NaNoWriMo Week 3: The Cliffs of Insanity

“Look! He’s right on top of us!” There was a pause. “I wonder if he’s using the same wind we are using…”

“Whoever he is, he’s too late. See–the Cliffs of Insanity!!” -Princess Bride (the film)

I’ve found the cliffs. They are tall and awful and there’s no way around them.

It all started last Thursday. I had a deadline for a project write-up about a behavioural study I did with aposematic stick insects. I left it about a day too late and worked so so hard to get it written in time for the Wednesday night deadline. So Thursday, I obviously felt great because I’d finished it in time, but I also just didn’t want to write. Every day since then it’s been an incredible struggle to go anywhere near anything at all that involves words. The worst part is I know I can do it–it’s not that difficult to just carry on and push through. A couple days behind is fine. Except that my whole brain is screaming “I don’t want to!” at me.

Have you also found yourself at the base of the cliffs? If so, hi. Welcome to week 3. Let’s just try to get through this as best we can. We are past the halfway point after all! Here’s my care-pack/box-of-toys for you:


Different Word Processors to Inspire Your Creativity and also Force You to Write:

  1. Write or Die (Free demo) If your biggest enemy is time, then this may be your saviour. Write or Die lets you set a word goal and a time limit, so you can cater the time limit to push you just out of your comfort zone. What’s more, as soon as you stop writing the screen starts turning a painful shade of red until your eardrums get blasted with the pain of your choice. Negative reinforcement, anyone? The free try out on the website is just below the buy button and is very functional. I’m not really sure what the limits are, but you may just need wifi for it and be able to keep using it for eternity if all you want is a screen and some punishment (obviously the app gives you more customisation). I’d recommend giving it a try!
  2. Written? Kitten! (Always free!) If positive reinforcement is more your thing, then go try Written? Kitten! It’s very simple: every 100+ words (you get to pick), it rewards you with a new picture of kitties. And let me tell you, they are very cute cats. You will not be disappointed.
  3. NaNo Word Sprints (Always free!) This one is very similar to Write or Die. Hosted on the actual NaNoWriMo site, you can do personal word sprints, create group word sprints, or join public sprints. The idea is to race against the timer/other people to write words for your novel. I have not tried this one out myself, but I’ve been told it’s very useful!
  4. Omm Writer (Free demo) If you are a person who just needs to block out all distractions in order to write, Omm Writer may be more you. It’s incredibly minimalistic, supplying you with a background of your choice that spans the entire screen. Your writing is displayed in the centre, just the words and nothing else. You have a choice of looped, ambient music, text size, a handful of fonts, and the sound effects that the keys make. There are two “experiences” on their website you can write on. For some reason, the music doesn’t appear to work for me. But I’m going to assume that’s just my laptop being upset with me… (If you go to the home page and click on “descriptions” you can play around with all the different customisation options) I really enjoy using Omm Writer. It’s definitely the most relaxing of the four here. It does tend to cause me to write very slowly and contemplate everything, which doesn’t help me make the word count. But I love it all the same.


Photo Word Prompt:

Stare at the picture for a few minutes. Figure out what it says to you–the emotion, the issue, the tone–sit down, and attempt to tie it in with your novel. Even if it’s just the particular vibe you feel that ends up in there. Write nonsense–write whatever you want. Just write, using the photo as a kick-off point.

NaNoWriMo Week 3- The Cliffs of Insanity, join me in the long climb to 50,000 words!

I tried to pick something very loose, but obviously, it’s not going to fit perfectly in your novel. However, you can still try! And at least your word count will be better off in the end.


My Tips For Week 3:

Somewhere between week 2 and week 3 things get hard. It’s not like you’re spending a month sitting on the beach after all (Ouch, the sunburn though…). You’re writing a NOVEL. That’s not nothing. You are working your butt off to create something crazy and amazing and unique. Naturally, it’s hard. Every year the middle of the month hits me very hard and I find myself unmotivated and struggling. As I write these words, I’m several days behind and getting more behind every day. But it’s okay. I’m telling you, if you work through this hard spot, you will succeed. My advice would be to not worry about what it is you’re creating. The most important thing is to get as many words down as you can. If you’re struggling, maybe it’s because you’re putting too fine a net over your creation. Try letting it lead–where do your character’s take you? Writing a romance where your characters really want to visit the moon? Let them. Remember, this is the time to be wild and break the rules. You will have utter control when you begin to edit, you don’t need to have that control now.

Whatever happens, remember that every single word brings you closer. All you have to do is just keep going.

You can do it.

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