Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The #NaNoWriMo Survival Kit


In case you're STILL not ready for National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) here is a handy survival guide for those of you writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

The very first thing you need is:


It doesn't matter your source. Energy drink, frappe, coffee, tea, but I guarentee you'll need it. Why? Because when you're pulling all-nighters to meet your 2,500 words/day goal, or because you went outside and jumped in a pile of leaves and now you're behind, you'll need something to shock your system back into the OH-MAN-I'M-SO-AWAKE-I-CAN'T-SLEEP-MAY-AS-WELL-WRITE stage.

The second thing you'll need is:


Gone are the days of lengthy prep, and fancy dinners with the family. These days you need food. And not just any food. For the next month, stock up on QUICK stuff; mac and cheese (if you're a cheese eater), raemen noodles, frozen pizza, those frozen meals that have noodles and stuff. Take in those preservatives, because let's face it, time is money. Become BFFs with the pizza delivery guy. That way there's no prep, and no wasted time using the microwave.

Your time should not be wasted on frivolous things like food and bathroom breaks. You've got a novel to write!

 The third thing you'll need is:

Ache relief

This one is for the hangover. Not the self induced, I had too many margaritas hangover, but rather the, I've been sitting on my ass for the last two weeks, in the same spot on the couch, and I think my tailbone may be broken from so much use, hangover.

Your eyes feel like they're bleeding yet? Is your monitor guest starring in your dreams yet? Keep these on hand. Pop as necessary.

The fourth thing you'll need is:


You're only human. You can only stare at a blank screen for so long before you call it quits. It's okay to take some time away from writing. Go outside. Go play. Fifteen minute break.

Or, if needed 2-3 hour break so you can watch Hunger Games, and be re-inspired. I mean, this movie was based on a book! How badass!

Caution: These distractions should NOT be literary. Get away from words, and counts. Go for mindless. The Nintendo DS is excellent for this. As is Connect Four. And reality TV.

The fifth thing you'll need is:

A Plethora of Comfy Pants

Sweatpants, pajama pants, those pants that look like jeans but are actually something else. Maybe a snuggie and no pants? Choose. Maybe don a hoodie. Don't shower. Don't wash your hair. Make a cup of tea. Sit down. You'll be here for awhile.

The sixth thing you'll need is:


Surround yourself with positive messages. Things people have given you that mean something. Remember, NaNoWriMo is fun, it's hard, and you're not alone.

In my stash is a bookmark my friend Claire bought me saying, Careful or you'll end up in my novel, a coffee mug my friend Liz sent me saying, Be Brave Enough to Break Your Own Heart, and a sign my friend Amanda made me saying, Quiet Please, Memoir Writing in Progress. DO NOT Disturb!

Trust me, those days will come where you stare at your screen, your wavering word count, and think I can't do this! Make sure you have supportive things to look at to push you on.

The seventh thing you'll need is:

Someone Who Thinks You're Friggin Great

It doesn't matter who it is; co worker, spouse, significant other, twitter friends, dog, but you need someone who will be your sounding board. Someone you can call and say, "I think I just killed my main character's best friend." Someone who knows you are crazy, and they'll still love you anyway. They know you hear voices. They want to hear them, too.

I called my friend, Peter, the other day (he's a boy, so when I need a guy's perspective, I call him and ask really weird *usually obscene  questions and call it research). He actually let me read pretty darn close to the first two chapters of my UNEDITED novel.

My poor sister has been getting several phone calls a day, with me saying, "Dude, listen to this!" She's helpful because she'll bounce back with, "I don't think this is possible yet because..."

Have people to talk to, people who understand how much this project means to you.

And last, and possibly most important. Number eight on the NaNoWriMo Survival Kit:

A Writing Space

Do you work best in the library? At a coffee shop? In a basement where you've pushed two large chairs together so it somewhat resembles a boat? (If you didn't catch it, that last one is my writing space :) ).

Pick your space. Pick your drink and your food. Go to your space, and shell out 50,000 words.

This is NaNoWriMo, you only have so many days till the end.

Game on. Don't quit. Don't edit. Just write.

Also, if you'd like to buddy me, HERE I am. And if you want it, HERE are some tips for speed writing :)

Happy NaNo!


  1. You forgot one thing. Since we're not supposed to waste our time on food and bathroom breaks: a catheter.

    Happy NaNo!

  2. I'm not doing NaNo, but this is a great list even for those us not participating. :D

  3. I love you list of necessities! I have most of them, all but the quiet one. Then again, it's pretty quiet at 2 am!

  4. I LOVE THIS! Especially the distractions and caffeine. :) I've been watching Iron Man and other super hero movies to distract myself as I write. It really helps and gives my mind a break! Also, I have a lot of comfy pants. :)

    Great post!!!

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