Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping Track of NaNoWriMo IRL (In Real Life)

I bet you're wondering why I have a picture of pretty fingernails on my blog today.

My friend and fellow writer, Marta Smith has an awesome way she keeps her NaNoWriMo status. She paints her fingernails blue, and I mean Blue. That's to remind her to write. Then she adds silver crackle to one nail for every 5,000 words she finishes. So her fingernails become a visible progress bar. Isn't that awesome!

I just have one problem: I'm a guy, and as much as I would totally paint my fingernails as a joke or for Halloween, I'm not going to go to work all month with painted fingernails.

So, here are a few ideas for my fellow dudes to track our NaNo status IRL. (Dudettes, you can use them too if you want.)

Public Shaming Option
Go ahead and paint your fingernails just like Marta. Choose a bright, bold color. Then for every 5K words you can remove the paint from one nail.

I predict that the guys who use this option will be finished with their 50K before the first work day of the month (or they'll take a couple sick days).

Discomfort Option #1
While this one is not as effective as the first, it hits a little closer to the wallet.

Go get 10 credit-card-sized cards. These can be from your stash of store rewards cards you barely use, or credit cards, old calling cards, empty gift cards, whatever. You just need 10. Cram them into your wallet. You've got to sit on that uncomfortable beast until you hit your word count goals. For every 5K words take one out.

Discomfort Option #2
This one is similar to the other discomfort option. This time get 10 extra keys and put them on your primary key ring. Not the one you keep in your bag or on your nightstand. I'm talking about the keys you carry with you in your pocket everywhere you go. Painful, I know. But for every 5K words you get to take a key off.

Reverse Progress Bar
Go buy 10 of your favorite candy. Go ahead and get the good stuff, king-sized if you want. When you get home, hot glue all of it to some poster board. For every 5K words, take one off and enjoy. Bonus: If hot glue and poster board isn't manly enough for you feel free to epoxy those suckers to a 2x4.

Discomfort Option #3
This one takes a bit more setup. Get an old T-shirt you don't wear anymore. I know you've got dozens of them. Then buy some Velcro (the kind that already has glue on the back) and 10 bean bags (you can usually pick these up for cheap at your local Goodwill). Attach the bean bags to the shirt with the Velcro. Make sure you use the soft side of the Velcro on the T-shirt.

Throw that lumpy mass of cloth and beans into your favorite recliner or your spot on the couch. You have to sit on it while watching TV, but for every 5K words you finish you can take one bean bag off the shirt.

I hope these ideas inspire some of my fellow writers to keep typing...Keep Typing...KEEP TYPING. We're halfway through. Huzzah!

If you have other creative ways to motivate you through Nano let me know in the comments.

* The photo is a real picture of Marta's nails near the beginning of the month. I think it was taken by Ali Cross. If you want to use it you'll have to get a hold of them. Thanks Ali and Marta for sharing this cool idea.


Jordan McCollum said...

LOL, these are great ideas, John! Epoxy!

But dude, you could totally pull off black nail polish. (Does it sound more manly to use the British "nail varnish"?) I mean, if it worked for Freddie Mercury . . .

Never mind. Let's don't take fashion cues from him. (Though an open-chested sequin-and-satin jumpsuit would also make a good discomfort option....)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, John, these are hilarious!

No wonder my husband comments on the number of keys on my keychain every time he sees it. I've never looked at it from his perspective. =D

Carrie Butler said...

I wish I knew guy writers "IRL". Seeing someone epoxy candy to a 2x4 would make my day. :)

kbrebes said...

Thanks for the laugh. I just may use those ideas on my husband and son for a home project!! : )

Unknown said...

I literally laughed out loud and that was the best medicine of the day. Thanks.
I'm thinking you could work something out about getting kisses instead of candy. That get's your wife's support on your goals. You just couldn't epoxy her lips.

Jenn Adams said...

I'm surprised you didn't have an option that involved duct tape . . .

Seriously, the candy bar option might actually work for me. Since I'm already partway in, does that mean I get to eat a few right off the bat? ;)

John Waverly said...

Jordan - I also considered turning my head into a progress bar and shaving my beard from left to right as I made progress on my story. Once I hit 50K I'd be completely clean shaven. It's not quite Freddie Mercury, but it would be weird.

Donna - Since I carry my keys in my front pocket any extra bulk is just annoying. I'm glad I could help you empathize a bit.

Carrie - I might have to do this next year and put out an instructional post with pictures. :)

Kathlene - I'm glad this post made you happy. It was a lot of fun to write.

Renea - Kisses. What a great idea. I'm thinking that a 10-words-to-1-kiss ratio would be about right. Then again, that may be too high. Maybe 5-to-1 would be better. :)

Jenn - Yes. If you are already 20K words along then help yourself to 4 candy bars right away. And you're right about the duct tape. I'll have to figure something out. I'll also have to put up a post describing how I keep track of query rejections using toilet paper.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Oh Renea - you just had to bring up kisses! Ack! My poor lips are so sore. Thanks, sweetie. (ahem, John is my hubby, if you didn't know).

Loved this post! Seriously funny and oh so "John". =)

Happy NaNoWriMo!

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