good morning, cyberspace!
It’s that time of year again, folks! NaNoWriMo is on its way, and for our first Preptober 2021 post, we’re bringing back a yearly tradition! That’s right! It’s time for this year’s NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: Rebel Edition!
honestly the only reason I’m claiming my rebel title this year is because it reminds me of the Rebel Alliance. do NOT judge me. XD
This year’s survival kit is a wee bit different than years’ past since I’m revising a novel rather than first drafting it, but there are definitely some familiar staples I’ve included! Also, I’ve been trying to fit most of this stuff into my writing bag, and it’s… kinda chunky at this point? Almost back-breaker level chunky. I definitely will not have a hunch by the time this NaNoWriMo is over from hauling this guy all over the place. Absolutely not.
THE 2021 NANOWRIMO SURVIVAL KIT: REBEL EDITION
First and foremost, we have the legendary, the inescapable, the formidable GREG!
(yes, my laptop is named after Greg Lestrade. no, I have no shame, thank you for asking.)
Greg is a little over a year old now, and he’s honestly holding up SUPER well for a relatively cheap laptop. Sometimes he glitches and makes me want to pull my hair out, but for the most part, he’s a good boy. He’s also filled with all the stickers my friends and family have given me over the past year, and just looking at him is enough to fill me with immense joy.
This bad boy is where all the magic happens. It’s where I store all my stories, where I create my outlines and take notes on chapter development. He is the brain behind the operation, the Robin to my Batman, the Jekyll to my Hyde. At the end of the day, I’d be lost without him.
ii. a notebook (or two or three or four)
I love notebooks. They’re kind of like an obsession of mine, and the best way to weasel your way into this writer’s heart is by giving me shiny new notebooks to hoarde like the dragonette that I am. I have quite a few notebooks that I use during the drafting process, and if I don’t have at least ONE on hand at any given moment when working on my project, I consider myself a trainwreck.
The most-used notebook I have is my bullet journal, which has somehow transformed into less an object of beauty and amusement, and more a scribbled out mess of statistics and deadlines. And, weirdly enough, this is how it works for me. I’ve never been very artistic with a pen, but to-do lists and deadlines and progress charts is where it’s at for me.
The second notebook that I use quite often is my Project Specific notebook. Every book I write has its own notebook, whether it wants one or not. This is where I go to brainstorm when I’m not finding the right inspiration with Greg, or where I end up drafting a chapter or two if I’m out and about or need a change of pace from staring at a screen for five hours. Project Sunset’s notebook has been so well-loved that it’s currently falling apart at the spine, but like… it’s fine. It’ll probably survive another draft or two, right? XD
iii. a project specific playlist
This one is a staple across all my NaNo survival kits, I feel like, but I NEED music if I’m going to write. Sometimes I prefer silence (it’s a weird sensation when this comes on, but alas. sometimes the quiet helps me process better), but nine times out of ten, music helps me focus. Thankfully, the playlist for Project Sunset is pretty much already completed and ready to go since I created it during the first drafting stage, but I’ll probably be adding more songs to it throughout the next couple months. For right now, though–and for anyone interested–this is the playlist as it currently stands!
I also have a whole blog post scheduled for the 19th that goes over some Behind The Scenes aspects of this particular playlist! So if you’re interested in learning more about the song selections and which songs belong to who, be sure to come back in two weeks to find out more about this track!
Look, I don’t claim to be a perfect person. There’s a lot in my life that is less than sub-par. But if there’s one thing I’m confident in, it is that no NaNoWriMo is complete without an inundating amount of candy–preferably of the Halloween variety.
(preferably stolen from trick-or-treaters)
I mean, you can definitely TRY to win NaNoWriMo without candy. You can certainly do your best to reach your goals whilst not consumed in a sugary coma. But are you actually going to enjoy yourself? Are you REALLY going to count the month as a win?
I think not, my friend. I think NOT.
v. a gameplan
Fun fact about writing a second draft: you kinda have to know how you want this new version of the story to go. First drafting as a plantser is all fun and games with the discovery writing, but once you hit that second draft, you better know where your story is going, or you’ll just end up with a brand new first draft all over again.
Whether it’s a hard outline, a soft list of bullet-points, or even just a mild idea, having a gameplan for how you want to tackle the second draft is essential to a productive revision–which is why I like to have an outline on hand at all times!
(said no pantser ever)
Okay, okay, I know that in the past I’ve stuck my tongue out at outlines. I’ve worn my Plantser Badge proudly for years now, and it’s a wee bit terrifing to be switching over to the dark side. BUT.
they have cookies. I’ve finally seen the light, y’all. Or… the dark? (idk, man, this metaphor is getting confusing.) Far be it from me to try and sway any Pantser over to the Plotting Ways, but goodness gracious I’m having a blast with it for this second draft.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be good at outlining a first draft, but I know for a fact that when it comes to second drafts, having an outline is ESSENTIAL for me. So once this Re-Outline is done, it’s going directly into my Survival Kit for easy–and frequent–access.
vi. Dr. Pepper. a LOT of Dr. Pepper.
Despite the fact that I work at a coffee shop, my caffeine kick comes from none other than my favorite man in the medical field–Dr. Pepper.
NaNoWriMo hasn’t even started and I’m already dragging, so I’m not even joking when I say that the majority of my stamina right now is coming from copious amounts of Dr. Pepper and pure determination. XD We’ll see how far I get before crashing into a sugar coma, but currently I’m riding the waves of stubbornness and have no plan to back down any time soon.
vii. my hatt
A returning friend from my Camp NaNoWriMo posts! I’ve been wearing my WRITER. hatt to work a lot lately, and let me tell ya, friends: it has been helping me immensely. Not only is it super cute, but it also doesn’t give me as many headaches as some of the other hats I’ve tried to wear on the daily. I’m pretty sure this is going to be the hat I wear to work every single day in November, because having the word WRITER stapled to my forehead is definitely going to help keep me in the creative mood for when I can get home and write. XD
viii. inspiration hacks
Okay, friends. If you take anything away from my Survival Kit, take away this one: having an inspiration hack is mandatory to succeeding in NaNoWriMo. (notice how I didn’t say “winning”? yep. that’s gonna come into play later.) Take it from someone who has failed NaNoWriMo multiple times, and also WON NaNoWriMo
two multiple times. If you don’t have something to fall back on when you’re dragging, if you push and push and push and never give yourself time to refill your creative tank every once in a while, you’re going to crash, you’re going to burn, and you’re eventually going to have to recover.
And recovering from burnout is not where we want to be, friends.
So trust me when I tell you to get yourself an Inspiration Hack. This can be literally anything: a favorite movie, a walk in the rain, a cozy book, a mug of strawberry milk on your front porch, talking to your plants, eating a cookie… anything. Whatever it is, make it something that refills your creative tank, and make it something that you don’t overuse.
For me, my Inspiration Hacks for the next two months are going to be my favorite TV show, Sherlock (used as a reward for hitting chapter goals, of course), cinnamon tea (because I have like 3 boxes of it at this point and I have no clue where it came from because I don’t drink tea that often??), and my NaNoWriMo inspiration Pinterest board (which I shall be creating here shortly. XD)! I also plan on taking walks if/when I can and enjoying the crisp autumn weather at every available opportunity. There’s something beautiful about this time of year that always seems to boost my creativity, and letting myself soak in all of the fall goodness is sure to keep my spirits up, no matter how crazy hectic the next two months promise to be.
And now, last but never the least, the final thing in my NaNoWriMo 2021 Survival Kit is…
ix. a steady support group
Okay, not gonna lie, I couldn’t fit this one in my bag. ’tis a shame, honestly, because I was REALLY hoping to get at least one human soul trapped within my writing bag, but alas. All things work for the best and all that…
So I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: my family is forever and always the steadiest support group I’ll ever have. They know when I need to slow down and rest, they know when I’m just being lazy and need a push in the right direction (which is more often than I’d like to admit. XD), and they’re the absolute biggest supporters of my writing and my dreams. I’d literally be lost without them, and since I know that the next two months are going to be packed with long days and far too short nights (hello, commitments), I have a feeling I’ll be leaning on them a lot over the next few weeks.
Aside from my incredible family, I also have my writer friends to get me through all my late-night scribbling sessions! Not everyone is going to understand your writing or how much it means to you. Not everyone is going to be as supportive of you as you are of them. So take it from personal experience from another writer that–if you want to survive the panic and stress that is NaNo–you’re gonna need some writing friends. Those insane individuals who are just enough mental to undergo NaNoWriMo with you. And if you don’t have a set of Writer Friends already, I would highly recommend scoping out the NaNoWriMo forums, as well as check out some writing groups over on Facebook or Instagram or wherever it is you typically hang on the cyberwebs. There are SO many other writers out there with similar stories or beliefs as you, and it’s never a bad idea to try and make connections. (honestly, it’s one of the coolest things about being a writer.)
So get yourself a support system. Let them know you may or may not descend into the realms of Insanity at any given moment during the month of November (and possibly October, lol). And if they try to schedule an intervention to keep you from falling overboard… listen to them.
talk to me, peasants!
And that’s it for my 2021 NaNoWriMo Survival Kit! I absolutely love making these things. i don’t even know why, since they’re pretty standard year after year. But y’all. It is SO much fun stockpiling all the things you could ever want for a writing session into one bag. XD I cannot stress that enough.
But anyway! Let’s get to the questions!
how has your preptober been going? do you feel confident in the novel you’re going to be writing for November, or do you prefer to figure out the nitty gritty details a little closer to Halloween? and SPEAKING of Halloween… are you doing anything particularly spooky-fun this month alongside your NaNoWriMo prep? It’s a yearly tradition in my family to pick and carve pumpkins, and I’m hoping that this year we’re able to visit a corn maze! (I love corn mazes. I’m obsessed.)
As always, let’s talk about ALL of the October-ish things down below! And until next time…
* flings cookies in the air and disappears *