Friday, November 06, 2015

6 'Must Haves' to Survive NaNoWriMo

Alright folks, the month is upon us! NaNoWriMo is only in it's early stages but if you're anything like
me, you're already feeling the effects of marathon writing. In the midst of work, all my classes and the looming assignments before the final exam rush, I've discovered a bunch of things that have been helping me survive the beautiful chaos we writers willingly through ourselves into.

1) Writing Music

An absolute must. I went out and bought myself a $25 iTunes card so I could stock up on some great writing music to motivate myself. If you're on a budget, Youtube has some fabulous playlists for full movie scores or just a big jumble of epic, emotional or wondrous instrumentals.
If you haven't already discovered them, HDSounDI has some of my favourite writing playlists on the internet. Check them out if you're looking for some new tracks!

2) Notebooks and Pencils/Pens

Sometimes I'm in the middle of a scene and suddenly I have an idea to write down. Could be a piece of dialogue, a title for a future chapter or a reason why character X did action Y. Whatever it is, I like to have my notebook and a pencil next to me while I write so I don't miss any of my strokes of genius. For those of you that have scrivener or another writing program, I'd suggest having a file open specifically for your random ideas. Keeping organized during this time is super important.

Three of my favourite writing journals

3) A Writing Buddy

For me this is an absolute must. I'd trade writing music for a buddy during these weeks. Why? Word wars! One of my best friends, Tori, and I can easily get three thousand words in about two hours. It makes NaNo much less daunting to have a buddy to do it with. Plus it's a lot more fun to do with a friend. This is only the first time I've done NaNo but I can't imagine doing it without a buddy. I've already got of 15k words in this first week! I credit that to having a buddy to war with every night.

4) Caffeine

While NaNo has been productive and I don't stay up super late every night, there have been a couple nights were I stay up just a tad past my bedtime trying to push for extra words. Other times I'll use caffeine to boost me when I've had a long day at school or work and haven't started chipping away at my word count. (or still have a long way to go)
For those of you that write in the wee hours of the morning, I suggest green tea; and if you're Canadian, Iced Caps from Timmies.

Three of my favourite writerly mugs :) 

5) A Fuzzy Blanket

I'm not sure why but I can't seem to write well without setting myself up on the couch by the fireplace with my blue fuzzy blanket. I think this says something about getting comfortable before you sit down to write like the wind. If you have a spot in the house or even out of the house that you find helps you to write, I encourage you take advantage of that space. Writing is always easier when you're comfortable or in a creative atmosphere.

6)  Sanity Items

I'm realizing that NaNo has the potential to be consuming and stressful. Somehow I'm managing and it made me wonder as to why that may be. 
The first one is music. Not writing music, just music by artists that I enjoy listening to. Of Monster and Men, Florence and the Machine, and Imagine Dragons are a few groups I listen to when I'm not writing. 
I've found that taking walks when it's nice out is also refreshing. Getting a little fresh air into my system often helps with writers block. 
Friends are great too. I'm making sure that I go for coffee with someone or see a friend outside my own house at least once a week during NaNo. It ensures that my mind isn't only thinking about my writing (or homework for that mater!)
Lastly, when in doubt, watch an episode on Netflix. It's always a great way to just escape the world of writing for forty minutes. After that though, it's back to writing!

How's NaNo going for you? Do you have any survival tips for NaNo? 

Good luck on NaNo, Wordlings! And if you aren't participating, have a great November :)


  1. Lots of good tips, Cassia. ^ ^ And it's been amazing writing with you! This NaNo has been made fantastic writing with you. Last year was such a drag compared to this one. And aw you have the yellow cup you got at the conference! I've been drinking out of my Past Midnight cup a lot lately. ^ ^

    1. Thanks! And I've loved writing with you too :D
      Yes! I have to use my yellow cup! For one thing, I go through mugs like water but it also reminds me of you :) I'm glad you've been using your Past Midnight one!

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Pens and notebooks are an absolute must for me, as I favor writing longhand (versus using a computer). I have never tried word wars but I know others swear by it. I think that in order to survive NaNo, there must be tons of caffeine, first and foremost. Another is to just turn off your inner editor and write, write, write. Some days would be difficult but go ahead and write, anyway. That's the only way to get writing done. Best of luck for this year's NaNo! :)

    1. Yes! *holds hand out for a high-five* Another person who like longhand!
      Yeah I'm one of those people who swears by them. You should try them some time. Ten minute sprints are my favourite cause I don't have a very long attention span XD
      Oh my gosh, yes. The inner editor is killer to deal with! That's a great tip :)
      Thank you! Good luck to you as well ^ ^

      Thanks for the comment!