It’s almost NaNoWriMo, my dear little ice cream sundaes! And you know what that means. November is going to get crazy. And I’ll need some ice cream sundaes by the time it’s done.
For those of you just joining the party, Nano is when people all around the world endeavor to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This year, I’ll be participating in the madness as a final push in order to finish my current work in progress. I like to get in on all the writing energy, especially from the face-to-face write ins. Nothing increases my productivity like being surrounded by people who are doing the same thing I am. It also keeps me from surfing the internet. Mostly.
If you sign up, make sure you pick a home region. That way, you can find out what’s going on around you. If you’re an introvert, don’t worry. You don’t have to interact much at a write in. You just have to write. I like to talk a little during breaks, but if you’d rather be in your own world, that’s perfectly acceptable. Anyway, if you’d like to be my Nano buddy, my Nano handle is zendra. I’m kind of a racer, tho, so be warned. ;)
And after you finish and edit your Nano (December is edit your Nano month), I have the perfect polishing tool. I don’t know how many times I’ve read my manuscript and just glided over typos, like my brain fixes them so my eye can’t see them. I had a sentence that had “she was she” in the middle, and my brain just deleted that second she even though it was still in the manuscript. Reading aloud didn’t help because I just deleted it again. So, I needed someone to read to me, someone who wouldn’t automatically correct while they did so.
And I discovered Windows Narrator. It’s one of the accessibility tools, but anyone can use it. It’s a robotic monotone that reads exactly what you have. You can change the voice and the speed, and it helped me find so many errors. Here’s a link on how to find it from the Start menu, and here’s a link to find it with Windows 8. I found it the first time by searching for accessibility and then finding it through the accessibility menu.
A bit of a warning, the voice makes me sleepy because it has no inflection. I also wouldn’t use it except as a polishing tool (unless you need it for other reasons!), or you’ll be stopping and restarting it all the time. Also, since it’s for those with impaired vision, it will read everything to you, not only highlighted text in a Word document. So you can’t let it read and then do other things on your desktop, or it will start reading whatever you’re doing. It’s good for focusing in that way.
Who’s doing Nano? Who already uses the narrator? Talk to me, ice cream sundaes.