One week from today the national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo) contest or event begins. This is a event where people from all around the world gather together online every day for a month to attempt to write a novel, or a 50,000 word novella about anything. This novel writing contest is not necessarily intended to produce a polished finish novel ready for publication. It is intended to produce the words necessary to create such a novel. It’s basically one of those confidence building contests to show you that it is possible to write that many words, or at least the number of words it would take to publish about 170 page book.
It is a major milestone for a number of people, and once you have that book published, or at least uploaded online through the contest, you can also then seek out and receive a significant amount of support from the large number of people that participate in the contest.
They can help give you feedback on your writing style, your plot, your characters and how realistic they are and a wide range of areas that help you improve the book so that you can get ready for publication.
This contest takes place every year during the month of November and starts on November 1. There will be launching parties for the contest. Many of those will be kicking off on Halloween at midnight.
This year I will be participating in the contest for the second time ever, although this will hopefully be the first time that I’ve completed or will complete that is an actual novel.
I haven’t completed this contest in years past, so before I put on my Dansko shoes and start clog dancing, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me!
Last year I only made it to about 10,000 words. Work and travel and other events took me away from the contest and I wasn’t able to complete it. This year I have an ace up my sleeve. I’m using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 10, which enables me to not only talk without using my keyboard, but it also allows me to talk and write without even sitting at my computer. As I write this article right now I’m actually driving my car down the road to the airport to pick up some friends and family that are getting back from the Bahamas.
I’m using a microphone with noise cancellation capabilities plugged in to a Sony voice recorder. I take the voice recorder which has a USB jack on it, I plug it into my computer, and I upload the voice file in the form of an MP3 file onto my computer. I can then use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10, the preferred edition and not the basic, to convert the MP3 file into text. I do a little bit of editing to the text, and I published my article that you’re reading today.
I’m hoping to use the same tool and the benefits that come from this tool to get my 50,000 words out for this writing contest much faster and easier than I did last year. When I write with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 in this style, I can write about 3000 words in 30 minutes. It does take a little getting used to, and it does take a little practice to write at a level that is acceptable for publication. I have a writing style when I type with my fingers that is probably considered to be at a college level of writing if not higher.
I wrote this 840 word article in about 8 minutes while driving!
However when I write with my voice, that is when I’m speaking aloud and speaking in a way that can be transcribed into text, my writing level is probably closer to that of a freshman or sophomore in high school. I may be a little harsh on myself in that regards, but I have high standards for my own writing. One of the benefits I get out of using Dragon NaturallySpeaking in this way is that I rarely misspell words. I currently have a laptop computer, a Toshiba, that has a relatively cheap keyboard. I mention this because when I type with this keyboard, it makes lots of errors because several of the keys on the keyboard stick. This is a factory defect and these keys have stuck ever since I bought the damn thing. That drives me nuts because I am a good typist, but this particular keyboard is going to be the death of me I think. Never fear I do intend to purchase a new laptop very soon, I just haven’t figured out which computer I’m going to buy yet.
So that’s what I’m up to with the national novel writing month contest, and I’d encourage you to try it out as well. I’m not hiding any of my secrets tricks or tips, if you want to try Dragon NaturallySpeaking and write with both hands behind your back, literally, that should be a piece of cake for myself and for you and anyone else that wants to give it a go.