My NaNo Survival Kit

I figured with NaNoWriMo drawing ever closer, I’d share my own list of items that I’m collecting for my November survival kit. Some are ready to go, some I still need to get ready.

1. Laptop – The laptop itself is ready; in fact, I have a new one this year. It’s a work laptop, which comes home with me, and it’s very nice. The keyboard is a little frustrating though. I can’t say exactly why, but when I type my normal speed, I end up skipping letters way more often than I do on my desktop.

My writing space around my laptop is what I still need to work on. It’s piled high with papers and notebooks, related to both work and writing. I have a wooden filing cabinet near my desk that I plan to use to start organizing work papers, and go from there. That’s on my to-do list for the rest of October

2. Outline – I keep starting on this, and keep running into questions. I may need to stop worrying so much about a physical outline, and at least think through all of the broad points (it helps that I do have a timeline with key events listed out) to make sure there aren’t any more huge questions that need answered now, while I have more time. And this is just one plot thread I’ve been trying to outline. There will be another one, that I just realized yesterday might actually be a bigger thread than I thought, that I haven’t even started thinking about yet. So yeah, lots of work left to do on this, and I have how many days left?

3. Timeline
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I may not have an outline yet, but, as I mentioned, I do have a timeline. Because my 2017 NaNoNovel encompasses several other books, with some intertwining characters and plot points, I had to get this timeline set up a long time ago. Events have moved around a lot since then, even a lot just in the last couple of weeks, but I think it’s set now. And if I don’t end up with much of an outline, this will at least be something.

4. Notebook, pencil, & eraser

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And believe me, I has all the notebooks!

I still love the tactile feeling of writing by hand. I don’t do it much during NaNo, because it’s just…so…slow. But I always have at least one notebook with me when I leave the house during November, in case I have a chance to write, or even just a stray idea to jot down.

4-b. Thinkink Pen
fidget pen
The pen is metal and bendable, and comes with attachments that are either magnetic, or at least metal. It’s a fidget pen. I’ve noticed a tendency to take apart mechanical pencils when I’m in a meeting, or when I’m writing and have to stop to think. I’ve broken more than my share of pencils that way. This thing has been great!

5. Leftover Halloween candy & other snacks – It’s become a tradition for my husband and me to go out on the day after a major candy holiday (mostly Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter) and get a few bags full at half-off. It’s really the only times we buy candy, and then we split it between the 4 of us in our family, and make it last as long as we can. I tend to stress eat when I’m writing. It’s not a good habit, but one I can’t seem to shake during NaNo.

6. Full stock of coffee – For me, this is about more than the caffeine. I enjoy coffee, cappuccino, or hot chocolate when I’m settling in for my writing time simply for the taste. And the warmth, since it tends to be cold here during November.

7. Thumb drive – Somewhere I have a thumb drive with my writing backed up on it. It’s probably 2 years out of date, since there’s no way I was organized enough to back anything up during last year’s NaNoWriMo. I’ll have to dig it out, catch it up, and then use it to store my writing on. I tend to go back and forth between my laptop and desktop, because the laptop is upstairs in my bedroom where it’s quiet, but sometimes it’s nice to be at my desktop–more comfortable, amongst the people (downsides there, of course), and usually warmer.

8. AlphaSmart Neo

I did an entire blog post on this already, so I won’t go into much detail here. This will be my first NaNo with it, and I am really looking forward to it. I’ve already gotten quite a bit of use out of it during prep time. In fact, after using it for 3 days to “interview” one of my main characters as a way to break through some blocks, I had transferred the writing to my computer, and tried to finish it there. But it just wasn’t the same, and I couldn’t quite focus. This thing may transform the way I do NaNoWriMo. Or it may just be a fun toy. (Though if nothing else, it will definitely come in incredibly useful for writing away from the house.) Either way, I’m hooked!

What’s in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Are you prepared for November 1st?

My NaNo Survival Kit

I figured with NaNoWriMo drawing ever closer, I’d share my own list of items that I’m collecting for my November survival kit. Some are ready to go, some I still need to get ready.

1. Laptop – Though this one seems easy, I’ve been using a temporary replacement for my good laptop, because the good one needed a new keyboard. It’s been fixed and ready for a week now, but I haven’t taken the time to swap out the temp one yet. The keyboard was down for a month or so, so I need to set up the good laptop and make sure it’s ready to go for November.

2. Outline – I haven’t even started on this yet. I’ve got a partial timeline done, some character work done, and a decent synopsis. Plus lots of notes on dialog and minor events that will shape the setting. I plan to do nothing but outline during my writing time until either the outline is done or November starts.

3. Notebook, pencil, & eraser
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Though I prefer to write longhand, I learned years ago that there was no time for that during NaNoWriMo. In fact, I rarely write anything longer than writing practice by hand anymore, even outside of NaNo. Still, having a notebook or two available during NaNo is only smart. For those times when I’m out and can’t bring my laptop, but still have a little time to write (Thanksgiving events being the most prominent example). Or for the possibility, however unlikely, that my laptop crashes.

4. Soft, fuzzy robe & slippers – November gets cold where I live, and we keep our thermostat a little low to save money. So we tend to wear sweaters, socks, and slippers around here to stay warm. It’s nice and cozy for settling in and writing, especially since I recently got a long, super soft robe to wear.

5. Leftover Halloween candy & other snacks – This is still on the horizon, obviously, because Halloween is still ahead of us. My husband and I have grand plans to go out on Sunday afternoon and see what we can find. I learned recently that (in my town, at least) Walgreens and CVS are more likely to have good, name-brand candy in after-holiday sales than the area grocery stores, so we’re heading there first. I’ll be getting others snacks here and there, like fruit or chips, but I’m mostly a chocolate girl.

6. Full stock of coffee
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This is the first year this particular item has been on my list. I despise coffee normally. I like powdered cappuccino drinks, but couldn’t ever enjoy coffee. However, my husband got me a k-cup machine for my last birthday, and I quickly discovered that I like flavored coffee (with cream in it). In fact, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with coffee now (but again, only flavored). I discovered that one can buy variety packs of flavored coffee on Amazon, and tried it out months ago. It worked out well enough that I ordered a new box for November. I also pick up regular boxes of various flavors that strike my fancy now and then, and have some I’m looking forward to opening throughout the month. So this NaNo, I will join the majority of Wrimos who drink copious amounts of coffee.

(I’ll probably drink a lot of pop too, but it’s not as fun to stock up on in advance as the coffee.)

7. Free trial of Scrivener that will last until the end of NaNo – I’ve been trying Scrivener since May. With a 30-day trial that only takes a day away for days you actually open the program, I still have half the month left. I’ve yet to decide if it’s worth buying, but I’m going to try out using it for both outlining, and writing from said outline, this month. The time I have left on my trial wouldn’t have lasted through NaNo, since I’d be using it every day. Fortunately, there is a trial version that lasts until December 7th, specifically for Wrimos. I downloaded that, and will be using it to make the aforementioned outline the rest of this week.

8. Thumb drive – This one I still have to get. I have several thumb drives, but right now, I can only seem to find one. And it’s completely full with backed-up files. I’ll keep looking for the others (most of which are still in the original packaging and must be floating around together somewhere), but if I can’t find one, I guess I’ll borrow one. I can back up my novel to Google drive, but I want to have it on a thumb drive so it’s more easily accessible between my laptop and desktop.

9. Coloring books & colored pencils
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I was never much for coloring when I was younger, not like my sisters. A few years ago, I read advice along the lines of having something on hand to do during NaNo’s dreaded week two (or any other time during the month), when inspiration and motivation were low. Something creative, but in a different way. Painting, drawing, singing, dancing, etc. I planned to work on some scrapbooking if the need arose, though it never did. I still have scrapbooking material and could do that, but frankly, it takes a lot of time and effort to do much in that vein (and I’m not even the type to be super fancy with a scrapbook page, or to decorate a whole page just for one or two pics…I usually fit as many pics on the page as I can and do a little decorating around or between them).

A week or two ago, though, I read a blog post that mentioned coloring in adult coloring books during NaNo. I latched on to that idea pretty quickly. The idea of making colorful pictures with no real plan, no goal, just…coloring, when the stress of word counts started to get a little overwhelming really appealed to me. Or even just as a way to unwind after I was done writing for the day.

I’m not an artist, and I don’t care about blending or matching colors or making the page fancy at all. I just want to color. I bought one coloring book on Amazon, with another on its way (the tracking says it will arrive anywhere from Oct 30-Nov 17, so it’s good the other one came quickly). My husband, who never for a moment thought I was silly when I told him I wanted to get some coloring books for me (even I thought I was silly), bought me a brand new pack of 36 colored pencils, so I don’t have to use my daughter’s, which are mixed and matched from 4 different packs.

Anyway, that last item on the list got a little lengthy with its explanation. Sorry about that. I’m pretty sure this is everything, but it wouldn’t be the first time I forgot something until after I posted.

What’s in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Are you prepared for November 1st?