The best way to win Nanowrimo is by maximizing inspiration and minimalizing distractions. A Nanowrimo survival kit helps you do just that. It ensures that you have everything you need nearby and keeps you from running off on lengthy store trips. The ideal Nanowrimo survival kit contains something to meet all your needs, preferably things that can easily be kept in a box beside your desk.
Some of the things you’ll need to survive this novel writing madness are better off in places like the fridge, but try to keep as many of the essentials by your desk as necessary so you don’t have to get up as often. Butt in chair is the most important part of any writing challenge, and by keeping all the essentials within arm’s reach, you eliminate excuses to remove your butt from its chair.
So what should you put in your Nanowrimo survival kit? Here’s what I try to keep in mine:
1. Snacks/Refreshments. Nanowrimo’s extraordinarily well timed for snacks. Halloween candy is on sale and there’s pumpkin flavored stuff everywhere. If you’re like me, that means you’re in snacker’s heaven. Buy a big box of Halloween chocolates, get some pumpkin spice tea and fill your fridge with pies. It’s also a good idea to get a case of your favourite pop so you don’t have to go thirsty. These things will help you stay happy and inspired–or at least will keep you from being miserable and dehydrated.
2. Paper/pens. It’s always good to have a variety of notebooks, pens and sticky notes in easy reach during November. This way you can take note of turns of phrase you’re especially proud of, jot down new facts about your world and characters, and write down important tasks that you can’t do now but must do later. It also helps to have these things on hand in case you get stuck, so you can brainstorm or free write until the words flow again.
3. Stickers! Stickers are great. They should be kept on hand any time you’re working on a big writing project, and they make a perfect reward during Nanowrimo. Buy yourself some stars, skulls or whatever your favorite kind of sticker is. You might even want to buy different stickers for different goals, say stars for every thousand words and kitten stickers for every ten thousand words, and something completely different for when you finish. Put them on your calendar or somewhere where you’ll see them every day to keep you inspired. Last year, I put a kitten sticker on my laptop for every 5, 000 words. Every time I see my laptop, I’m flooded with happy memories, and that’s just how it should be.
While there are dozens of other things you might include in your Nanowrimo survival kit–effigies of your characters, sculptures representing your personal writing demons, mindless distractions to keep your brain working–the three things I’ve listed here are the essentials. Without these things, you’re likely to spend much of your time uninspired and on unnecessary trips to the store. So get out there today and stock up.