6 NaNoWriMo Writing Day Essentials

Categories Blog, Writer's Life

Well, it is day six of NaNoWriMo, but for me… this is the first day of actual novel writing.

I know, I’m behind. Like, way behind, especially since I know finding time to write the week of Thanksgiving is going to be tricky. But in my defense, November started on a Wednesday, which is my Monday at work, and I was finishing up a contest submission that day, and had to be at work at 2. But I’ve worked it out, and I can still meet the 50,000 word goal, so long as I meet my daily word counts for the next 24 days (4,000 on off days, 2,000 on work days).

So, yeah…piece of cake.

Since today is MY first official day of NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d write a quick post about my tools for success. I’m writing from home today, and I have therefore surrounded myself with some necessities, as well as goodies. Here’s what I need to get through a NaNoWriMo writing day:


This may be a no brainer, but some people still use notebooks for first drafts. I get it. For my short stories I love working with pen and paper. But for my longer works, or I should say my word count sensitive works, I need a computerized writing document. For me, it’s quicker, neater, and easier to fly by the seat of my pants and just upchuck thousands of words in a matter of hours. Also, on November 30 I’m going to have to paste all of those words into the NaNoWriMo website, and I don’t want to be typing up a handwritten novel as the deadline creeps closer.


Ah yes. Caffeine. Today I am enjoying a nice brew of medium roast breakfast blend with raspberry creamer, loaded with a nice scoop of sugar. Not the healthiest concoction, but I’ve realized something: calories don’t count during NaNoWriMo.


Today, it’s Werther’s caramel hard candies. I pop one in as a “reward” after I’ve written two pages, and while I’m pondering the next move in my story I get to enjoy the sweet flavor as it dissolves on my tongue. Again, calories don’t count.


I am constantly cold, so this is essential. I like to huddle in the large, warm confines of a hoodie, pulling it around my head so all I see is cloth and the computer screen. It helps me really disappear and feel at one with my story, keeping out distractions and erasing the need to readjust a blanket around me when I get chilly. Also, I really like looking at my fingertips peeking out of the sleeves as they type away. Odd, right?

Background music

This is part of getting in the cafe writing mood. My favorite place to write is at a coffee shop, but sometimes that’s not possible. So, I turn on some soft songs, keeping the volume low, and it’s a close approximation of my favorite writing environment. Albeit, without the conversations to eavesdrop on…


I’ve been loving Bath & Body Works’ fall-scented candles this season. The one boring right now, Leaves, has a heavenly, November scent to it. You know the one, it doesn’t smell like Christmas, per se, but it’s right in that ball park. It’s a rich, pumpkin-y smell, with a dash of spice and a bit of outside. It reminds me that the holidays are approaching, and after this month I won’t have to think about this novel until 2018, when I’ll begin the second draft. Of course, I have to finish (or in this case start) the first draft now…

So those are my essentials. What are some of the things getting you through this writing month?

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