Okay! I’ve gone through NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo several times now, and over the years I’ve thought about all the things I’ll need to make my NaNo train run as smoothly as it possibly can (though we all know it is so very rarely the case!).
Here is a list of the things I will be preparing, and have readily available come July 1st:
- Some piece of technology with a word processor – a netbook, a computer, a typewriter, etc. A fairly obvious start.
- A USB key or some other external device with which you can back up your work. The NaNo store offers a USB bracelet, which is a pretty fantastic idea. I myself will be wearing a USB key around my neck at all times.
- A notebook. This can be used to keep any pre-planning you’ve done, character sheets, outlines, scenes, and random bits of dialogue you’ve brainstormed in advance. It can also be used to keep track of new details or changes as they come up – just jot them down in the notebook (or some sort of text document) and move on with the writing.
- An assortment of colourful pens or sharpies. You could just have one colour, but I like to live life in rainbows, so lots of coloured pens are great. Also good for colour-coding those notes.
- Create some playlists based on themes, or emotions, or scenes you may have thought up ahead of time, and have them ready to play when you jump into writing. If you have an account on youtube, you can set up a ‘favourites’ playlist, and add your music that way if you’re setting it up online. Or, if you don’t feel like making your own, Songza has a selection of pre-made playlists ready for your listening pleasure.
- Easy to eat snack foods – nothing too messy or sticky that will force you to step away from your computer to wash up, or will make your work area dirty. I like dry cereals, like Cheerios, and salty foods like mini-pretzels.
- Hot and cold beverages ready depending on the weather. Something caffeinated is preferable for those late night word wars. Coffee is essential. I’ll also be readying a supply of chai tea, and I make homemade iced frappe/cappuccino/coffee things by blending coffee, ice cubes, milk, sugar and ice cream together.
- A virtual campfire to roast those fictional marshmallows – try this one
- Bottles of water – when the weather is warm you want to keep your body hydrated.
- Index cards, if you’re the visual type. Great for jotting down ideas and moving them around. They can also take the place of the notebook, if you so choose.
- A file, real or digital, of quotes, pictures, magazine clippings – anything you’ve come across that might work to inspire you on a rough day.
- Chocolate. For the emotional moments.
- Your favourite book(s) on writing – the one you will absolutely turn to during those ugly times when your plot and characters run amok, and you’re stuck and don’t know what to do. It happens.
- Post-its. Always have post-its. They can be used for so many things. They are never not an essential.
And finally, if you still haven’t got a story ready for the writing (and of course you really want to have one), check the emergency NaNo preparation post, or a detailed list of plot-related resources to help you get started.