nanowrimo, writing

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit


So, it’s November the twelfth, which makes us just under halfway through NaNoWriMo.

How are you getting on?

I’ve been pretty lousy so far — I’ve not even been tracking on the site — bit I’ve just not been in the mood, so I’ve been catching up on a lot of reading instead.

Still, this week I thought I would share with you my NaNoWriMo survival kit: all the things that I personally find really helpful when I’m stuggling to write. Maybe some of these things will be useful to you? Maybe these are just weird things I use? Either way, hopefully, it’ll be interesting.


  • My laptop. I don’t do a lot of writing by hand. I did one year — I wrote my whole project by hand and I did enjoy it — but it’s just not sustainable for me personally. I can never read my own handwriting when I go back to it.
  • On my laptop, my favourite programme for compiling writing is Scrivener. That’s where I organise all writing from the day. When I’m out and about, I sync up my devices to Word online, so I also use the website version of that to transfer over to Scrivener. While I’m online, I also have a Pinterest page set up with any reference material or just visual inspiration for the project I’m working on.
  • Next, I have my bullet journal. I have a grid page for tracking my word count over the course of the month. I do really like the graph the NaNoWriMo website creates as you go but I also like to keep track for myself.
  • I usually have at least one notebook. Even though I no longer write by hand, I do tend to jot some things down if they seem a little more complicated, or if a scene has a lot of action going on which I want to get organised in my head. I find that a lot easier to scribble by hand and then refer back to as I’m writing.
  • I have my outline typed up and broken down into scenes. It’s printed out onto A4 paper so that I can score it out and mark it up as I go along. It’s not a massively complicated outline — I usually have a bullet point or two per scene. For this project, I’ve only done the first half of the story (which is really all I expected to get through for NaNoWriMo). Once I get to that point I’ll flesh out the ideas I have for the second half.
  • My phone and fold-up Bluetooth keyboard. I love to have this in my bag for heading down to my local coffee shop or if I take the train somewhere.
  • Coffee shops are my favourite place to write though, hence the collapsible coffee cup. I don’t tend to drink a lot of coffee in the house, but I really love sitting in shops and I get a lot more done than I do at home. I usually get another one to go on the way out, on the way to work.
  • Then I’ve got a bundle of pens and highlighters, just in case I need to make notes or stick something onto my outline for later on, or something I want to remember when I go back to edit.
  • Lastly, a pair of fingerless gloves. My hands get cold really easily so I don’t want that distracting me while I’m typing.


What absolute essential do you have in your writing survival kit?

18 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Survival Kit”

  1. I’m also behind on NaNo this year, but I knew I would be because I’m writing by hand this year. (Something different, plus I wanted to give it a real try to write an entire novel longhand. Still not sure I’ll finish it this way, but so far so good.) I am farther behind than I expected, though. Life has been getting in the way. Like it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kudos for trying to handwrite! I really loved how freeing it was but my handwriting went to hell as i thought faster and wrote slower. 😊 Absolutely best of luck for your writing this month! Mind if I ask what yiur writng (genre etc)?


      1. Thanks! I love writing with my fountain pens, so I thought this was a good excuse to use them. I find that I often do a better job of ignoring my internal editor if I hand-write, since editing is harder than it is on the computer.

        This year’s NaNoNovel is a paranormal fantasy with a working title of Doctors & Daemons. I’m just having fun writing it, and that’s something I’ve needed for a while.


  2. Hallo, Hallo Louise!! 🙂

    I started off thinking I was going to do Nano this year and then, right after the first few days switched gears – you may or may not have seen my tweets and blog post *disappear* out of the blue – I’m waiting for something to arrive by Post before I can reveal what I’m doing instead – honestly, when I returnt to the Nano environment it just wasn’t what I had remembered from 10 yrs ago. A lot has changed – but also, with my health still kicking me in the head and life (as others have said) getting in the way, I decided to roll-back my goals and take an easier route back into my writing life.

    Of the must-haves you’ve listed –

    I love my computer for typing out my manuscripts – even though one day I want to shift to using vintage retrofitted typewriters. I actually used a typewriter when I first started writing as a teenager and I miss the feel of the keys and the fact, I had an instant hardcopy of my words/story.

    Notebooks are dear to me as well. You can organise your thoughts, plot your scenes or just do character sketches to help you fuell what your imagining for your story into your writing hours. I don’t do a lot of this ahead of time – I like to work on this as I evolve through a story. There are always random notes though or research markers or things we think of that might be beneficial to the story at hand. Notebooks are awesome!


    Things you hadn’t mentioned:

    * library card(s) – for wicked research!!
    * vintage typewriter, ribbons and paper
    * thesaurus and dictionary (print versions not digital)
    * World Baby Name Book – for sorting out characters, and their birthname histories
    * Spotify | Radio | CDs – my writing always has a soundtrack
    * tea, loads of tea with hot chai on the side

    The rest I play by ear,… except for what is arriving by Post!! (laughs)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only started NaNo a few years ago, but I remember seeing references to it in the fanfic community years and years (and years) ago. I’d imagine it’s changed massively in ten years,

      I’m both incredibly impressed and incredibly jealous of your typewriter. I played about on my dads when I was very, very little (pre-desktop PC) but I’m 100% sure I’d never have the patience to use one now for anything more than a letter. I’d stress myself out far too much! It would make me feel like a “proper” writer though. And being able to really see the pages build up must be awesome! I also used to love just browsing my mum’s baby name book, but now I just use websites for that.

      Your new projects sounds so mysterious and interesting — I look forward to seeing what’s coming in the post!


      1. Hallo, Hallo Louise,

        Ooh dear my — wells, when it comes to typewriters, the beauty of it for me is the pacing – you can really feel a difference in your articulation of creating a story on a typewriter vs a computer. A computer has a methodology for speed and of course, being a computer, you can have a myriad sea of distractions – when your on a typewriter, its you, the story and the words. You can take a more leisure approach to how those words are transmorphed to the page and as you said, the pages themselves are right there for you to see and tangibly connect too. (my favourite part tbh!)

        I definitely would like to use typewriters to compose postal letters in the future – definitely a goal of mine! Plus, I do dream of participating in the #typosphere eventually which is where you ‘type’ your blog posts rather than the way we regularly post our posts.

        Yes, I know — I’ve been wandering round the Etymology websites myself – but there is something I ache for in books vs tech all the time… I still research loads through libraries rather than hoppin’ in the void of the internet even though for some reference points, I do use the searches esp if I want to see something visual or to have a launch point of where to take my research.

        It should be soon… the post was delayed but I’m hoping it will arrive by mid-to-late this week as I’d love to put the post together before December!! Ahh, what a lovely compliment! It is lovely to be mysteriously interesting at times! Ha!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh wow! If you don’t mind me asking, how exactly does the typeosphere work? I’m really intrigued (read: nosy. Haha!) Do you tape up your blog posts and then scan them to publish online? Or are they merely for your own personal sense of satisfaction? Or is there some other way that the posts are distributed? Sorry, I’ve never heard of such a thing, and it’s really interesting.


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