The only Nanowrimo Survival guide you need! (With spongebob gifs)



I’m a writer..

I’m a writer..

I’m a writer..

I tell myself as my laptop glows back at me. 11:30pm. Crap, I’ve been looking at SpongeBob gifs for 4 hours.

Listen, I KNOW NaNoWriMo was created for writers because of this very issue…it’s not MY FAULT… there were thousands of spongebob gifs and memes to go through!!


Ok ok down to business. I promised you an all-in-one Nanowrimo 2017 survival Kit. This is going to go down in 3 parts:


  • Outline your novel in less than 3 days
  • Tools of the trade
  • Motivation

Outline your novel in less than 3 days!


We are going to do this together, people!!!

Day 1: Set aside 3 hours!

Brainstorming- 1 hour

The two questions that inspire my brainstorming sessions are:

What do I want to write about right now?

Why do I want to write about this?

Basic premise- 30 minutes

Jot down a quick summary of your brainstorming notes. Make sure you have a good grasp on defining plot points such as why your protagonist’s life changes drastically when they move into a new house, etc.

Define your Audience- 10 minutes

Who are you writing for?

Discover the POV and major settings in your book – 20 minutes

You’ll thank me later in the editing stages!!

Character sketch – 1 hour (maybe longer)

This is the equivalent to plot brainstorming…except with your characters! Just jot down ideas.



More help with this HERE



Day 2: Set aside 3 hours and 45 minutes +

Story skeleton- 1 hour

Now that you’ve had 12 to 24 hours to rest your mind, take another look at your brainstorming notes and tighten things up. This is usually called a story skeleton, and I often find that this is enough to start writing. There are no scene outlines yet, but you should know the major plot points through the end of your story such as beginning, middle, end…to name a few.

Theme- 30 minutes

This is the one thing I almost always forget to discover until I’m done writing the first draft. Though I found that when I take the time to really write down the themes I want to convey in my book, a passion is sparked. You know that driving force that made you fall in love with your novel in the first place….THIS IS IT!

To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.
– Herman Melville

Final plot & character development – 2 hours

Take this time to develop the little details and be proud of how far you’ve come. Hopefully, you have a somewhat decent looking story outline going on!

One sentence summary – 15 minutes

There are a couple reasons to do this:

1. Easy answer when people ask what your book is about.

2. To keep your main characters from doing something obviously out of their scope. One time I had to remind myself that my young protagonist would never get on a plane by himself just because he decided to. How did I write up to a scene where a child would have to go on a plane alone without any intentions? well, we’re all writers here!

3. Perfect to drop in your Camp NaNoWriMo cabin chat and on your profile!



I hate scene blocking with a passion. That’s why I’m making it optional. This is not necessary to start your draft, but it’s probably a smart thing to do.


Take the rest of the day to celebrate…or go to work because most of us have to make a living to survive. 😦

Tools of the trade!


A clarinet is to Squidward, as coffee is to me…..

No, but seriously. Here’s a list of things you are going to need to make this year a success…..or maybe just to alleviate some of the pain from sitting too long.

1. A clean writing space.

You may think you can write in your bed..

You may think you can write on top of chocolate and taco bell leftovers…

You may think you don’t even need a chair… But not all of us can be Hemingway!!

You will be more likely to write if you can just sit down and start…..No fuss in finding a comfortable position in a weird corner of the floor or having to clean up your desk because you said you would do it “tomorrow”. Whether it’s at a coffee shop or your kitchen table. Set aside a space that reflects an open mind.

2. Novel Playlist

I don’t have to explain this to you… This is crucial. I mean, how are you supposed to write the most perfect scene without the most perfect music?

3. Scratch notebook

Just to keep track of bits and bobs…you don’t want a repeat of that time you accidently forgot your villain’s name and temporarily named him scary mcfluffy pants so you didn’t have to break your writing sprint.


4. Drink of choice…maybe snacks?

Having to get up in the middle of a great writing sesh SUCKS.

5. Timer + break schedule

I use the Pomodoro technique.

Too many tools and you’ll get fixated on trying to make everything perfect. Your music may be perfect, but otherwise it’s pretty hard to achieve complete perfection. You might as well just start writing. Guess what… that part of the process definitely doesn’t have to be perfect!



1. Make a Pinterest inspiration board for your story.

When writer’s block strikes…Pinterest boards save the day!

2. Write a character journal.

When you can’t get yourself to open scrivener and start on the daily word count, take 2 minutes to handwrite a journal entry from your character’s point of view.

Here’s some more help with that:

Character-driven prompts

Other journal prompts you can write in your character’s 1st person POV

3. Write on a post-it where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, etc. with your writing career.

Stick it on your computer or desk. Millionaire author status doesn’t just happen by itself!


Lastly, here are a couple quotes to get you in the zone before I send you off!

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.
– Somerset Maugham

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
– Robert Benchley

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
– Ray Bradbury

People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.
– Harlan Ellison

Just like that you’re ready for Nanowrimo 2017!!!


Or maybe not…


Either way, remember every writer has bad writing days. You are not alone in this creative journey!

xo Lydia






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