Here we go again.

NanoWrimo season is creeping upon us. Last year, I won NanoWrimo by writing 50,000 words in one month. If that sounds insane, it’s because it was. And just to prove to you all I have remained crazy, I’m going to do it again this year.

Last year, I  did a fairly traditional Nano- I had a very rough first chapter written for a novel, some outlines, and a lot of determination going in. I wrote a full 50,000 words in the parameters of the month.

Winning NanoWrimo gives you this weird feeling, one that’s a mixture between extreme bliss and extraordinary exhaustion- kind of like realizing how jet-lagged you are after arriving at an amazing location. My dog is displaying this pretty well right now.

This year, I’m doing things a little bit differently. I’m hoping to edit the novel that I wrote in the last Nano, as well as working on some smaller projects. Considering that the purpose of NanoWrimo is to write one book without editing, I guess I’m breaking almost every rule, but I am staying true to its spirit- I still want to have written a collective of 50,000 words by the end of November, and I want to do it in a fit of stress and excitement with all you other writers!

In preparation for NanoWrimo, I’m putting together a survival kit. In it are things that helped me win last year, as well as items I desperately wished I’d had!

So, with no further ado, I am proud to present…

nano Graphic.jpg

1. Some form of a back-up

All right. Story time. Last year, halfway into NanoWrimo, when I had 27,000 words written, I thought I’d lost my manuscript. I hit a button on word, my admittedly old laptop froze, and when I was able to restart my computer, I was missing a huge chunk of words. I panicked. I went through everything my 6th grade computer apps teacher taught me. After several frantic calls in the near middle of the night to someone with great computer skills, (Thanks Mike!) I realized that I had just created a text box, and that’s where the words were. I was able to get my writing back. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. For goodness sake, KEEP A BACKUP OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT! Update it every day. More than once a day. Put in on google drive, put it on a flash drive, just make sure you save your work! Save yourself a midnight panic of almost losing the most precious thing you’ve created.

2. A journal

By the end of November, my eyes were twitching. Staring at the computer all day isn’t exactly healthy, so take a break from the screen and keep writing by using a journal. I never wrote scenes of my novel by hand, but I did plot, character develop, and more inside a trusty notebook during Nano. It really kept me organized!

I love this design! You can buy this mug here.

3. A fun cup/mug to keep hydrated

I’m not going to lie: I’m not really a coffee fan. I don’t like tea either. I sort of feel like I’m breaking a long, unspoken pact that all writers must be obsessed with caffeination, but I am stubbornly a hot chocolate lover. Regardless of your beverage choice, make sure to keep drinking with a motivational/literary cup or mug. Who knows? You might even try water one day. 😉

4. Crunchy Snacks

Keep crunchy snacks by your writing desk. This serves two purposes. Number one, when you’re hungry and angry that you just found a plot hole, you can viciously bite down on a carrot pretending it’s all those who have ever opposed you. Number two, it eliminates the procrastinator’s habit of getting up and going to the kitchen instead of writing. (Or is it just me who does that?)


At this point in my life, I confess I am pretty committed to smelling like a Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte. I was just going to buy the hand lotion, but then the saleslady said it was a 3-for-one sale of perfume, lotion, and soap, and then there was a black blur, and now I smell like Pinterest.

5. Good-smelling Hand Lotion

Okay, so hear me out. If you are doing NanoWrimo, you are preparing for a month of looking at your hands. 30 STRAIGHT DAYS OF LOOKING AT YOUR HANDS. By some nice lotion. It’ll make them smell pretty, it’ll make them look pretty, and also, if you think your hands won’t be sore at the end of this, you’ve got another thing coming. Just buy some lotion.

6. Support

Writing is often an isolated act, but in this case, you’re going to need your friends and family. Having such a strong cast of people supporting me was one of the reasons I won. There are going to be ups and there are going to be downs so deep it’ll seem impossible to ever climb up again. Tell the people who love you what you are about to do. You are going to need them. You will need their guidance and sympathy, their advice and support. Make friends with people who are attempting to do Nano as well. You’re all in this together.


I usually use the timer app on my phone, but if you’re feeling fancy, try one of these spiffy watches.

7. Timer

50,000 words is a huge goal. Make it smaller. Get a timer and set it for ten minutes. Tell yourself that in that ten minutes, you are going to write 200 words. Take a break. Then do it again. Take another break. Do it again. Pace yourself, and take it a couple of words at a time. This is how you win NanoWrimo. This is how you write 50,000 words- by taking it goal by goal.

8. Earbuds

If you like listening to music, this one’s an obvious, but even if you don’t, I suggest buying earbuds and putting them in. Just a couple of sentences ago, I was talking about how amazing your friends and family are. And they are spectacular, and they love you, but they love you so much they’re going to want to talk to you while you’re writing. That’s a no-no. Guard your writing time. Be prepared to give up social obligations in November. Know that in this month, your writing comes first. And also know that you are going to be baking a lot of thank you cookies come December.

9. Left Over Halloween Candy

To be honest, I had five king size Crunch bars left over from Halloween, and I ate one every time I reached a 10,000 milestone. Reward yourself. Writing’s hard.

10. A CalendarNovember 2016 Nanowrimo .jpg

One thing that I wish I’d had last year was a calendar to better plan things out. So this year, I made one! I am by no means a graphic design artist, but I tried my best to create a November 2016 calendar with the daily word counts that you should follow in order to reach 50,000.

November 2016 Nanowrimo .jpg

You can use it to track your word count, plan out your events for November, and scribble notes about your writing in the margins! If you want to use it, right click on the image to save it, put in a word document, or program like word, and print it out- it’s free.


So, how many of you are participating in Nanowrimo this year? Are you going traditional or nontraditional? Are you just as crazy as I am? Tell me about all your writing plans in the comments.



  1. I am not participating, but I really want a cup of hot choco now, I’m not really a coffee person either, but tea is okay
    Good luck on your writing/editing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m participating! It’s my fourth year of NaNoWriMo, and I’m really looking forwards to it. I’m aiming for a higher word-count goal than I’ve tried before, so it’ll be an extra challenge this year.
    Some form of a backup is immensely important – I had a similar experience two years ago and it was terrifying, so I completely understand what you mean. I would have probably forgotten about crunchy snacks and hand lotion in my preparations had you not mentioned them, though – thank you for that. I decorated a mug with writing quotes/pictures of authors I admire a few years ago, and I still use it during November, so I look forward to drinking a lot of hot chocolate (or tea) this year.
    Good luck on your editing and writing! Editing’s definitely a valid way to use November as well, so go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am totally participating this year! Technically this is my first NaNo, unless you count last year, when I didn’t even sign up to the site, and I quit like five days in. (April was Camp NaNo so it is NOT THE SAME THING.)

    Anyway! Love this post! I had to laugh, though, because I’m currently working on a NaNoWriMo Survival Kit, and it’s awesome to see another guide to winning! Also! Hot chocolate is MUCH better than coffee. Seriously, it’s delicious, especially with ten pounds of whipped cream on top……

    And as for my NaNo plans, I’m going to be going traditional this year. *puts on pilgrim hat* (Don’t ask.) I’m really excited for my story, and I’m currently plotting it out…which is not going very well… But the excitement remains!

    Awesome calendar, by the way!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to see your survival kit! Right? Sugar over bitter any day!
      Good luck on your writing! I made a complete plot overview for my book last year, and proceeded to ignore it while actually writing. Whoops!
      Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great guide. Even though I’m not participating these are some great tips to keep the writing going and I’ll be sure to use them.
    Also, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award on my blog if you don’t mind because your blog is amazing and totally worthy of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the small goal idea. I typically think big picture which can be daunting!! Very excited to start my very first NANOWRIMO!! Still working on an outline, but I am getting excited as the story comes together in my mind…Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I’m doing traditional NaNo this year with a fantasy story that’s been half formed in my brain for about two years now. I currently have a cast of awesome characters, an extremely detailed world, but a very shaky plot, so we’ll see where this gets me… I just couldn’t wait to write the thing any longer, which is why I am crazy enough to do it for NaNo…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I did NaNo in 2014 and 15. I won the first time, but not the second. I’m mad enough to have signed up again this year, but I will, in effect, be doing it in just over 3 weeks because I’m going on holiday for a week from 3rd to 11th. I’m windering why I’ve decided to put myself through it again. We’re all mad as hatters!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am not participating in NaNo this year because I’m just not in the right place with projects to do it, but I’ve done it in the past. It’s a crazy, challenging, fun, exhausting month. Good luck to you! I’d be interested to hear how your experience with a non-traditional NaNo compares to your experience of the traditional.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I must confess ignorance of NanoWrimo. However, I can empathize w/ any writer who has lost words. It feels very like losing a child. I had 2 hard drives crash irretrievably, and lost a good deal of work. Thankfully, I had hard copies of my longest manuscripts. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Are you saying putting in ear buds to pretend you are listening to music? Unfortunately, my family knows I can’t work with noise so this “pretend” won’t work.. hehe.. Great suggestions though!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I will be participating in NaNoWriMo, this would be my first time. I haven’t written a book before, so I’ll see how that will turn out. As excited as I am to do it, I will not put everything aside for it. I still have school and internship I have to do, so that comes first. Since I am very chaotic (in my head and as a person), I will be making an outlining of my story beforehand.
    And this is a great guide! I will definitely use this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love your NaNo survival list – I unfortunately was not as lucky as you when my old laptop didn’t save my words one November! Nearly 4K words gone – never to be seen again. After that I put auto save on my word documents every minute, email to myself & my work email and backup on flash drive. Yep probably over cautious but I never want to supper that lost again. As a free flow writer I had no idea of what I’d written just the basic idea, so had to start from stratch. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m doing the exact same thing: working on a book I had written earlier. With me, I think I’m going to rewrite most of it because it has been a long time since I wrote it (a side project became a major one). I’m pretty sure it counts toward the 50,000 word goal. If not, oh well. Good luck!


  14. I wish all the right words during the Nano! I have a book I have to complete this month and a graphic novel outline to pitch to an artist before year end so I won’t be able to do it again this year. You’ll have to finish it for me as I cheer you 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  15. #TeamHotChocolate all the way, baby! Im not really into coffee or tea, either! You’re not alone! 🙂 It does feel like breaking some universal code of writerliness, though, doesn’t it???

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve signed up as a first timer! I have no plans to hit 50k, largely because I write for the stage, so I’m setting the bar at a more realistic (but still a little challenging) target of 25k instead. Unfortunately, I also have two script deadlines coming up, which is helping nothing at the moment 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Congratulations on being Danny Ray’s featured blogger. I was just featured blogger too. Maybe you can check out my blog if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about.
    I brought you the link to my about page, so you can more about my blog and. Also, my avatar takes you to the wrong site.
    Like Danny, I have many blog parties each month.

    I heard that program is that pretty intense. I have the things including Support and I’m not in it. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I loved your blog post! Just a heads up, the link for the lotion isn’t working anymore. They change so often but here is a link directly to the Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte

    Here’s a link for another one that sounds nice when I was searching for the pumpkin latte

    Liked by 1 person

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