Friday, November 13, 2015

FRIDAY FIVE: NaNo Essentials

I missed last week because I was attending World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs. It was a great experience, especially for my first con, but now it's back to real life. Once again, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo. Once again, I'm behind on my word count, but this year, it's because I'm prioritizing studying for the GRE and getting my graduate-school applications in (which I just did! yay!). Starting next Saturday, I'm kicking my productivity into high gear and planning to write 3K words a day. We'll see if I get there, but in the meantime, here are five essentials for me to survive NaNo.

NaNo is an excuse for me to load up on brain food. In my case, that's usually easy-to-eat things like twizzlers or pretzels. I stay away from messy foods like popcorn or sandwiches. Brain drinks of choice include tea and pop (though I'm trying to cut back on it).

A Good Notebook
Although I like to do a lot of my writing on my laptop because it's faster and I can keep track of my word count better, a good notebook is essential for writing on the go, like in my hotel room after days filled with panels and parties at WFC. I'm very particular about notebooks. The one pictured here is what I'm using for my NaNo story, which is a young adult zombie apocalypse novel, and I love it because the spine is flexible. I'm also particular about pens. So particular that the only ones I really like to use are sold only in one store. I'm low maintenance in everything except writing, I guess.

Writing Music
I can't write in silence. Lots of people can, but I need either music (when I'm at home) or the soft din of people going about their business (when I'm out). Music with lyrics is too distracting, so I usually go for film or TV scores. Particular recent favorites are: How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell), Perfect Sense (Max Richter), Orphan Black (Trevor Yuile), The 100 (Evan Frankfort; unavailable for purchase, but EF has a playlist on soundcloud, and Stardust (Ilan Eshkeri).

An Internet Blocker (Or just the willpower to keep wifi off for hours at a time)
This is the hardest, honestly. I think it's tough for any writer. I love to delve into research, and sometimes I get lost there for hours. My current big research question is what America would be like two years after society collapsed. But in this case, I'm trying to save all that digging for December or maybe even after I'm finished with the first draft. Other hazards include Facebook, which is where I message all my writer friends to check in on their stories, and Tumblr, where I just love to waste time.

A Hot Shower (or, you know, 30)
This might sound weird depending on how much writing you did in college (which is where I first learned this trick), but anytime I'm stuck on a plot point or on where to go with a scene, a hot shower works wonders. There are tons of articles out there regarding the scientific explanation, which has to do with the hot water triggering a release of dopamine and a relaxed state of mind. Whatever the reason, it works!

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