Depending on how you measure it, my Not NaNoWriMo has so far been either a complete failure or a raging success. It’s been a failure by the standards of NaNoWriMo, certainly: in 12 days, I’ve written almost exactly the number of words needed to be on track for day 2.
Good thing for me that I’m not holding myself to that standard. My goal is to write at least 300 words each day, and although I haven’t been able to write every day, I’m averaging pretty close to that amount and have written more days than not. My other goal is to get 10,000 words by the end of November, and while I’m not perfectly on track for it I’m not far off, either. I’m definitely feeling more in touch with the story and characters than I’ve been in a long while, and I’m starting to be more comfortable just sitting down and pounding the keys regardless of whether I “feel like it,” whatever that means.
I should qualify that to say pounding the keys or tapping the screen, because I’ve probably written a third of my output this month on my iPhone, using WriteRoom, a great little plain text app that syncs easily with Scrivener. I bought a cheap flexible bluetooth keyboard to use with the phone instead of schlepping my MacBook on the train, but several keys stopped working within a couple of days, so I’ve been typing directly onto the touch screen. It’s less painful than I would have thought, although I type enough emails that way that I should have been more willing to try it sooner.
I’m limiting my word count goal because I’ve got a number of things going on at the office that make doing a full NaNo project impossible this month, and also because I have other projects I didn’t want to put off.
One thing I’m working on is learning more about the hardware and software we have in the house, which I use every day without much thought. Every three years, the firm where I work gives us new computers and will sell us our old ones for a minimal price. I’ve now been there long enough to go through two of these upgrade cycles; in 2007, I bought my old office Thinkpad X40 for $1, and a couple of weeks ago, I bought my old Thinkpad X61 for $47 (there was still a month or so of warranty left on it).
The X40 had always been a slow machine, and even with a clean install of Windows XP and running just a handful of non-Microsoft apps (Firefox and OpenOffice, mostly), it was still painful to use, but it was the only Windows machine we had in the house and I think it’s a good idea to have at least one machine other than my current office computer that runs the world’s dominant OS.
Once I brought home the X61, though, I was free to do whatever I liked with the older laptop. So last weekend, I installed the Linux-based Ubuntu Desktop operating system on it. I’d never done anything like that on a PC, and in the space of an afternoon learned more about the computer than I have in years.
It ran better on Ubuntu, but it was still slow, so I ordered more RAM last weekend and this afternoon while the Siren and Junior were out for his best friend’s birthday party, Unfocused Girl and I had a wonderful time opening it up and adding 1GB of RAM to the 512MB of RAM already in it. She was very excited about it and wanted to know what our next project would be. I gave her a couple of choices, so in a couple of minutes we’re going to jailbreak my old iPhone 3G. Pretty entry-level stuff, but we’re enjoying ourselves.