Nanowrimo Survival Kit

In all the years I’ve been doing Nanowrimo, I don’t know how I managed to not make a post about my survival kit. I think I even remember drafting one before, but maybe it got rolled into a previous Boot Camp post, and it’s not coming up in my search. Oh, well. Time to start fresh!

If you’ve been through my Boot Camp before, you should have a decent head start on this–or maybe you’ve developed your own. For the sake of this post, I’m going to skip anything related to physically writing–software, hardware, backups, anything like that (P.S. have you backed up your work lately?). We’re just going to talk about the stuff that keeps us (me) sane during the 30 days of mental anguish that make up National Novel Writing Month.

  1. Background noise, and the means to block it out. 
    Noise. Cancelling. Headphones.
    Seriously, these things are a godsend. I mentioned in another post that I don’t just wear these to listen to music, but also just so I can enjoy some blessed silence. I got mine a few years ago at Target in the dollar spot for $15-$20, and I love them.

    Along with this, I always pre-plan what I’m going to listen to, watch, and read during the month. These are always atmospheric things that keep me in the headspace of my book.

    This year’s examples: Charmed and Penny Dreadful for watching, and these two music playlists on Youtube, which will probably expand as the month goes on. Books I plan to read include Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden.


  2. Fuel.
    Brain food. Snacks. Drinks. Both to keep you going while you write, and to reward yourself for milestones.

    This year’s examples: veggies, Triscuits, and hummus; Oreos; cashews and M&Ms; tea, hot chocolate, instant coffee.

  3. Calm.
    It is important to take a break. Trust me, your brain can’t run a thousand miles a minute for the entire month. You’ll burn out.

    This year’s examples: I’m stocking up on bath bombs, and I have several simple knitting projects at the ready.

  4. Network. 
    Nothing happens in a vacuum. I make sure to connect with local Nano writing groups starting in October, and the Twitter writing community has been a huge part of my success the last two years. Some people like to have absolute silence when they work, but there’s only so much of that I can take.
    This year’s examples:
    I’ve already plotted out which write ins I want to go to, and I’ve added relevant hashtags to my Tweetdeck, so I can follow them without the distraction of the most recent disaster at the White House.
  5. A backup plan. 
    It happens to everyone at some point–you go into Nanowrimo gung-ho, and then suddenly realize…this isn’t the right story. There’s a fatal flaw in your plot, or no matter what you do, you can’t get that main character fleshed out, or the story takes a sudden left turn and you realize you don’t know enough about train travel in China in 1848 or the political history of South Africa or how exactly lye dissolves corpses (or doesn’t) or SOMETHING, and the manuscript comes to a screeching halt–because of course, when you’re on a deadline, Google will inevitably fail to bring up the one thing you need to move forward.
    I always have a backup book. One I can pull out in case of emergency.

    Because when all else fails, you can always become a Nano Rebel.

    This year’s example: The book I’ll be working on is called The Gothic Ladies’ Literary Society, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll try to finish the WIP that I wasn’t able to wrap up in October, or I’ll just jump ahead and do the edits for the next Evie Book (big announcement! Coming soon!). I don’t think I’ve ever had to use it, but it’s nice to know the fall back is there if I need it.

Do you have a survival kit? Any must haves?

Like what you see? Check out My Pants are on Fire.

4 thoughts on “Nanowrimo Survival Kit”

  1. Great kit. You’d love my military artillery silencing headphones or my helicopter headphones.

    Have you ever tried the really dark chocolate like 72to 85% cocao content? Guaranteed not as tasty as M & Ms.

    Best of success for NaNo


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