Camp NaNoWriMo, 2021 – preparation

good morning, cyberspace!

Camp NaNoWriMo is just over a week away, and I am officially starting to panic. Not in an “oh my goodness I’m going to die” kind of way, but an “lol things are happening and I’m not sure if they’re good but YEET LET’S DO THIS ANYWAY” kind of way. It’s honestly very inspiring, and I’m even more excited for April than I was before, which is … saying something.

Aside from panicking about the approaching NaNo, my brain has also decided to start splitting itself away from the projects I’m supposed to be focusing on, and has instead popped a very intriguing, very time-consuming idea into my head. As of right now, it’s still in the very first stages of speculation. I still don’t know when or if or how long it will take to finalize should I continue with it, but I can say that while this new project is exceedingly exciting, I’m forcing myself to keep its progress to a strict minimum in the weeks to come. Most–if not all–of my writing time is currently devoted to Project Goblin, this blog, or writing random short stories for my own sheer amusement. Anything else is simply a distraction.

…or that’s what I’m trying to tell myself, at least.

I definitely did not start a Scapple board two nights ago onto which I’ve started flinging all of my wildest hopes and dreams for this project. Definitely not. (stop looking at me like that, I’m completely fine.)

Anyway, in honor of Camp NaNoWriMo’s ever-quickening approach, I’ve decided to make a list of completely non-writing related things I’d like to accomplish before the first of April! I mentioned in last week’s post that there really wasn’t much to do for Project Goblin prep-wise, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing I can do to mentally prep for NaNo! So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

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camp nanowrimo, 2021 — preparation

one – deep-clean my room

First thing’s first, I’ve been undergoing a deep, DEEP clean of my room lately, and I’d like to get that finished up before Camp NaNo comes. It’s not so much of a “this will help get me in the mindset for writing” kind of thing, but more of an “if I have all of this random stuff-purging done before April, I won’t have any excuses to procrasticlean”. And let me tell you–I am the QUEEN of procrasticleaning.

So the first step on my to-do list is to get all of my random junk tidied up and sorted out! And while I’m sort of half-n-half when it comes to cleaning, I’m actually weirdly excited for this one. I’m really enjoying the purging process, and I feel like once I’m done, I’ll have more of the things I truly enjoy, and less of the stuff that’s simply taking up space.

two – set up my story board

Or, as my writing group fondly dubbed it, my murder board. Essentially, I recently had the grand idea to start plotting out the scenes that still need to be written for Project Goblin–and any editing notes I’m going to be making for Project Sunset–out on my corkboard! My mom gave me a whole stack of neon-colored index cards which are PERFECT for color-coding different stories, and I’m extremely excited to start. Plotting has never gone too well for me in the past, but I think if I leave it open enough, my curious brain will still find nooks and crannies to investigate and pilfer through, which will continue to add a sense of discovery to the writing process which my brain so clearly craves.

three – prepare Project Sunset notebook

In order to start taking notes on Project Sunset, I need to get my notebook ready. I haven’t taken notes on a draft since everlost, and I’ll admit I’m a little bit rusty. But I have some Thoughts on how I want to take notes for this project, and while it may seem a little too advanced for my simpleton of an easily-distracted brain, I’m still choosing to be optimistic about this approach.

I also have a really cute notebook that I used while drafting this book, and MY GOODNESS I’m so excited to use it again… Toting that notebook around literally made me so happy when I was writing Project Sunset, and getting to bust it out again kinda feels like coming home.

four – equip myself with proper work attire

Fun fact: both jobs I’ve held within the past two years had mandated work attire. At Goodwill, I had to wear a bright blue shirt and–for the first 8 or 9 months–khakis. (this later turned into jeans, and my dear goodness it was the most wonderful change) At the coffee shop, I have to wear a store shirt and either a hat, visor, or headband. (I usually choose the hat.) I never really put much thought into mandated work attire other than the typical “huh. I wish I didn’t have to wear this today” kind of thing, but recently….recently I’ve begun to notice something.

The first day you wear your work uniform, you have this weird sense of imposter syndrome. You look at yourself in the mirror and wonder how on earth you managed to hoodwink your employer into hiring you, because holy guacamole you’re underqualified for this position. But then, as you get trained (or, in the case of Goodwill, thrown on the register and wished the best of luck) and begin to learn the ins and outs of the industry, you start to feel this strange sense of belonging when you go to work. You know what you’re doing (kinda), you love what you do and do what you love, and your uniform signifies that. You’re no longer an imposter in a hat. You’re someone who belongs.

And not only that, but for me, personally, I’ve noticed that whenever I’m at work, I have no trouble getting myself to stay dedicated and determined to succeed for my allotted time on the clock. There’s no sense of wanting to procrastinate. There’s no endless scrolling on my phone as soon as there’s a lull in work. Whenever it quiets down and there’s nothing straightforward to be doing, my brain automatically clicks into “find something productive to do” mode.

It shocks people when I tell them I’m a disorganized mess. It boggles their brain meats. Why? Because the person I give to others at work is a complete opposite of the person I give to myself. When I’m working for someone else, I’m committed and “on” at all times. I’m dedicated to my work and am willing to learn and grow and get better with each passing day. When I’m working for myself, I tend to grow stagnant. I tell myself that this pressing thing I’m supposed to be working on can be done tomorrow. I let myself procrastinate. I tell myself deadlines don’t matter.

But spoiler alert: deadlines DO matter. And as someone who hopes to someday be self-employed, I need to start treating my personal deadlines and goals with as much respect as I treat those imposed on me by others.

So I’ve been doing some self-reflection. I’ve been digging a little deeper into my psyche to understand the why’s behind this most confusing jumble of mental blockages. And after much thought and one too many lost staring contests with the floral patterned wall, I realized that there is one significant difference between my days clocked in as a writer and my days clocked in as a barista.

…at the coffee shop, I have a hat.

And it may not seem like much, but I have come to the conclusion that this hat is instrumental in my excellent work ethic. So after some digging, I decided to purchase a writing hat.

It’s coming in the mail on Friday, and I’m going to start wearing it every time I sit down to write.

…I cannot be stopped, peasants.

five – gather and curate my nanowrimo survival kit

Every year, I try to create a survival kit for Ultimate NaNo Success, and every year, I hardly use the things which I so carefully place inside of it. But this year … yeah, this year isn’t going to be any different. But I’m still going to create my survival kit, because GUYS. IT IS FUN.

And if you don’t believe me, you’ve clearly never created your own survival kit, and therefore I urge you to go change this immediately.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be placing inside my Survival Kit this year, but I guarantee it’s going to have some sort of Goblin-esque themed notebook, my USB drive (a must for intense drafting), and an assortment of pens and pencils I shall completely ignore in favor of a random black pen I find in the family pencil basket. (I’ve accidentally stolen a lot of those pens, actually… My apologies to my family members who can never seem to find a normal pen anywhere.)

Also maybe some snacks, my laptop (obviously), and a carefully curated playlist which I will also completely ignore in favor of my work playlist, which is fondly dubbed ’tis but a bop. (I’m so clever, oh my goodness.)

If my survival kit turns out to be something rather noteworthy, I’ll do my best to write a blog post on it! But for right now, I’m gonna stick with a Vague Mention of the thing. XD It really is fun putting these together, though, so seriously. 10/10 recommend creating one for yourself. (and if you DO end up making one, tell me all the things you put inside of it in the comments! I want to hear about others’ survival kits!!)

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talk to me, peasants!

And there you have it–my list of to-do’s to mentally prepare for the gloriousness that is Camp NaNoWriMo! Not listed are the sleepless nights and internal screaming matches between me and the Void, but I figured those were safely implied.

But now it’s your turn! what sorts of things do you do to prepare yourself–physically, mentally, etc.–for NaNoWriMo? do you have any “writing attire” that you wear while writing, or–similarly–any talismans that bring you good luck when writing? what kinds of things do you store in your writerly survival kit? are you participating in Camp NaNo this year, and if not, how can I convince you to change your mind? XD

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below, and until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*


17 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo, 2021 – preparation

  1. I’m really enjoying hearing about your prep/though process approaching Camp/etc.!

    Okay, but #1 is perfect. Procrasticleaning is real. (But also, purging is totally fun. When one is in the correct mood, that is.)

    Cute notebooks are the best!

    Wow, I LOVE your idea for work attire! I’ve never had to wear a uniform for work (*cough* because I’ve had, like, one job ever *cough cough*) but I can absolutely see how a writing uniform would be motivating!

    I had never heard of NaNo survival kits, but I love that idea! (I have a weakness for kits. I’m not sure why. I just do.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my goodness, thank you so much!! XD These posts were really fun to write, and EVENTUALLY I’d like to make it through a whole Camp without disappearing off the face of the blogosphere. Unfortunately, all the writing of books makes it rather difficult to write BLOGS, but I digress. Someday it will happen. XD

      UGH, you are so lucky!! Both jobs I’ve held require uniforms, and neither one has been exactly “cute”. But I’m honestly in love with my writing hat, even if I don’t wear it quite as much as I probably should. XD

      OH MY GOODNESS, SAME!!! Kits are honestly my FAVORITE things. I have no clue why. And also the word ‘kit’ just makes me inexplicably happy inside. XD


  2. This looks like SUCH a fantabulous plan of action!!! Just ALL of it! I love that you’re doing a deep cleaning. Not only is it super motivating to write when everything is organized, but procrasticleaning is REAL. Oh goodness, yes! So you are brilliant getting rid of any means of procrasticleaning. XD

    I’ve never had to wear work attire before but…WOW! That is fascinating and makes SO. MUCH. SENSE. I see a lot of people say to write in the same place and spot and even with one specific candle to kind of get our brains to accept it’s “writing time”. But I’ve never heard anyone suggest having “work clothes” for writing time. :O BRILLIANCE. PURE BRILLIANCE.

    I’ve also never done a NaNo survival kit! Well, not a physical one. I have digital ones, I suppose, where I have all my plot notes and playlist and everything together. But just having a box of useful NaNo survival items is absolute genius. I need to try this sometime!

    Basically, ALL of this is genius and you’re totally inspiring me to try some of this. You are gonna do amazing, girl! YOU GOT THIS!!! *sends motivational cookies*


    • Okay, but I’m so glad that other people have experienced procrasticleaning!!! It’s super nice when my room is in desperate need of help, but when I’m supposed to be drafting a novel … eh, not so much. XD

      See, I ADORE the idea of having a specific candle to burn when it comes time to write!!! (I’m a sucker for a good candle, and I particularly enjoy anything scented like cinnamon or vanilla. XD) But unfortunately, candles are harmful to birds, so we can’t burn them at my house. Durachi’s sense of smell is super intense, and therefore the scent of candles or any harsh chemicals could actually hurt him. And his safety is far more important than candles to me, so hats it is. XD

      OOOH. VIRTUAL SURVIVAL KITS. I love this!!! Most of my survival stuff gets stuffed into my backpack (which is technically a case for my laptop, but comes with many different pockets and secret pouches for snacks and notebooks and writing utensils [the thing is super heavy at this point. XD]), and I just sort of tote the whole thing around with me wherever I happen to be writing. It’s super helpful having all of that on hand, though, because then I’m not searching for my blog notebook or my writing notebook and wondering where I put it–it’s all just right there at my side! (also is it weird that I’m jealous of your plot notes? As someone who struggles with plot, this sounds quite wonderful. XD)

      MEEP! Oh my goodness, thank you, Christine!!! Coming out on the other side of April now, I didn’t do quite as well as I wanted, but alas. I’m proud of the work I DID accomplish, and that’s enough for me….for now. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. XD


  3. Listen: it is VERY GOOD to fling ideas at scapple boards! That’s how you make sure you don’t forget anything while you’re off fiddling with different projects.

    Also the hat idea is GENIUS. INSPIRED. CANNOT FAIL.


  4. Oh my gosh I LOVE the name of your work playlist XD

    I think you’re TOTALLY onto something about the whole uniform/hat thing. It makes total sense….I think that’s why I like to keep so consistent on where and when I write, and what music I listen to. Something about doing something ONLY when you’re writing just helps set the tone so much….

    Good luck on Camp NaNo!!! (I’m not doing it this year, but I am currently editing so I will stand in solidarity with you there)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, THANK YOU. XD People at work question my sanity, I do believe. XD

      Yes!!! This exactly!!! I think it really helps set a tone for your writing day. And recently–though this absolutely PAINS me to even think it–I’ve discovered that writing without music actually helps me write. It’s a terrifying epiphany, but one that has produced many thousands of words within the past three days. XD

      Thank you so much!! Camp went….oddly. XD But I’m excited to keep writing my book! And OOOH. EDITING!!! That part of writing is so so much fun. Unless, of course, you suddenly get a plot bunny and you wish more than anything to be first drafting again. (Goodness, why can’t I just enjoy whichever stage of writing I’m in at the moment??? XD)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. yeeeeah the week before Camp is when the inspiration turns on… not “how do I get out of this plot hole” inspiration, though, only “oOOO SHINY NEW IDEA” inspiration xD

    Deep cleaning is actually really fun, right?? (And having big bags of stuff to go to an op shop is just a great feeling!)

    Your plotting/notes/notebooky system sounds so cool! (I wish I could plot! ahaha!) And cute notebooks are SO MOTIVATING AND HAPPY.

    And your comments on employment!! The feelings of hoodwinking your employer into hiring you! Getting thrown onto the counter! (wait, not… not literally tho…) These are very very relateable xD

    …..and I should have seen the hat coming, shouldn’t I. xD “I’ve been digging a little deeper into my psyche and realized… I need a hat.” WHAT DOES YOUR HAT LOOK LIKE, THOUGH, YOU MUST SHARE. (Is it a Moriarty crown, Kenzie. xP)

    And I haven’t ever had a survival kit… obviously this must be why NaNo does not do as much for me as for some people. I WILL MAKE A KIT. I have… one day? One day! I will do this! (*curls up in the corner with an insane kind of laugh*)


    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh, it REALLY IS. And it’s ANNOYING. But at least I have some cool new ideas, yes? XD

      I do not know what an op shop is, but if it’s anything like a Goodwill or thrift store, YES. This exactly!! XD And knowing that I now have more room in my room to fill up with (stuff) creativity is simply the best feeling in the whole world. XD

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I DO NOT PLOT, DEAR BEAN. I simply throw words at a wall and see if they form some coherent structure. (hint: they do not.)

      Personally, I still feel like I did some weird Jedi Voodoo to get my current employers to hire me. I had literally no coffee experience at ALL when I started, and I’m genuinely curious why they thought I of all people would make a good fit for their business. XD

      I WISH it was a Moriarty Crown!!! Unfortunately, it is just a denim hat that says “writer.” on it in typewriter font, but I SHALL HAVE TO FIND A PICTURE AND SEND IT TO YOU. (also of course there are nothing but hats in the deep recesses of my psyche. hats all the way down.)

      LOL EVEN MY SURVIVAL KIT COULD NOT SAVE ME THIS NANO. But I digress. They’re fun to make, at least, even if this year it wasn’t entirely helpful. XD


  6. Ooh, I’ve never made a survival kit for any nano-event. Maybe that’s why I usually fail so miserably at it. I don’t usually do much in the way of prepping at all… LOL I tend to love the IDEA of nano, but not the actual practice. I’ll be feverishly working on editing Mantles of Oak and Iron this coming month, though, so I’ll definitely be quasi-participating.

    I love your hat idea! You must take a picture of it when you get it!

    Best wishes on your camp writings!


    • Tbh, it seems like the years when I DO make a survival kit, I always fail even harder than normal. XD Okay, but lately I’ve been doing rather horribly at NaNoWriMo, and I’m wondering if maybe this season of life is just…not conducive to that kind of writing? Like I LOVE the excitement and energy and passion surrounding the event, but I’m finding that most of my writing–and some of my BEST writing–is coming more from the quiet days of writing in between work and Life stuff and not fretting over a nearly 2k a day wordcount. I’m worried that I may be growing away from NaNo, but to be honest, if my writing is better for it–and I’m more sane because of it–then I suppose I’m okay with it?

      MEEP! I will definitely have to share a photo!! It’s such a cute hat! (I think you’ll love it!)

      Meep! Thank you so much, Jenelle!!! <333


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