Weapons of Mass Destruction, Or: The Obligatory NaNoWriMo Survival Kit Post

OK, so the title’s a bit snarky, but what the hey.

As NaNoWriMo approaches, it’s important to take inventory of what you’ll need to get you through the Month of You Questioning Your Sanity. This is called the NaNoWriMo Survival Kit, and you can add whatever you choose you think will help you through. Of course, my kit includes caffeine (if there’s no coffee, I’ve got a case of Pepsi Next – that low-calorie, low-sugar alternative to regular and diet Pepsi) and cookies, but here now are what I consider to be the most valuable and irreplaceable items for my Survival Kit.

Laptop/Scrivener (Figure 1)

Laptop – my Samsung RV511, a fast, reliable and remarkably lightweight laptop. It does exactly what I want it to do.

Scrivener – if you’re using it, you’re already in love with it. So much you want to marry Scrivener and make babies with her.

Notebooks/Pens/Music (Figure 2)

I use Composition notebooks solely because I write left-handed, and, if you write left-handed, then you know how much writing on one of those spiral notebooks sucks a fat one. I like Moleskine notebooks, and I carry one in my messenger bag, but, again, it’s a pain in the ass to write in. So I carry my notebooks with me wherever I go. That’ll be me you’ll see on a park bench, muttering profanities and scribbling furiously onto paper, the way the Unibomber must have once done. Plus, they’re $1 at Walmart. I’m also very fussy about pens. They have to feel right to me, like a good cue stick. So much so that when I find a pen I like writing with, I guard that bastard with my life.

The headphones are a pair of Philips/O’Neill TR55LX headphones. You can keep your overrated Beats headphones; for my money (actually, a little less money than what you’d pay for Beats), they’re the best headphones around.

Books/Totems (Figure 3)


The books serve one of two purposes: one, they’re books that inspire me – Slaughterhouse-Five, American Gods, and Watchmen are books that I’ve turned to recently since they’re works I’m trying to work together in my own WIP – and; two, they’re essential tools for writers. Stephen King’s On Writing is essential reading for writers everywhere. Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing is an excellent collection of essays on the craft of writing, and it’s also essential reading. Outlining Your Novel is the best books I’ve read on the art of outlining and plotting, and it’s a fun read, too. The 3AM Epiphany offers more than 200 writing prompts that will take you out of your comfort zone. I turn to it for a quick inspiration when I need a writing push.

The totem is the mug you see in the photo. It’s the best piece of writing advice ever. Sadly, I can’t drink coffee out of it, since it has a pinhole-sized crack on it. I have plenty of mugs to keep my caffeine fix going, but this mug is my totem, my security blanket. Makes sense to me.

Typewriter (Figure 4)


Because sometimes you want to follow in the footsteps of your literary heroes. I bought this Royal typewriter at a local antiques’ shop, complete with travelling case, for $40. Whether I paid too little or too much is irrelevant; I love the feel of the typewriter, and the sound of the typewriting doing that click-click-click-bing! is one of the loveliest sounds ever.


23 thoughts on “Weapons of Mass Destruction, Or: The Obligatory NaNoWriMo Survival Kit Post

  1. I totally agree with this. I don’t have a typewriter, but my grandma has two she said I can inherit from her! I’m just too excited for NaNo to start. This will be my seventh year and I’m more pumped than ever. How long have you been participating and are you just as excited as I am?

    • I did it the first time in ’09, and failed spectacularly at it; no plan, no outline, and I gave up too quickly.

      This is my second go-round, and I’m really eager to get going. Obviously.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Your kit looks a LOT like mine! Many of the same books, and yes, I want to have babies with Scrivener. I just wrote on this same topic…everybody’s getting ready for that NaNo. My computer’s a Lenovo Thinkpad E530…great and durable! And my antique typewriter is a Remington.

    • The ThinkPad is a greatly under-appreciated laptop. I had an IBM ThinkPad 570 I used for years, just for writing. When I scrubbed it and donated it to Goodwill a couple of years ago, I realized I had that laptop for 12 years. Wow.

  3. One-Click-Buying is a dangerous thing. I am now the proud owner of “The 3am Epiphany” thanks to Amazon kindly remembering my card details. Hoping it will see me few a couple of difficult days next month!

  4. Dude, great minds think alike. I essentially did the same post today. Also, I love your totem. Mine is Mr. Potato Head in a Batman outfit. The Caped Crutater. Nothing to do with writing but everything to do with awesome.

  5. Sometimes I break out my typewriter, but I rarely get more than a few sentences in before the heavy keys and my inability to correct my work annoy me. I suppose I could buy liquid paper … but laptops are just so much easier, lol. Still, it is fun 🙂

    • I like the romanticism of writing on a typewriter. I imagine myself to be Hemingway, pecking away furiously on his Royal, glass of Scotch to his right, and he’s in his underwear, and…umm….never mind.

  6. I love it. It almost makes me want to give in and NaNo this year, but that November is also the peak of term paper season. xP
    Ah, well. At least I can add to my books-wishlist now.

  7. LOL I remember the good old days where there were no personal computers and all my high school and uni-assingments had to be either handwritten or written on a typewriter. How I hated those days! LOL 🙂
    I sure love my Scrivener-infused MacBook! For sure I wouldn’t be able to write without it!
    Love your mug btw!
    Good luck with your Nano this year, you rebel – sadly I won’t be participating.

  8. Pingback: Surviving 30 Days of NaNoWriMo « Xenogirl

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