My NaNoWriMo Toolbox

I’m sorry I’ve fallen off the rails with Preptober Prompts the past several days. I’ve been kind of in a funk lately and trying to figure out how to get out of it, starting with getting this blog post up. I’ll be back to Preptober Prompts tomorrow, since this is already my second post of the day, and include a round-up of last week’s prompt answers.

NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us (I’m feeling very under-prepared), so I figured I’d share a list of the tools I use to survive this crazy event. (All logos belong to their respective companies.)


Scrivener is $50, but it’s well worth the investment. It’s a one-time payment, and you’re allowed to use the same license on multiple computers which you own and are the primary user of, as well as the computers of family members who live with you.

The main thing I appreciate about Scrivener is that it keeps all of your documents (story, character profiles, setting descriptions, research, etc.) in one file so that you can easily access them all from the same interface. I’ve also found its two-pane view feature really helpful, which allows you to see two documents side-by-side. This has been helpful for me in rewriting, because I can see the original as I’m writing the new one so I know what I want to keep and what I want to change as I’m writing.

There are also features like the distraction-free mode, easy export to a word document, and the ability to design templates so that—for instance—all of your character profiles look the same.

Plus, if you purchase through this link you’ll be helping me out as I’m a Scrivener affiliate and purchases made through my link earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Fighter’s Block

This is a free online word sprinting app set up like an RPG game battle. You set a word goal, and that’s the monster’s HP (health points, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term). As you write, the monster’s HP decreases and yours replenishes. The monster attacks you whenever you’re not writing, and you can customize how quickly and how much he hurts you. It’s great for getting your writing speed up.

Story Binder

How this works exactly depends on the person using it, but my story binder has character profiles, world information, and the first 49-ish pages of The Last Assassin. I like it because it’s something I can reference while I’m writing without switching programs or minimizing my story or anything (something you can also do with Scrivener using their two-pane view option). I also like the feel of a physical reference, and I enjoy decorating it.

Drink of Choice

Ordinarily I prefer hot chocolate or water, but I’ll also occasionally get sour cherry juice. A lot of writers like coffee or tea, but I don’t particularly care for tea (unless it’s sweet iced tea) and I really don’t like coffee. (I love sitting on the sidelines of the coffee vs. tea debate with my hot chocolate. ;) )

The Official NaNoWriMo Site

There are a few things I appreciate about the official NaNo site.

1. The community. I’m only really active in one forum—the Christian Teens Together! thread—but the people in it are fabulous. I love writing and brainstorming alongside them and chatting year-round.

2. The word-count tracker. Being able to see your word-count climb throughout the month is super motivating.

3. Setting up your project. This sounds super silly, but just having a place to put a cover and synopsis for your book together like it’s an official book (even if the pieces are temporary) makes the project seem real and important.

NOTE: While the NaNoWriMo site was great when I first wrote this post, it has since become a place of censorship and has taken on a political agenda rather than focusing on its purpose to encourage authors to write more words. As such, I no longer personally endorse the organization, but I wanted to maintain the integrity of this post by leaving this section intact. If you’d like alternative options for finding the benefits I shared here, check out this post.

Want some more prep help? Sign up to my newsletter to download the NaNoWriMo prep checklist!


4 thoughts on “My NaNoWriMo Toolbox

  1. I may have to try Fighter’s Block this NaNo! I have a really hard time writing quickly, something I know is going to hurt me this November.

    Great post! Good luck during NaNo!

  2. Great post, Ariel! I recently learned about Scrivener and I think it’s really cool. ^_^

    I just found out about your blog and it’s so cool and gorgeous! It looks like I’ll be binge-reading many of your posts today, so don’t be surprised to get lots of comments from me. xD


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