Cross posted on As The Eraser Burns.

It’s almost that time of year again, folks: National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, the yearly Olympics for writers where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in only 30 days. The fun begins on November 1st, twelve days from now. TWELVE.

As in, one-two-three-ten-twelve days, less than two weeks!!!


Not that I’m worried about NaNoWriMo or anything. Nope, not me, I’m perfectly cool as a cucumber. Breezy like broccoli. Relaxed as a radish, easy like peas-ies, and tranquil like … like … okay, I’m running out of vegetables. And everything I’ve said is a total lie. I’m not cool.

I’m kind of freaking out.


This freak-out comes from my decision to write a nonfiction, self-help book, which apparently makes me a NaNo Rebel since it’s more geared for fiction novels. But I already have an insanely-long list of fiction manuscripts that need editing plus I also want to finish up with A Year of Happy Endings, (that I am posting on Wattpad,) so call me a rebel, folks, nonfiction it is.

Only I’ve never written a nonfiction self-help book before.

Instead, I read self-helps, as part of my never-ending quest for mental sanity. So rather than spending October doing character sketches, plotting outlines, researching, world-building, and setting up my Scrivener template, I simply came up with a title, listed a few ideas for the introduction, and decided on topics for 34 chapters, (of which, will be later narrowed down to 30.)

That’s it. I’ll be winging everything else loosey-goosey style.


Problem is … I’m not a loosey-goosey panster. I’m a diehard plotter who believes that …


But it’s too late now, there’s no turning back or changing my mind … since that would freak me out even more. So now my focus is to spend the remaining twelve days of #Pretober gathering tools for my…

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: #Pretober

1.) Coffee, tea, and everything that goes in it

It only feels right starting my list with caffeine, seeing as how I practically start an IV drip once November hits. Plus there’s also the goodies that go into my coffee and tea. Like honey. And … for when the situation calls for it, an array of these little bad boys:


2.) A Favorite Mug

One that makes you happy or inspires productivity. For me, my favorite mug for kick-butt writing sessions is my Gryffindor mug bought at Universal Studios!


3.) Brain-Friendly Snacks and of course, candy and CHOCOLATE.

While the notion of living on caffeine and chocolate for an entire month is so alluring, it’s still good to have some healthier snacks like fruits, vegetables, and less-offensive sweets such as Twizzlers on hand so you don’t end up feeling blotted and lethargic with a sugar crash.

It is, however, perfectly acceptable to sometimes say…


4.) Inspirational Triggers

Things that you only break out while writing, letting your brain know it’s time to settle down, roll up your sleeves, and be creative. For me, that includes candles, having my goal journal in sight to remind me of what I want to accomplish, and a special playlist created on YouTube that is full of epic movie soundtracks.

This year, I also plan on wearing my NaNoWriMo 2015 Winners Shirt as a reminder that I am capable of winning again!


5.) Motivational Images and Printable Trackers

While I do love entering my word count at the NaNoWriMo website, there’s also something so gratifying about putting stickers on a chart kept in my Filofax. This year, I’m going to be using ones provided for free from Boho Berry, who also wrote a killer blog entry about NaNo Prep with lots of information! Check it out here.

Something I also did last year that worked out great is to print out images found by a Google search, mounting them to cardstock, and taping them up in my work area along with story notes and ideas!



This year, I also plan on wearing my inspirational wraps by Momentum Jewelry. I just love these for working out and one of my rewards for finishing again this year will be to get one specific for writing!


6.) Ear Buds or Headphones

For when you’re listening to motivational music and need to tune the rest of the world out!


7.) Focusing Aid Apps

Something I’ve already mentioned in my Oddball Writing Tips post is my deep love for the Coffitivity App that makes you feel as though you’re in a coffeehouse, surrounded by chatter! You can download the app or use the website, choosing from Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge, or University Undertones, my personal favorite … although there’s this one weird part in the loop that sounds like someone is hacking. The volume is adjustable and you can also add in music from your library, Spotify, Pandora, and more.

Another app that is awesome for those of you who use the Pomodoro Technique is the Focus Aid app, that lets you know when your 25 minutes of focused work is up and you can take a 5 minute break.

8.) Scrivener

This, perhaps, should go to the top of my list since Scrivener is THE BEST PROGRAM ever for writing! The ability to keep everything about your novel in one tidy location has been amazing. I’ve also downloaded the app at a hefty $19.99, which I’ve used to roughly plan out my nonfiction novel. For now, I don’t have any intent of trying to sync it to my laptop out of fear of messing something up. That would NOT be fun!


9.) A Clear Desk

It’s going to be hard focusing on your writing if your desk is covered with bills, warranties to fill out, checkbooks that need to be balanced, and other paperwork … which is what is on my desk this very minute. Take some time to de-clutter before November 1st so your mind won’t be cluttered as well!


I’m also in the process of taking this one step further by pre-writing blog post for As The Eraser Burns as well as my other two blogs, Joyful Miles and Write, Run, Rejoice so I don’t feel pressured on posting day!


Last on my list is to surround yourself with a support system, whether it’s from your own family, friends, or the NaNoWriMo Forums. You can also do a search on Facebook for NaNo participants. For example, there’s a group for us Marylanders. You can also feel free to buddy me at Laura Bowers. I love buddies!


Well, that’s it, my NaNoWriMo Survival kit that I’ll be prepping this month. What about you?

QOTD: Are you participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s in your NaNoWriMo survival kit?

Best of luck and happy writing! And if you’d like to participate in this month’s #SCBWI Third Thursday Blog Link Up, leave a link to your blog post in the comments below!




  1. Stephanie Gonzalez Quintans says:

    If you are a fan of background sounds, you should definitely try the Harry Potter Ambience videos on youtube which are basically background sounds as if you are in the Hogwarts library, great hall, common rooms etc. Worked for me 🙂

  2. That’s a fantastic tip!!! I’m playing Gryffindor Common Room Ambience right now as it’s sleeting outside. Very soothing and lovely! 🙂

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