In the final stretch…

It’s day twenty-three of Nanowrimo and I’m still squeaking by. I’m shocked, to be honest. I didn’t think I’d make it so far. Of the years I’ve participated in Nanowrimo I only won the first year. The other years were dismal failures.  So what changed? Why am I still on target and not days behind like I normally am?


The Power Hour. That has to be it. It’s the only thing I’ve done different. The Power Hour is the one hour in the morning that I spend writing. It’s an hour just after coffee and before the sun and the kids are up. I don’t use my laptop. No. I sit on my couch, legs curled together with my trusty Neo 2 Alphasmart perched on my lap. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a word processor.

Me and my buddy earlier this month.

The Neo 2 doesn’t do much but let you type. You don’t get a full screen either. Just four simple, no frills, lines of text. Its only function is to capture words; not to edit or make it look pretty. It doesn’t let you go online and surf the web. It doesn’t let you know you have an e-mail waiting. It just lets you write. It’s a first draft dream machine.

For me, I find that only seeing four lines of text is perfection.  It’s just enough to see the train of thought you need to finish but nothing before that. The limited view keeps me writing. I can’t see how far (or how little) I’ve gone. There is no spell check to make my inner editor stop my train of thought to go fix the typo, no formatting that I need to worry about to make it look pretty on the page…it’s just me and the muse.

My daughter has even started to use the Neo to work on a story she’s come up with (she’s not competing, she just had a story she needed to get out.) She thinks it’s fun typing on it, and I agree. There is something about this machine that makes you want to write.

The next few days will be the big challenge, however. Can I make it through holiday food prep and Thanksgiving day? That remains to be seen, but even if I fail, I have set a writing pattern in motion that won’t disappear after the month of November does. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of Nanowrimo? To get your butt in the chair and write? If so, I don’t need to reach the final word count to win. I just need to put my butt in the chair on December 1.


Danielle Bannister, Author, and writer of all the words.




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