NaNoWriMo Strategies: Write or Die

This is what I used last year to get through NaNoWriMo. It’s called Write or Die. I use to just do it off the website but I used it so much I just gave in and bought the desktop version. It’s easy to use and not that expensive.

This program doesn’t actually kill you if you stop writing; don’t worry you’re not in danger. Instead what it does is it stops you from getting distracted. When I write without Write or Die I usually take frequent brakes to go check Facebook or Twitter, not for very long but it still eats up a lot of my time.

With Write or Die if you stop writing the program gets angry and prompts you to get back to writing. First the screen starts to turn red and then it starts making annoying noises until you get back to work. The weirdest thing is that it works. As soon as that screen starts to go red for me I get right back to writing until I meet my word count.

Before your writing session starts you plug in your word count goal and how much time you think you need to reach it. I usually do 1100 words in 30 minutes. Who doesn’t have 30 minutes to spare? Once it starts there are two bars at the top of the window, one to track your time and one to track your word count. Just make sure your word count is always ahead of your time.

There are other modes on the program that are more heavy on the consequences. One starts deleting words if you stop writing and another one deletes everything if you don’t meet your word count in the time specified. I’m not brave enough to try that one.

But avoiding the annoying noise is good enough for me. I’ll be using this almost everyday in November. You should give it a try as well. Here is a link.

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5 Responses to NaNoWriMo Strategies: Write or Die

  1. illogicology says:

    I love write or die when you’re trying to meet a daily goal. However, I’ve found that it doesn’t translate so well to my other projects like short stories etc. because the pressure approach screws up my sense of pacing. It really got me writing more, but in the end I had to wean myself off because I was using it to write smaller pieces in 500 word blasts and the results were like the literary equivalent of a 90s music video.

    • Grunge or something more like Blind Mellon?

      Also, I only ever use it for novels. The shorter the word count the more thinking time you need and Write or Die is not conducive to sitting and thinking.

  2. Emily J says:

    Haha, I’ve never heard of that before. That’s awesome! i’ll have to try it out when NaNo starts. Though, i’m with you – i could never use a setting that would delete my writing. That’s just a little TOO evil. 🙂

    • yeah, I’m terrified of losing the stuff I write. I have a whole bunch junk from high school that I can’t part with in case I want to use it later. At the same time I’m terrified that someone might actually read that stuff.

  3. Jeff Rivera says:

    Do you really write 1100 words in 30 minutes? Damn! This is actually my first NaNo this year but I needed extra help since I was totally addicted to the Internet. I found that was my biggest problem, even with Write or Die running in the background. That’s why I created this special software program for writers that completely blocks me from using the Internet at all until I’ve written my word count. I’m letting a few people beta-test it if you’d like, Tyler. Here’s the link to it:

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