NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

November 01st is just around the corner already! Thus it’s definitely time to make sure I have all the things I need to help me achieve a successful writing month ahead. This is otherwise known as my ‘NaNoWriMo Survival Kit’. Yours may be quite different and that’s okay. We all have our quirks and things we like to have on hand when we plan for an entire month dedicated to writing daily. Now I have debated several ways to go about this on here, but I have come to the conclusion of sharing a list. Though I did try to combine as much as I could, I will be going into depth on quite a few items. So grab a cup of tea (or your beverage of choice), as this is going to be lengthy!

( not everything is included in photo )

Oh yes! I love burning candles – really anytime, but especially during a writing session. There is just something special about it that adds to the ambiance for me. It helps curate that mood that fully pulls me into my zone as a writer. As far as which candles do I burn, well, it just depends on my mood. I have a bunch of candles from various brands, but I have to admit Bath & Body Works is probably my favorite. I love their 3-wick candles. In the fall I personally love ‘Marshmallow Fireside’, ‘Autumn’, “Pumpkin Apple’, ‘Eucalyptus’, ‘Champagne Toast’, ‘Hot Coco & Cream’, and most recently from their Halloween collection ‘Vampire’s Blood’… because I am likely going to burn this one throughout the rest of the year (or until it’s done in for).

I am admittedly a write in silence writer most of the time. However there are moments where I need to throw on my headphones and listen to music to clear my head if I feel stuck in a scene. Or if I feel I need some added inspiration, I might turn to a specific genre or songs of a certain aesthetic to help push those creative juices. Music can be very inspiring for me. Sometimes (depending on what I am writing), I just like to have the noise on low in the background. It oddly enough can help me focus more on what I’m doing. Now I don’t always listen with my headphones on, but it’s helpful when I need to block out excess distractions with noises. I also happen to have a really good pair of headphones that I’ll occasionally put on without music just to help block surrounding noises and allow myself full concentration on my work.

Obviously, I need my laptop (or some computer that I have regular access too). When I go into full on draft mode, I use Microsoft Word 2010 edition. It’s just my preferred tool when drafting on my laptop. I have never used scrivener or any other writer friendly site like it. …and while I know there’s an updated version of Word – I just prefer using this outdated one.

These are definitely a new addition to my writing kit. I just got my first pair last month. I actually had just heard about them not too long prior and thought it couldn’t hurt to give them a try. I have actually noticed such a difference over the past month I’ve been wearing them for writing sessions. I want to get more pairs just to have a bit of variety in style. Ha! Really though there’s nothing wrong with a little extra eye protection when staring at a screen for several hours a day. I would actually recommend these to anyone. Now mine don’t have a prescription as I don’t need one, but I do know you can get them with prescriptions or various magnifying levels.

Of course I am going to keep my project binder nearby when writing. I have my outlines, previous drafts, all sorts of notes, and more in here. I also have my Preptober Workbook 2018 by author Natalia Leigh. I found her 2017 workbook so helpful when getting started with Collected, and I can assure you it’s been very helpful as I’ve been filling it out for Vini’s Story. This is a workbook I intend to use all throughout the year for other novel ideas. If you are a “plotter” or “planster” I would definitely recommend checking it out!

While I do write my drafts typically on my laptop, I actually handwrite quite a bit out. Brainstorming ideas, outlines, random thoughts, character development, and the list continues. I definitely keep extra paper in my project binder, as well as a notebook designated to the project, and lots of post-its nearby. I utilize all three quite thoroughly when working on a novel.

Obviously any writer knows you need to have your writing tools. I actually like using both pen and pencil when note taking. I am very picky with my pens admittedly and I’m not ashamed to say I spend more than a couple bucks on them. Currently my favorites ink pens to use are Lori Greiner’s ‘Crystal Pens’ (you can find these on QVC’s site). They are actually pens she uses on Shark Tank (which, yes I’m a fan). They write absolutely beautifully, and bonus they are also pretty. I know that sounds silly, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with liking the look of a pen as much as the feel. I also really love the Pilot brand ‘Dr. Grip’ pens. They are so comfortable in the hand and there are a lot of lovely options in design. I go back and forth between these two pen styles when I am doing a lot of writing. Now as far as highlighters, I tend to find myself reaching for the Sharpie and Post-It branded ones. I like precise highlighters.

Have you heard of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi? These two authors formed Writers Helping Writers. They also compiled a six (thus far) thesaurus series for writers. The books focus on emotion, urban settings, rural settings, positive character traits, negative character traits, and emotional wound. I have all six and when I am feeling stuck on how I could describe a setting or emotion without just telling it, I find myself reaching for these books specifically. These books are packed with solid information and helpful tips for all writers (of all genres).

No, no, not more reference books or books on the writing craft in general. These are the books I plan to read while relaxing my mind as I dive into another world for a while. Self-care is definitely important and something I have not always been great with. For me, I have always found reading to be a great way to relax. So as part of my self-care time during NaNoWriMo, I’ve picked out a few books for my reading pleasures as I take a step in making sure I don’t burn myself out. I have four books I’d love to devour, but time will tell how many I actually get done. Anyways, I have Way of Spears and Song of the Dryad both by Natalia Leigh. I’m also planning to read The Streets Don’t Love You by Omari Bonner. Now if I make it through those three, I won’t lie, I fully intend to check out the first two Return To Fear Street books by R.L. Stine. I grew up on Goosebumps and Fear Street. Yes, I know they are written for a much younger crowd than someone in their 30s, but I will always be happy to support the first author I ever truly became a fan of. So if I have time in the month, I will happily crack one open and read Mr. Stine again.

I live in Michigan and it can get pretty darn cold in the month of November. I mean, often times before the end of the month we see cloud dandruff occur (a.k.a. snow). So naturally for me when writing it’s important that I have some things to layer on for warmth. I love a good cardigan sweater on a chilly day, as well as my shawl that a dear friend knitted me. Though I normally rock some bare feet when home, I do like having a pair of fuzzy socks on during a cold day. My desk is also by a window so wearing arm warmers is not unusual for me to wear. I have a few store bought pair, as well as a couple pairs that my mom crocheted me. I like the ones that come up my hand a little with a hole for my thumb to go through. Sort of like fingerless gloves that extend up to my elbow.

Let’s be real here, when I am home for the day writing freely I am going to be dressed comfortably. This includes letting my hair do whatever it wants. I typically have it pulled back kind of loosely with a claw clip. I don’t actually use hair-ties often at home. Whatever style I feel is most comfortable (no matter how horrifying it may look to others) is what I do. Comfort while writing for long hours is a must for me.

This really goes as being another step in my self-care plan for November. I am naturally someone who is a bit on the drier side. When cooler temperatures arrive, so does extra drier skin. I’ll be the first to admit I am a lotion snob. It’s not that I’m opposed to trying something different (so please feel free to leave recommendations in the comments below), I just have dry sensitive skin and I aim for quality lotions. My personal favorite being Bath & Body Works body creams actually. I just feel like they hydrate my skin into softness instantly. I also really like the Honest Company’s face and body lotion. As far as my lips go I really enjoy Carmex Lip Balm, Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Balm, and Kopari Lip Gloss (which is actually really good to use as a balm).

That pretty much sums up what I have planned in my NaNoWriMo Survival Kit. Well minus the drinks and snacks, but those will come in Wednesday’s post! If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, what sort of things do you have in your survival kit? Let me know in the comments below! Or if you made your own survival kit post already (or do after you see this) feel free to link it below as well.

XOXO, Jane

26 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

  1. I just need to not make more plans or have any drama rear its ugly head. Except for phone/laptop, I don’t need any accessories. Generally, I don’t snack more during NaNo, but I have been trying to exercise a few minutes per day for my back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Simplicity is best! Personally I don’t necessarily eat more snacks, but from my experience in the past couple of years I should eat more. When I’m in a really good writing flow (whether it’s during NaNo or otherwise) I tend to not eat at all. So I’m doing this whole trying to be healthier thing and keep things close by during writing sessions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s definitely a lot of fun! There’s a great sense of community among writers too. So definitely be sure to interact (even if it’s just online) with others throughout the month. It’ll help productivity. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would love to attend a in person write-in. I’ve done a couple live stream ones through which were very productive, but not an in-person yet. It’s on my goal list for NaNo experiences this year, but we shall see.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been meaning to do NaNo for ages now and this is such good advice!! I’m going to be writing prose on my blog soon (rather than just poetry) so will try NaNo next time it comes around 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NaNoWriMo can truly be a great experience for writers! I definitely recommend jumping into the community once you sign up. Be sure to assign your region and embrace the local community as well. In my experience, it can be pretty welcoming and helpful. Be sure to come back and let me know when you sign up for the site, I’d love to add you as a writing buddy on there. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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