Make Your Own Nanowrimo Survival Kit
This is how I prepare for the craziness that is writing a novel in 30 days
My favourite autumn activity is writing a novel. I know, I'm such a geek. NaNoWriMo, which takes place in November, is the highlight of the year for me. A whole month of absolute madness. The lines between imagination and reality absolutely blurred, since you need to live in both worlds at once.
As soon as the leaves start falling off the trees I feel the familiar butterflies in my tummy. I start looking for the perfect notebook and a new pen, and everything else that belongs in my annual novel writing survival kit. This is a box of things that will help or inspire me in the month to come, and which I can not open and use until midnight 1. November.
So what exactly do I include in my NaNoWriMo survival kit? Oh, and what exactly is this strange thing called NaNoWriMo anyway? Read on and find out!
What is NaNoWriMo?
A 50,000 word November miracle/ disaster.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Yes, that's right. In the month of November, thousands of people all over the world throw all caution to the wind, their social life out the window and live on microwave dinners, in order to produce a 50.000 word novel in 30 days.
No, the idea is not to have a novel ready for publishing at the end of the month, but to have a very (read: extremely) rough first draft to edit and build on.
Sounds insane? That's because it is. Completely insane, absolutely mind blowing and worse than any last-minute paper you have ever had to write in high school. But it's so much fun!
Click the photo below to read more and sign up (it is 100% per cent free)!
First thing to go into my survival kit: - A new notebook!
My favourite coffee mug
I hide this in my survival kit box sometime in early autumn. It is hard for me to do, but anticipating the joyful reunion upon opening the box on November 1 helps me through it.
Why it is my favourite mug I couldn't tell you. I've only been to Birmingham once, and only for half a day. I don't remember much of it. The mug was bought because I am obsessed with souvenir shops. And coffee mugs. And because I got this idea I would start collecting love mugs from all the cities I visited.
Photo: my own.
The NaNoWriMo guide book
Meet Bunny - my writing totem
What about you?
Do you use a writing totem?
What else goes into my survival kit?
Oh so many things! But mainly things that will in some way aid me on my way to becoming a novelist.
- A scented candle. Sounds weird, I'm sure. But I have come to enjoy a scented candle by my side when I'm writing. As soon as I light the candle and its scent start spreading around the room, I start feeling inspired and my fingers itch to start writing.
OK, not always. But sometimes.
OK, so I just like the smell.
- Leftover Halloween candy. I try not to reward myself with food, but it does seem to be the most effective incentive to get me through the writing of the day.
And we all know sugar and caffeine give the inspiration a bit of a boost. What I need to remember is that it doesn't last long and the inevitable sugar crash is bad. Really bad.
- A new pen. Not necessarily a fancy and expensive one, but I always try nearly all the pens in the shop before settling for one I like. It needs to glide easily across the paper, not bleed ink, and have a nice colour. The last few years I mostly go for black or blue, but my first novel was drafted almost entirely in green ink.
- A knitted poncho. I have a gorgeous (store bought) knitted poncho that I somehow started associating with NaNoWriMo, and therefore now goes in my kit. It is perfect for when the nights start getting chilly but I'm too lazy to turn the heater up.
- Fuzzy socks. Because they're fuzzy. And they go on your feet.
A book of names - The (not so) secret ingredient!
Random goodness for my NaNoWriMo care package:
Yes, you will need to eat. No, you may not feel like cooking. This is why I always stock up on quick and easy instant meals.
One thing you are pressed for in this challenge, is time. Especially if you're in school, have a full-time job and/ or have kids. At the moment I do have a job, but no one else to rely on me, so I don't feel bad for making loads of instant foods. But I always try to have something healthy now and then.
- Granola bars and protein bars. For the times when you just. can't. get. away. from. the. computer.
- A wide variety of instant soups. Ahh, the pure genius of mugs, powder and a kettle...
- Oatmeal! I love a hot oatmeal porridge with honey and grated ginger on top. It is quick, easy to make and - bonus! - healthy!
- Dry pasta and ready-made pasta sauces from the supermarket. Or you can pre-make your own pasta sauces from scratch and freeze them until you need them.
- I also buy lots of fresh fruit for a quick and healthy snack. But this doesn't go in the kit, but on the kitchen counter.
- The year I did this challenge in Australia, it was obviously nearing summer, not winter. So I stocked up on iced teas and froze some coffee in ice cube trays to put in a glass of vanilla soy milk for a variation on iced coffee.
Sure, coffee gives me both energy and inspiration, but the sad truth is that I can't drink it in the evening without lying awake half the night with twitchy legs and bulging eyes. So at some point during the day I switch to tea.
There's just something about having a steaming mug next to the computer that feels so reassuring.
And I love tea, so that's fine. My favourites vary, but I always come back to herbal teas. Drinking a tasty herbal tea feels like I'm giving myself a comforting treat.
So, tell me:
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?
Finally: I find quotes that inspire me and write them down on little post-it notes attached to random items in my survival kit - All photos in this gallery areClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2013 Aibrean82