NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and this weekend, I will be preparing for a month of writing furiously! Having participated in NaNoWriMo pretty consistently since 2012, it is helpful to somewhat plan ahead into the month: and preparing a survival kit can help you reach day 30 with most sanity intact.
But what exactly is a survival kit? The NaNo survival kit doesn’t have to be an actual kit, as though some of the things I’ll suggest below are physical items, it can be entirely digital too.
The NaNo survival kit is not only one of my favourite forum threads every year, but also a way to help you get through the month. Writing 1667 words a day – or more – is intense. If you can support yourself, especially if you live alone or are fitting writing in around a busy job and/or family life, you’ll just be pushing yourself one step more towards the finishing line.
What to include in the survival kit, then?! Let’s get to it!
All things cosy
I am someone with poor circulation and therefore fingerless gloves and fluffy socks/slippers are always in my writing area. I’ve just bought some new slippers as my old ones have been gifted to the dog (who has since eaten them) and I’m very excited to wear them as I write.
Snacks & your favourite drinks (and a bottle of water!)
If you’ve never tried it before, you may not know how tiring writing can be, both mentally and physically. Having some sugary snacks, some healthy snacks, some coffee or your favourite drink, and some water can really help you get through a heavy session. Water, especially, is crucial. I have a bottle with a straw lid, and can drink a litre in an hour if I’m not concentrating – which is actually pretty good for my health! As for snacks and drinks, I get some hot chocolate sachets, Skittles, M&Ms, those kind of things that aren’t too messy to eat at your desk.
A comfortable writing area
There is nothing worse than cramp, and writing scrunched up like a croissant on your bed is not what you want to be doing. Investing in a desk or bed desk is worthwhile, believe me! Not only does it help your brain to get into the “writing mood” by sitting in the same place every time, but it will be better for your body.
A memory stick, and writing software
A memory stick is vital for backing up your novel. Having been there myself, you do not want to get 20,000 words through without backing it up and finding you accidentally delete your book… I’d recommend backing up your book every 1-3 days or 5000 words, as that’s a feasible amount I could rewrite if I happened to lose everything!
As for writing software, many writers are turning away from Word in favour of other programmes, and I am currently considering Scrivener for my own writing this year. Check out the NaNoWriMo offers for a whole list of writing programmes.
Headphones & Spotify
I sometimes struggle to write without my headphones! When there are people shouting outside, builders next door, the dog barking… It’s super helpful to have these little beauties beside my laptop to muffle outside sounds. As for Spotify, I find myself listening to classical or piano music to help my mind concentrate.
Don’t forget to have a notebook with you at all times! I have a writer’s notebook, but during NaNoWriMo I tend to gravitate towards my NaNo notebook (I get a new one for every novel & year!). I treat this as my writer’s journal for the month, as I tend to focus on one project, though I do occasionally use my other one too.
That’s everything in my survival kit this year – but what’s in yours? Let me know in the comments below!
NaNoWriMo starts on Monday – good luck! I’ll be posting every Friday with a NaNo related post, so don’t forget to come back here for a bit of a writing break every week! You can also contact me at @sprinkledwithwords or @hxnnxhwrites on Instagram!
Until next time,