NaNoWriMo: Kirsty Logan's Survival Kit

Category: Writing


  1. A notebook. Everyone likes a different type of notebook, but whether it's A4 or reporter-sized, lined or squared, make sure you can carry it wherever you go. That way you can make use of any spare snippets of time in your day to scribble down ideas, character sketches or plot points.
  2. A really big cup. Whatever your drink of choice, you'll need a big cup so you have one less excuse to step away from the computer.
  3. A big book of photos or a favourite photo website to spark inspiration for characters, settings or descriptions. My favourite is this page of Google Streetview photos, or just browse Flickr or Tumblr. If you like, put together a folder of pictures that fit your novel idea.
  4. A baby-name book or website. Your characters need to have the perfect names – ones that suit their economic and social background, show their true nature and slip off the tongue. But this is NaNoWriMo, and there's no time! When a new character is introduced, flip through the book or click 'random name' on the website. Plenty of time to change names later.
  5. Earplugs or earphones. If you like to listen to music while you write, get some decent noise-cancelling ones. If you prefer silence, earplugs are vital so that you can write in busy cafes, on public transport, or at home with a family who might not appreciate the importance of writing 50,000 words in a month.
  6. A selection of treats. I suggest a small treat (fancy coffee, a square of chocolate, your favourite TV programme) for every time you achieve your daily word-count, then bigger treats to mark certain points along the journey: one treat for every 10,000 words, then a big treat when you hit that final 50,000 word win. Good luck!

Monday: On Drinking Coffee and Other Beverages with Caitrin Armstrong

Kirsty Logan

Kirsty Logan received a New Writer's Award in 2009. She completed NaNoWriMo in 2007, 2008 and 2009.