my NaNoWriMo survival kit

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
I am ahead of myself, probably, but I am way too excited to make time for NaNoWriMo this year. Last year, November was a really crazy month and October before it was no better, so even if I wanted to prepare for NaNoWriMo and then kill it during the month of November, I barely stood a chance. I know that I tried, at least – I think I made it to something like 10,000 words, maybe, by the end of the month. But this will be the seventh year in a row that I've participated – and I haven't won since 2012.

This year is the year! Darn it!

If you've never heard of National Novel Writing Month, fondly known as NaNoWriMo, it's one of my favorite things I've ever been involved in. The premise: Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. 50,000 words is actually short for a novel, but most authors don't write their novels in 30 days, either. The target is 1,667 words per day. When I won in high school, I wrote on paper during the school day and then came home, quickly typed up my work and started writing again; on the weekends, I would write double the daily goal so I had some wiggle room. And I actually wrote two novels my senior year, 2012, when I won; both made it to 50,000 words, so I ended up writing 100,000 words in November. One was a fun novel and one was my senior project product. (Let's be clear: I've never underachieved. Not really my thing.)

But now that I'm a grownup, with a grownup life and a grownup job and an attention-starved dog, I know I will need more to get me through November – considering I won't have the same blind teenage ambition and affinity for late nights.


• Google Docs. Lots, and lots, and lots of Google Docs.
• An actual plan and a character outline. (For once.)
• NaNoWordSprints. (Which is just the best Twitter account on the planet.)
• A specific notebook just for NaNo, along with pens and sticky notes.
• Caffeinated beverages. (I'm not picky.)
• A very long, very diverse playlist. Maybe several, divided by mood.
• Plenty of bones, treats and chews for Theo.
• Candy and Lays Poppables.
• My Apple Watch for standing up reminders and lots of timers.
• The perfect cup.
• Money already loaded to my Dunkin Donuts card.
• A blanket and a fan, for varying temperatures in my writing spot.
• Endless supply of pens and markers for outlining, brainstorming and bubble mapping.
• Books to read when I feel uninspired and awful.

I am really, really, really excited about NaNoWriMo this year, so I hope I can make the most of it and dedicate some time to it, unlike the last few years. Writing every day is such a great habit to get into, and I love to write with a goal in front of me. Imagine me as the horse with the carrot dangling in front of my nose. That's me when I have a goal to achieve. Happily chasing the carrot all day long. Let's hope I'm that persistent in November!

What about y'all? Is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo? Have you even heard of it before?


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