PREPTOBER 2021 – My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: Rebel Edition

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.

veggie tales reaction s GIF
Ah, Archibald coming at us once again with stunning words of wisdom.

>>> <<<


i. Greg

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!

special thanks to my mom, who–when asked if I could steal her phone for a random photo shoot one fine Friday afternoon–didn’t even bat an eye. she just gave me her phone and was like “yeah, here!” thank you for putting up with my oddness, mom. XD <3

iv. candy

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.

i dont think so the incredibles GIF

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 *


10 thoughts on “PREPTOBER 2021 – My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: Rebel Edition

  1. Yaaaay it’s your survival kit! I love these so much. *shimmies in desk chair* I just really love kits, what can I say?

    I. Still. Need. To. Name. My. Laptop. Cannot believe I haven’t done that yet. XD I love all the stickers on Greg!!

    “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.” << Absolutely same. My bujo is the least aesthetic thing ever, and I love it dearly. XD

    I…need project specific notebooks. That's brilliant.

    Candy. Yussssss. (I'm trying to…somewhat limit my intake. But. If I end up doing NaNo…which is up in the air rn by a long shot…I will need it. XD)

    A gameplan. For a second draft. Yeah. Uh-huh. All of that.

    Inspiration hacks are brilliant idea!!


    • Okay, but I LOVE writing these things. XD I know they become a little standard as the years go by, but like…it’s still just so much fun to refresh it every year. XD DUDE SAME!!! I’m trying to devour any sort of NaNo kit I can find right now!

      EEP! YES! Please name your laptop! And then tell me what you named it, because Greg needs friends. XD (maybe he’ll stop taking all of his lonely aggression out on me if he had some friends. XD)

      Wait really??? This makes me so happy to know I’m not alone! XD I’ve seen SO many bujo’s that are GORGEOUS. But mine is…decidedly not. But! I still love it and use it nearly every single day!

      Okay but same. XD Too much candy IS a thing. But NaNo is absolutely an exception to this rule! XD During the crazy, sleep-deprived writing sessions, we need all the chocolate we can get!

      Thank you so so much for reading, Samantha! Your comments are always so kind!!! <3333


    • Oh my!! Thank you so much!! I love taking photos of notebooks. I just wish I had more places to take photos! XD Eep, thank you! I’m so excited to listen to it on endless loop again. Not gonna lie, that was a highlight of first drafting Project Sunset.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. EEEEEP. I’ve been anticipating this post and ALL the preptober goodness you’ll be sharing with us! :D

    I absolutely LOVE how you put together a physical NaNo survival kit. I think that’s just BRILLIANT and so fun and motivating too! Greg is just the best and his stickers are so perfect I can’t even. <3 It makes me smile every time you share a picture of him and his sticker-ridden glory. Candy and/or any means of caffeine are DEFINITELY a given. Pretty much the only thing I HAVE to have a stock of for NaNo is plenty of caffeinated drinks. XD Hey, you do what you go to do. And it occurred to me while reading this…maybe they put NaNo in November because then everyone will have a big ol' stack of candy since it starts the day after Halloween??? I've always wished it was a different month but NOW IT'S ALL MAKING SENSE.

    I giggled at you mentioning stealing your mom's phone for a photoshoot because I'VE DONE THE SAME. At this point my family doesn't bat an eye when I roam the house randomly stealing knick-knacks or asking to borrow weird things. They know I'm simply stocking up on IG photos. XD Ah, the things we do for social media.

    And YES to plotting for a second draft. I loooove pantsing for a first draft, but revisions? Noooo. Gotta know exactly what I need to work on and write. I totally feel you there and I think it's awesome you'll be adding that to your survival kit this year. :D

    Okay but having some inspirational hacks on hand is GENIUS and just– !!! YES. I need to brainstorm some because I LOVE THIS.

    I adored ALL your thoughts about a support group. SO SO TRUE. And I feel so utterly blessed to have YOU as one of my dear writing buddies. I would totally pack you into my own survival kit if I could! Or sneak into yours. *grins*

    This was just amazing and so inspiring and has made me even MORE excited about NaNo! WOOT. LET'S DO THIS THING!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m 100% on board with it being in November because of the influx of Halloween candy! It’s the only reasonable explanation for why they made it during one of the craziest, busiest months of the year! XD (I feel like a better time for National Novel Writing Month would have been January. Or February. OR MARCH. But I digress!) ALSO. Caffeinated drinks are a MUST. If we’re running off 3 hours of sleep, we need something to keep us awake! Or… ya know. Slightly sane. XD

      My mom is legit my hero. XD I have asked her for SO many random oddments! And usually I can rope her into helping me take the photos, too, which is honestly the best thing ever. XD

      MEEP! I’m not alone! Plotting is such a new beast for me to tackle, but I’m absolutely LOVING it so far! I honestly can’t wait for NaNo to start so I can start digging into my new revisions!

      OH MY GOODNESS. But legit same!!! I will absolutely sneak into your survival kit!!! That would make my LIFE. (and eep! I’m so so blessed to have you in my support group, too! You have been such a blessing to my life, Christine! I truly adore you!)

      EEP! WE GOT THIS!!! *raises pencil like a spear and charges forward*


  3. I still have not picked out a nano project or even decided if I’m going to do nanowrimo? I should probably get on that. Aside from fanfic, I haven’t really been hyperfixating on any writing projects lately, so I’m not sure if I should do it or not? Idk, I’m waffling at the moment.

    That’s so true about a support group! I’m really lucky to have a sister who writes and is willing to listen to me rant about my writing, I don’t know what I’d do without that, lol!

    Good luck with Nanowrimo! Also your project notebook is so PRETTY

    Liked by 1 person

    • MWEEP! You should DEFINITELY do NaNo with us, Becky! JOIN THE CHAOS! JOIN THE CREATIVITY! JOIN THE POTENTIAL FOR EXISTENTIAL DREAD!!! It’s gonna be so much fun! XD But I also understand not being certain on which project to choose! I’m lucky in the fact that I knew exactly what I wanted to work on this year, but in year’s past, I was….not so certain. XD (and that provided quite a bit of waffling over projects!)

      Awww! That’s so sweet that your sister writes, too!!! That must be an incredible relationship to have!

      MEEP! Thank you SO much!! I’m super excited to dive into this book again! And aw! Thank you! I found it at Hobby Lobby!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your pictures are so pretty!!! I love them!!!

    Your idea of inspiration hacks is brilliant. I’ve been kinda bored and tired with my project, so… I need to find some. 🙄.

    Also genius – project specific notebooks. My notes are sprinkled throughout like four notebooks, which is a pain when trying to find *the thing*. I should get me one.

    And yes! All the candy!!! (And black tea, which is all that keeps me from becoming a zombie at times)

    And Greg makes me so happy. My best friend/writing buddy has a Chromebook covered in stickers, so it (he?) reminded me of her. Speaking of which, writing friends are the literal best.

    And eep! I’m so excited for your Behind the Scenes of your playlist post! I’m always up for finding new music, as well as learning about your book.

    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eep! Thank you!!

      Oh goodness, I can absolutely relate to this! I have a feeling that there are definitely going to be moments where I’m just DONE with my project next month, so I’m taking care in the now to prepare myself mentally for when those moments arrive!

      UGH YES! This was exactly why I decided to start using project specific notebooks! I had so many notebooks filled with so many notes about so many different writing projects, and it was just…a mess. XD So this was a relatively recent revelation (my past two drafts), and it has legit helped me SO. MUCH.

      YES!!! Yes to ALL of this! (and meep! I’m so glad that Greg makes you happy! He makes me smile whenever I look at him and all his little stickers. XD)

      Eep! Thank you so much for this sweet comment! I’m so excited to be able to share more about this project with you all!! <33

      Liked by 1 person

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