Friday, October 21, 2016

My NaNoWriMo Survival Guide (Tips, Tricks, Netflix, & Resources!)

Hello all my fellow readers! Today, I thought that since November is right around the corner, some of you guys out there might be preparing for a little something called NaNoWriMo. I've been lucky enough to have participated in the past three NaNoWriMo sessions since 2014 and even decided to join in on Camp NaNo this summer, both sessions in April and July, and I had SO MUCH fun and plan on doing Camp NaNo again next summer! Anyhoo, even though NaNoWriMo is a ton of fun for writers wanting to get those stories in their head onto paper. it can be a little bit stressful for newbies and 'experienced' NaNoWriMo participants. I should know, I feel like I'm LOSING MY MIND just preparing for November.

Whether you're a pantser like me or a plotter, we all really want to write the stories that we feel need to be written down even if we keep them only for ourselves or hope to go through the publishing process. Whatever your goals, it's always nice to prepare yourself for a long month of writing and try something new to keep the creativity flowing throughout the month. 

I myself will be trying out a more outlined approach to my writing but I'll also be winging it half the time. I think by outlining the basics, I'll be able to keep my story in check while also having some freedom to be creative while hitting on the points I want to cover in my story. Because of this new approach, I've been doing quite a lot of research when it comes to how to outline effectively and found quite a number of tips, tricks, and resources that I would love to share with you all that I think might help whenever you get into a bit of a writing rut. So, if you're ready to tackle all of the writing things this coming November, venture onto the tips like the WRITING WARRIOR you are! 

(I've had a lot of coffee this morning. I apologize.)



I think one of the most important things to do in November or in preparation for the writing month, is to PLAN. Whether you're making notes in your planners, agendas, calendars or only planning out time for your writing every day,  it's so important to at least have a plan set in place so that it grounds you and keeps you from procrastinating because we're all guilty of putting things off for any reason at all. My excuse is Netflix. 

Down below I've added in some videos that will help you to plan out your novel, your time, or just your life in general. Whether you have a busy month ahead of you because of school, work, or other hobbies you want to continue to do, hopefully these videos will be able to help you manage your time in order to get all your work done! 




Whether you already are a huge fan of outlining your novel before you write anything at all or you're new to the whole novel outlining thing like me, these videos are for you to help you figure out how to outline more effectively while still giving you some room to be creative and wing it sometimes while you're planning. Because who says that you HAVE to stick to your outline? As long as your staying on track with how you want your story to play out, then you're golden!

Like I said, I will be doing some outlining for my novel while not getting too detailed to ease my way into it but there are so many ways to outline for you to play around with so try out all the options no matter how weird or untraditional they may be!




Probably one of the most common problems among writers is that dreaded moment that will sometimes pop up when you're writing your story that you were once SO EXCITED to write and you had a plan, you loved your characters, you were really feeling everything and then one day you sit down to write . . . and you realize you hate your novel. This has happened to me SO MANY TIMES and I am here to tell you that it is completely normal for you to feel that way. What's the solution to overcoming your hate for your own novel? Should you give up and start a new story? Should you just push through and hope for the best? What if your heart just isn't in the story anymore? Ask yourself this one question: Is it the story I hate or the writing process?

There are other simple solutions to look through if you still really want to write your story but just don't know why you find it hard to continue writing. Maybe the reason why you hate your novel is simply because you've lost sight of why you wanted to write it in the first place. I've found that most of the time when I just can't stand how my novel is going is because 1) the storyline I chose just doesn't interest me, 2)  I don't have a good enough idea on who the characters are or what their goals are, and 3) I'm not entirely in love with it yet. How do you fix these issues? 

One word: RESEARCH! Take a step back from your novel and look to see where your problem areas are. Are there one or multiple characters you're having problems with when it comes to developing them? Are you having issues with writing certain scenes such as action or romantic scenes for example? Are you simply just not interested in the path you're taking with your story and need to consider going in a different direction? 

To help you to start researching why you're just not liking your novel, here are a couple of sites to help you diagnose the problem and hopefully help you to fall back in love with your story by fleshing it out and nailing down the details. One site is Better Novel Project which takes examples from your favorite books like The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson to give examples on how to write certain scenes, develop characters, figure out their goals and who they are as well as how to use them effectively to write your own novel. I really love all the resources this site has and I think it's one you should refer to quite often if you ever get stuck.

Another site that I really love is She's Novel which really dives into the process of writing great characters, a nice pace, giving tips on what to do if you feel your story is dragging, how to write relatable characters, create a believable villain, work out an awesome climax, plot-twists, and so much more! Not only does it offer a ton of amazing blog posts on all things writing, it also has a great selection of other resources to continue to grow as a writer and find even more help should you run into any more writing issues. Another site you might want to bookmark!



Now that we have a good idea of the outlining process and the right resources to help us figure out our novel and our characters, you're going to need your fuel to keep you going during those writing sessions you'll be tackling. We all have different drinks and foods we like turning to but there are a few snacks that are actually proven by scientists (SCIENCE PEOPLE!) to help improve your creative thought process. 

One of the most common go-to drinks that I myself am addicted to is coffee. Coffee is known for reducing fatigue, enhance perception, and also boost your metabolism to give you energy. But it also prevents your focus from becoming too diffuse, honing your attention and creativity onto one task and preventing your creative mind from jumping around from one subject to another. 

Another common drink is that of tea. I'm not a huge tea drinker but occasionally I will make myself a cup. Green tea, as well as a few other types of tea, are also really great for the writing process. Tea is a great substitute for snacking which could be handy when you need to hunker down and get that writing done without any distractions. 

Caffeine is known to prohibit a healthy night of sleep and even though caffeine is found in tea, Passionflower tea and Lavender are great choices for getting a more restful night of sleep and to fall asleep faster since it relaxes your body. Your body will naturally fall into a state of preparing for sleep which you need to help and not interfere with. A restful night of sleep helps the creative thinking process, problem-solving, and motor skills once you wake up and get to writing. 

My personal favorite option for a great writing snack is chocolate. I might be just a tad bit of a chocolate addict but I swear this is a really great option! Dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate to go with since the anti-oxidants help your blood flow to the brain more smoothly which improves your concentration.

Nuts are also an amazing way to keep creative as well. Almonds, Brazilian nuts, and walnuts contain high amounts of Vitamin E which prevents poor memory and also helps the concentration process. Eaten together with the chocolate boosts your energy and is full of that much needed protein while also being a great mood booster!



There are plenty of other tips and tricks out there to help you with keeping creative and continuing to write your novel. A few methods are to keep a notebook with you at all times in case you think of an idea, piece of dialog that you think is so amazing, or think of character traits, names, or themes and need to write them down.

You can also use Netflix as a means of help. Yes, you read that right, YOU CAN WATCH NETFLIX. But, only do so in a practical way. I find that watching movies or TV shows that fall into the same categories as my novel really help me get into the mood for writing my story and also helps to give me ideas on what I want to happen in my novel. It could be based off a character in a movie, something the character said, a place they visit, even the title or plot of the movie that gives me one simple idea to add into my own novel. Now, don't go and copy every single little thing from those TV shows and movies! Simply use them as inspiration to help you gain ideas for your novel. Use different elements from the things you watch like themes, hobbies, the pacing, the culture, and anything else depending on your novel.

It also might be a great option to compile a list of writing prompts either by looking online to see what you can find or by creating a board on Pinterest for all your writing prompts whether it relates to plot, dialogue, theme, opening up your novel, or helping to come up with another event to play out in your story. You can print them out and stick them in a notebook, hang them up on a cork-board or stick them on your wall, or create a collage on your computer or device to have your prompts all in one place.


One last thing before I get going to continue outlining, I'll leave you all with a little tune to help you keep up the writing in November should you get discouraged!


So I hope you enjoyed this post about my resources for all your NaNoWriMo needs! If you have any other tips and tricks for writing, please leave them in the comments! Read on, bookworms! See you in the next chapter!


  1. I love this post so much! I've done Nanowrimo for quite a few years now, and this will be one of the first years where I really just see no way I can participate :( Nonetheless, these are some really great tips! Planning is just so essential, as well as the fuel that you will need to keep you going throughout the month!

    1. Yay I'm glad you liked my tips! Hopefully next year you'll be able to participate in either Camp NaNo or next November! It's simple things like planning and the right snacks that really make a world of difference with writing :D