you get the idea.

Here's my one thing: This year, I've decided to use a site called Novl'r to do my writing. It looks promising, for several reasons. It was created by writers, for writers. It has at-a-glance stats to help you track your progress and simple aids like Focus Mode, which removes anything from the screen other than the writing window. In honor of NaNo, it's free for the month of November, so I figured, why not give it a try? I found out about it through Facebook ( in what is probably the first of their ads I've actually clicked on.

Now it's your turn. What's your one thing for November?

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Jennifer AlLee was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up above a mortuary one block away from the famous intersection of Hollywood & Vine. Now she lives in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas, which just goes to prove she’s been blessed with a unique life. When she’s not busy spinning tales, she enjoys playing games with friends, attending live theater and movies, and singing at the top of her lungs to whatever happens to be playing on Pandora. Although she’s thrilled to be living out her lifelong dream of being a novelist, she considers raising her son to be her greatest creative accomplishment. You can visit her on Facebook, Pinterest, or her website.


  1. The one thing that keeps me interrupted is email. Sigh. I'm such a people person I can't stand to have mail and not read it. So I will close the program so no notices come in. I'll take if out of the dock (I'm a Mac girl) and not even know it's there. I KNOW nothing is that urgent in email, and the tyranny of the urgent derails me.

  2. Novlr may be free for November, but apparently you have to keep paying for it monthly, afterwards. I prefer a pay once, keep forever program. Having said that, I may finally put to use The Snowflake Method that I purchased quite some time ago, but never fully utilized. (Randy Ingermanson's product)

    This will be my first NaNoWriMo, and with the holidays approaching I'm not quite sure I'll pull it off. I love making big deals out of the holidays, Thanksgiving included.

  3. Linore, that's true. There's a monthly fee of $10 after November, which is why I'm using it during the free month. If it makes a huge difference with my productivity, it would be worth the fee to me.

    I've got the Snowflake Method (have had it for a few years). I know people who swear by it, but it didn't work for me. Would love to hear how you do with it!

  4. Ane, with me, it's Facebook. For many of my friends and family, that's our main mode of communication. I really need to stay off the internet in general while I'm writing.


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