Writing Programs (Camp NaNoWriMo Inspired)

In the spirit of Camp NaNoWriMo this April, I’ve decided to conduct a study over the different programs that writers used throughout the month.

I personally love to use WordPad because it does not alert me when I made a mistake, which is vital during the month of NaNo. It shuts off my inner editor and lets me write in peace. Even the word count is hidden, so I have to use wordcounter.net to check my status after a long day’s work. It’s an app that comes with computers nowadays, a simplified version of Microsoft Word. Check your computer before you settle for NotePad, because most likely you will have a form of it.

Obviously you could pay for Microsoft Word if you prefer that. You can highlight the part of the book you’ve written that day and see the word count at the bottom. You can turn off spell check while you’re writing and then at the end of the day, with your daily work goal done, check through the mistakes.

Another common program used is Scrivener. It’s an auto-save writing pad, chapter organizer, and sticky note combined. I like to use it whenever I’m writing outlines. It has a “pin board” where you can move index cards around until they fit perfectly in order; wonderful for taking notes, as well. This program does cost money; however, for the first month, everyone gets a 30-day free trial. So, I like to download it right before NaNoWriMo.

StoryMill can be downloaded for free and looks almost exactly like Scrivener. It’s geared specifically to story building and has sections for your characters, settings, scenes to be place along with other neat features.

Yarny is free and is an online site that auto saves every few words, so you don’t lose anything. You can have multiple novels, set word count goals, and not to mention separate your chapters for easy viewing/sharing. On the right side of the screen, there are three sections: people, places, and things. You make “snippets,” which help organize your ideas and character profiles. Although this seems complicated, it is very similar to the features available in the program Scrivener, but it’s free and online! I like it because I have everything in one place and don’t have to worry about losing anything since it’s not on my hard drive. Plus, you’re able to share with friends easily; just send them a link!


One final program I’d like to mention is something called Write or Die 2 (the older brother of Write or Die). It’s not very conventional if you take long spans of time to write out a single sentence, but those of us doing NaNoWriMo find it much more useful. Basically, if you stop writing, your words slowly delete themselves. You can set the sensibility to high, where not writing for just a few seconds will result in a lot of work lost. But on a low setting, it’s just enough motivation to keep you writing without giving yourself a mild heart attack before finishing your word goal.

I hope you guys found this article useful and check out a few of the links. They’re some of my favorite to use during NaNo.

Keep writing,


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