My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

This is a much different thing than a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit, but there are definitely elements that are similar. Just less stabby things and ballistics. That said, October is the month to be putting this thing together. For me that means taking my normal writing kit and expanding it. Of course the basic kit will still remain the same.

The Basic Kit

This is what I take with me every morning when I leave. It is everything I need to do my writing. The entire thing fits into the Zombie Response Team Unit Six bag that I picked up. It covers my iPad2, the wireless keyboard for it, my iPod (stocked with my playlist for the project) and my Droid. I write in a coffee shop without wireless, so if I want to check to Twitter or do word wars with people, I need the phone. While technically not in the kit, part of it also includes having five to ten bucks on me. The Victory (my local coffee shop I write in) is a cash only business, so I make sure I’m prepared to cover at least my coffee while I’m there. A bit more for food if I plan staying longer than an hour or so.

The November Kit

I’ll try to do this one by the numbers, but it really is just an expansion of the original kit. Well, with a few extras that are NaNo specific.

iPad Charger/Power Cord

This is sort of a combo thing. If I use my iPad at all during work (although usually limited to a couple minutes of “check this site out in Safari”) I could find myself needing a charge. For this reason I’ll be packing my iPad charger. It will also help if I need to recharge the iPod.

Additionally I have one hold-over from my laptop days… an extension cord. And it isn’t just an extension cord, it’s one with three plugs on the business end. Sort of a mini power strip. Okay, it may not seem like much, but when you’re at a write-in and there are limited outlets this bad boy is money. Money, I tell you!

Darrell, My Writing Totem

Darrell is a small zombie in cammo gear made of yarn that I was given at Authors After Dark in New Orleans. He came with a little story and a directive for him to have continuing adventures. I have done so, and he has a Twitter account. Now he just has to use it. And post his photos. Slacker.

For those wondering, he took the train back from New Orleans with us, a flight to New York, and a cruise to Halifax Nova Scotia. This included going to The Top of the Rock, Times Square, an Irish pub and a tour of Halifax. He stayed on the ship for the Hopewell Rocks trip, it was raining too bad. He also went to his first concert – In This Moment. He has another planned in December.

The Totem is like your writing Patronus. A focus of your creative energy. He’s also something to juggle around while considering your work at write-ins. Previous to AAD my writing totem was a little monkey who traveled around with me. He’ll likely still be there too, because… monkey.


A blank book for taking notes. This works well if an idea comes, but it isn’t about the section I’m working on. I’ll jot it down in the journal for later. It’s like a non-WiFi version of Twitter.

This Is Not Neil Gaiman’s Gazebo Sign

This is a tradition I have been following since the blog entry was first posted. I use it as my locator at write-ins. The irony is that making the sign to take to write-ins is another “gazebo.” On the up side, I have stopped considering retro-fitting my library into a writing den.

Filter Bottle

I have a small blue bottle that has a water filter built into it’s nozzle. Normally it sits in my office as this is where I drink the most water. During this month it will be traveling with me as it really does make all water taste cleaner.

Tin of Mints

While the obvious use of this is true, there are other reasons behind it. Considering the amount of coffee drank in a day during the month, mints are a good thing. Also, it gives a small sweet snark without adding a ton of calories. And finally, it is something that allows you to have an ice breaker with people joining write-ins you may or may not know.


I have a stock of mini business cards that work as perfect bookmarks. I liked them so much I made a bunch as thank you cards a while back for my 40th birthday party. The back of each of them had one of eight rules from Zombieland I had used. It’s a good way to give people your information so they remember you, although when you’re signed in on the NaNo site as Zombie Joe (I changed from my old login a couple years back), you’re pretty memorable.

Digital Recorder

For those times when the Journal just isn’t handy enough.

Merit Badge Buttons

This is a set from the NaNoWriMo store that represent different goals. Drinking too much coffee, having a 5k day, killing off a friend in your story… you get the idea. I still haven’t picked up a tactical vest or the like to pin them on when I meet them, but we’ll see.


I’m sure the items will update through the month, but this is what I intend to start with. One thing you totally will NOT find in it will be red pens. Ever. What do you plan to put in your November Survival Kit?


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