Whether you’re a NaNo virgin or veteran, you’ll start to see that every participant in NaNoWriMo has their own special list of tools and supplies to get through the month. Whether it’s copious amounts of coffee, lucky socks, or the exact same tea mug the entire month long, as you go through NaNoWriMo, you’ll find your must-haves and your must-have-nots.
Today, I’m sharing my tools of the NaNo trade. These are the tools I swear by to not only finish NaNoWriMo, but finish with little stress, plenty of style, and with my wits intact.
1 – Tea
I’m not a coffee drinker. Tried it, and I just didn’t get hooked. But tea…is a whole other story. I’ve been hooked for ages and not a day goes by that I don’t have several cups a day. Whether it’s Earl Grey in the morning, Sleepytime in the evening, or one of my favorite herbals in the mid-day, I almost always have a cup of tea in my hand.
And of course, like most things, this habit becomes even more essential during November. My general practice is to get up early and write in the mornings before I start my day and go to work. I love early mornings for a lot of reasons, but here in chilly, rainy, gray Oregon, there’s nothing like the perfect background music, a cup of tea, and my new story streaming from my fingers to make my writer heart happy.
And what are my favorite teas, you might ask? In no particular order:
2 – Story Notebook
I have a specific notebook for every NaNoWriMo I participate in. This helps keep ideas in one place, without losing sticky notes or ideas, and it allows me to write down a plot idea or new character, without going on a rabbit trail away from my main story. I love these notebooks with a passion…they don’t have too many pages, and if I don’t use the whole thing, they have a handy separator in the middle so I can use them the following year for another project.
3 – Planner
I wouldn’t be half as productive as I am without my planner. It allows me to schedule out my week so I know when I’ll have time to write and it gives me a place to check off my writing each day so I can track my progress. I’m using one of the ban.do planners this year and love it.
4 – Google Drive
I bounce back and forth between writing in Microsoft Word and writing in Google Drive. Both have pros and cons, but Google Drive is slowly winning out. Not only can I write anywhere that has wifi (and even without it on my iPad!), but my writing is always backed up to the cloud. So if something happens to my computer (which is a good chance considering how old it is) my writing is protected and I don’t have to worry about losing important stories.
I couldn’t get through a NaNoWriMo without their writing sprints. When I’m lacking motivation or inspiration, their Twitter feed is the BEST boost to get writing and get my word count done for the day!
6 – Word Count Calendar
I LOVE having a monthly calendar to track my word count. I’ve mentioned before how I like to front-load my word count for the month. Not only does it help me finish on time, but it allows me to give myself a break halfway through the month. And there’s even space to cross or check off the day, so I can see my progress.
And the best news is: I’ve made a word count calendar for you to use during NaNoWriMo! It’s in the fabulous, brand new Writer’s Library. Get access when you sign up for my weekly newsletter and download the word count calendar. It will truly help you get through NaNo in one piece.
7 – Pinterest
What would any writer do without Pinterest? Whether I need a kick in the butt to get writing, a plot or dialogue idea, or just want to read an inspiring quote, Pinterest is where I turn. But I give myself a restriction: no more than 5 minutes per writing period. This enables me to find what I need quickly, without going down the black hole that is Pinterest.
What are the things you absolutely need for NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear in the comments!