I'm Simon Haynes, programmer and author. Welcome to my website.

I'm a frequent Twitter user, and I have a Facebook author page. Feel free to drop by and say hello.

I'm lucky enough to have been published in five countries (soon to be six), and you'll find my work on all the major book-selling sites.


NaNoWriMo 2012 progress forms


More on writing:

(Articles Index)

I'm currently putting together a how-to book containing updated and revised editions of all my articles on writing and publishing, plus a lot of new material. If you'd like to know more, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter
Every November, thousands of writers sign up for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I'm not going to try and explain it all, especially since they have an excellent FAQ on the site, but basically you commit to writing 50,000 words of fiction during the month of November. That works out at 1667 words per day, every day, and it's an excellent way to force yourself to write. Do you have a dusty old plot waiting to be written, or have you always wanted to sit down and write? This is your chance. (Further down the page you'll also find my handy tips for winning NaNoWriMo.)


(If you do sign up for NaNoWriMo, my profile is here)

I'm the programmer behind yWriter5 (for Windows), but for Mac there's always the excellent Scrivener:

Buy Scrivener 2.x for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)


My new middle-grade scifi novel was written during Nano 2010.
Now, despite all those winning efforts I'm pretty bad when it comes to getting on with things: I procrastinate until just before the deadline, then go mad at the last minute to hand them in on time. You can't do that with 50,000 words of fiction, which is one of the reasons I set up this page with my NanoWrimo progress form. I find I work best by crossing off daily word counts, taking small nibbles of the bigger task. To that end, I've come up with a spreadsheet you can use to track your own progress.

NanoForm.jpg
It's simple enough - one line for each day of the month, with a daily count of 1700 words and a running total. Enter the number of words written each day, enter the running total and subtract it from the target. If you start to fall behind, you'll know long before it becomes a major problem. And if you get ahead ... make the most of it, as it probably won't last! You'll never complete NanoWrimo if you fall too far behind.

The idea with this form is to print it out, tape it to your desk and hand-write the figures at the end of each day. It's a low-tech solution, but having the page right there in front of you is more powerful motivation than any number of files buried away in 'My Documents'
The spreadsheets are editable, so you can change the word count and the starting date.

Download the form as a PDF file

Download the form as an SXC spreadsheet

Download the form as an XLS spreadsheet

Oh... and good luck with your novel!


NanoWrimo tips

  • Write in 500 word chunks, 4 per day. Should only take 20-30 mins each. One first thing, one at lunch, two in the evening with a break.
  • If you write less than 1700 words one day, don't stop until you've written 1700 + double the difference the following day. That way, when you're thinking of giving up for the day you know you're getting double the work for your reward.
  • Buy yourself a reward and dangle it. For my third NanoWrimo I got hold of the Lost season 3 boxed set, and it sat above my monitor, sealed. I didn't allow myself to watch it until I wrote the 50,000th word for Nano. If I hadn't written 50K, I wouldn't have allowed myself to open the seal until 2008.
  • If you fall behind, look at my NanoWrimo 7500 words in one day catchup form/article (below)
  • Turn the TV off. If you have to cook/clean/do other chores, make them brief.
  • No sharpening pencils.
  • Delete your email and web browser icons from the desktop/start menu. Force yourself to go through C:\Program Files\etc to find and run them.
  • Each evening, after you've written the daily 2k or so, outline a few scenes for the following day.
  • Write the scenes which interest you, not necessarily the next scene in order.
  • Don't be afraid to branch out. If your plot changes, leave a note in the text and keep going.
I've won NanoWrimo several times so far. I'm not a particularly fast typist (I don't really touch type - although I don't have to look at the keyboard) but I manage to do my 2k per day or else.

                   

The one-day catchup form


NEW: the one-day catchup form! Force yourself to write 7500 words in a single day!
I don't recommend using this method regularly, but it's a fantastic way to boost your word count. How? Print the form (OpenOffice, XLS or PDF format) and plan your day from 8am. Start writing, and stop the moment you have 500 words. Then take a break and do whatever you want until the stroke of 9am. Then write another 500 words. Repeat all day until you finish the last 500 words some time after 10pm. All you have to do is write 9 words a minute throughout the day. Can it really be that difficult? (Don't waste all the break time - think up two more scenes for every one you write!)


If you have any comments, please contact me