NaNo Update

Filed under: Diversions, typewriters — olivander November 4, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

Here it is day four of NaNoWriMo, and my word count stands at 5,320. That’s an estimate, told to me by the NaNo Statistical Spreadsheet for Typists that I worked up. Those of us who type generally make a best guess at our actual wordcount. There are various ways of  going about it, but I go by the rule of thumb that five characters = one word. My margins are set at 65 characters. I knock that down to 60, figuring that I rarely type all the way to the margin stop, and that gives me 12 words per line. I’m one of those daft people who types single-spaced. (Most of my editing is done on the fly as I retype the text into the computer.) A full single-spaced page yields 60 lines. At 12 words per line, that comes out to 720 words per page. I round down to 700 to account for paragraph breaks and new paragraph indentations.

The tricky bit is keeping track of one’s progress and knowing at a glance whether or not one is on track for a Nov 30 completion. Okay, it’s tricky for me; I stink at math. So I took apart Erik Benson’s popular NaNoWriMo Report Card spreadsheet and adapted it for typists. You enter your average number of words per page at the top, and it tells you how many pages you should be up to for every day of the month. Each day, you enter your accumulated page count and the rest of the spreadsheet will autopopulate the estimated number of words you’ve typed that day, your total word count altogether, how many words you have left, your average words typed per day, how many words you need to type tomorrow to stay on track for 50k by Nov 30, the date you’ll finish at your present typing rate, and your percentage completed toward 50k. Right now, I’m on track to finish on Nov 28.

In other news, I had to give up on my goal of typing the entire thing on the Triumph Norm. I really wanted to do it, because I’m writing about the same people who built it. I also felt that using it to write about how the workers deceived the Nazis would redeem it from its past as property of the Third Reich government. But alas, after five full pages I just cannot find my rhythm or catch a pace on it. It’s not the transposed Y and Z, because I’ve typed on enough other QWERTZ keyboards to be used to it. There’s just something about it that isn’t synching up with me. So last night I reluctantly switched over to the Olympia SM9. I could have gone with one of my other German machines–particularly the Studio 42, which may see action yet–but since I was switching away from the Triumph altogether I thought I might as well go for speed and solidity. The SM9 is pica pitch, which is why I chose it over the SG1. Man, is it nice! I’m typing at twice the pace I was on the Triumph.

For lunch-hour typing at work, I’ve brought in the Tower Chieftain II (a rebadged late Skyriter). In quick competition with the Hermes Rocket and Olympia Socialite, it was the lightest, quietest, most reliable, and easiest to type on.

From reading other posts on the official Typewriter Brigade board in the NaNoWriMo forums, it seems like a lot of people are switching typers right about day 3. A common theme is “I really wanted to type on _______, but…” Which brings up the question: if you could have any typewriter, what would you really want to use for NaNoWriMo?