Greetings fellow storytellers!
This is a late congratulations to everyone participating in this year's NaNoWriMo competition. I won't be involved this year, but come find me when April comes around and I try my hand at screenwriting. I might also have a personal NaNo some other time of the year (probably around spring semester finals, because I love to torture myself like that).
Now, NaNo folk, I know how hard it is to make that damn blinking cursor move with something you're willing to accept as your story. So here's a useful tool I recently discovered that will help me get going on my own work in progress and will hopefully aid you in your endeavors be it NaNoWriMo or otherwise.
I present to you . . . Write or Die by Dr. Wicked!
The link will take you to his blog which is updated quite frequently. Over on the right toolbar, you will see a few options. There's the Write or Die desktop edition, which is an offline edition of the program and costs $10 for a direct download. Below that, there is the Online edition, which I had just used myself. All you do is input the amount of words you want to write in the amount of time you want to write it in. Set how strict you want the program to yell at you, and off you go.
Not only do you write, but it makes you write. Isn't that awesome? A program that notices when you've stopped typing for a few seconds that goes "You aren't writing! Keep going!" The encouragements change depending on the setting you want, I believe. But it's fantastic. If you only have twenty minutes to dish out 1000 words, this will help you do it. If you can't get that first draft done because you're too distracted by things around you, this will help you too.
I read that Jodi Picoult doesn't believe in writer's block because, when she first started to write, she would only have twenty minutes here and ten minutes there. Being a stay-at-home mom, those small times add up to hours and hours on end. She doesn't believe in writer's block. When you only have small amounts of time between mommy-errands, you wouldn't either. This program will help you restrict the amount of time you have to write. And it'll scold you if you don't make your goal.
So go play with it for a while and when you're done, spread the word about it to other writers. Trust me, you'll love it as much as I do!