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NaNoWriMo Prep Crate

With November only a month away, it’s time to prep. Maybe you’ve already done all of this (go you!), or you’re like me and tend to put things off til the last minute. Whether this is your first time attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days, or you’re an old pro, I’ve got you covered. Here are some of the things I’ll be doing in October, and you probably should too. And yes, I am aware some of these might not actually fit into a crate, but just go with it.

Systems Check

With a little over a month left on the clock, it’s tome to make sure your writing instument of coice is working. Have a few test runs, make sure you have a system for backing up your work in place, and most importantly, check your wires and battery to make sure there won’t be any unwanted issues in November.

I’ll be writing in Scrivener again, on my trusty old MacBook Pro. It’s been with me since 2011 I think, and still going strong (knock on wood). My backups are saved in my Dropbox, so I always know where to find them. I’ve been using Scrivener every single NaNoWriMo I have won, and won’t be using something else anytime soon. It’s the perfect program for me.

Yoda meme with text check your systems you have not.

If you haven’t tried it yet, but want to, their trial is 30 days of actual use, which is pretty awesome. I would recommend getting it now and spending a few days in October getting to know the program though, so you are all set once November rolls around.

Whatever you are writing on, or in, make sure it’s all good to go. You don’t want to be messing around with new tech or looking for your perfect writing pen on November 1st.

Stack of Dares

Unfamiliar with Nano Dares? Well, they are maybe one of my favorite things to have on hand when the writing get’s tough. Each year there is usually a thread in the forum where people post their favorite dares. There are points to be had, if you’re counting, and so much inspiration and madness. I haven’t found a thread for this year yet, but last years thread is still available in the arcives here.

Then of course there is the Travelling Shovel of Death. More plot device than dare perhaps, but I always include it in my Dare Stack. A shovel has brought an abrupt end to several of my (minor) characters over the years, and I’m sure I’ll find a way to use it this year as well. There are shovels in space, right?

Stack of notecards, pens and highliters.
Notecards in three different sizes. I think I’ll have enough.

Get a stack of notecards ready, or just a notebook if you don’t have notecards laying around, grab your pen, and start going through the dare thread I linked above. Find the ones that speak to you, or just seem interesting, and write them down. You should probably try to have at least 10-20 ready by November 1st. Then, if you ever get stuck, pull one out, and just go with it. Sure, it may not fit your story, but that’s the fun part. I swear!

Mood Music

I need music when I write, at least when I write alone. And I’m 99% sure I’m not the only one. If you don’t already have your wiritng playlists set up, now is the time to do it.

Find the songs that inspire you. The songs that speak to you. The songs that pretty much is the soundtrack to your book. I got lucky this year, as the new Within Temptation album, Resist, is pretty much a ready-made soundtrack for Unleashed, which is the novel I’ll be continuing in November. I’ll add some of my other favorite writing songs of course, but I already have most of my playlist ready to go.

Oh this is my jam meme image

A Mountain of Tea

Or coffee, I guess. This one is pretty much self-explanatory. Gather up as much of your [caffinated] beverage of choice as you possibly can, and get ready for a month where no matter how much you gather, chances are you’ll run out halfway through anyway. I hav lots of different choices, so I should be all set for November.

I do also like my soft drinks though, so I’ll make sure to stock up on those as well, just to be on the safe side. And some hot choolate as well, cause sometimes a sugar-high can get you where caffine cannot.

Lots of different types of tea.
Lots of tea, ready for November. Yorkshire Tea is my favorite.

Word Crawl of Choice

I discovered these last year (I know I know, where have I been?) and was immedeately hooked. My crawl of choice is the Harry Potter crawl, but there are so many to choose from, there should be at least one for everybody! A word crawl is basically a kind of word sprint, that incoorporates sprints, word wars and prompts into one neat little package.

Some of you may not need a crawl to reach the finish line, but if you’re like me, and sometimes don’t have time to spend hours each day writing, using the crawl will make life so much easier. Most steps are for shorter time periods, so you can easily fit one or more in between all the others things you need to do that day.


Writing with buddies works wonders for your productivity. If you don’t already have a local writing group, hit up your home region, and see if you can find someone close to home you can meet up with. The first time I attended a write-in was in 2010, also the first year I made it to 50k. And that was no coinsidence. Every year since, I’ve either gone to write-ins, or had word wars or sprints with my buddies online. I met some really good friends that first year, once of which has become a close friend, and the one person I know I can always ask for help with when I’m stuck.

Tips for networking gif from The Office

Writing with really close friends can be a problem though, as it could lead to chatting more than you write (the horror!). So you wanna make sure you have a stickt set of write-in rules when it comes to talking during word wars (don’t!) or you might be in troubble.

Planners Unite

If you’re a Planner, like me, then this is where you gotta step up. Outline your heart out, plot as much as you need and then some. Once the clock strikes midnight on Day One, you wanna be ready!

I’ll be outlining using notecards in Scrivener, but there are many ways to do it. Most Planners already have their way of doing it, but if you’ve never tried before, here are a few different methods.

Research is for winners

Do you need to research stuff for your novel? Might wanna do that now. Cause the last thing you wanna do in November, as the words are ready to pour out of you, is get stuck down the rabbit hole of the massive Google search engine of doom. Doing the work now, and writing it down in an organized fashion, will save you a lot of heartache once November rolls around. And if you are a panster (how do you even?), this is something you should still do. You know, if you can.

Crate with the things listed in this post.
My crate is ready to go!

So it’s it, my Prep Crate. Which contains some items that actually fit in a crate. These are the things I’ll be working on in October, to make sure I am as ready as possible on November 1st. Do you think I am missing some things in my crate? Let me know in the comments, because the more stuff I can put in this crate, the better prepared I’ll be.

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