NaNoWriMo 2017 Winner

The big news this week is that I inched past the 50k words and on Thanksgiving of all days! If you follow me on Instagram you saw my daily word count posts and my winner post!

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I have done NaNo for 6 years now and this is the fastest I have ever won, which gives me great hope that 2018 might finally be the year that I publish my book.

Three things helped me win NaNo early this year:

  1. PLANNER vs. PANTSER – I am such a planner it isn’t even funny, but this year I had my outline, timeline, character profiles, setting profiles, and several of my scenes all ready to go for November 1st. This is the most prepared I have ever been. Maybe some year I’ll try to be a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants without any prep), but I haven’t been able to do it yet.
  2. Book in a Month – I read and worked through the exercises in Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt in September and October and it helped me immensely. This book really made me focus on my story, characters, and outline. I really don’t think that I could have won this year without reading this book first.
  3. Write-ins – I think attending write-ins, either in person or online, is one of the most important parts of winning NaNo. I didn’t attend nearly as many write-ins as I have in the past, but I scheduled my own write-ins, which were scheduled writing sessions at Starbucks two or three times a week. I also took part in the Day of Writing Everywhere and knocked out over 6k words in one day.

While I technically won NaNo by writing 50k words in one month, I still have half of my book to write. In the past, I took December off to regroup, but this year I am going to keep on writing throughout December with the hope of completing the first draft of my book by the end of the year.

I fear that if I put my book away even for a month I will lose my groove, and we all know how difficult that can be to get back.



What is in my 2017 NaNoWriMo Bag?

If you bump into me at a write-in, the library, or my local Starbucks this November, I’m pretty sure you’ll find me with my official NaNo 2017 bag. What is in this year’s NaNo bag?

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  1. Lands’ End medium canvas leopard bag – As soon as I saw this bag on the Lands’ End website I knew it would make the perfect NaNo bag. Plus, it is super cute! My old computer bag had gotten a little bit too worn, so I was on the hunt for a new one before November. I was concerned it wouldn’t be wide enough for my laptop, but it fits perfectly and with a little room to spare. It was also 40% off! I love a good bargain.
  2. Laptop – I love my MacBook Air laptop with the Tiffany blue laptop case! I have cleaned up my desktop, uploaded my Spotify playlists, and opened a new Scrivener novel template, so I am good to go.
  3. Planner/Agenda – I also love my Kate Spade Large Scatter Dot Agenda. I’m pretty sure I would not be able to function this NaNo without some sort of planner. I’ve tried them all: bullet journal, Happy Planner, and the Recollections planner. None of them worked for me. Trying to figure out a weekly design with washi tape, stickers, and drawings was just too much and honestly too stressful for me. But the 2017/2018 Kate Spade planner is simple enough for me to use. I do still use a few stickers, but nothing too elaborate.
  4. Moleskine/Blank journal – I have a couple of Moleskine journals that I picked up a few years ago on clearance. It was a pretty big score since they can be pretty pricey.
  5. Post-it Notes – I always have post-it notes in my NaNo bag, purse, and on my desk. I prefer the smaller ones because they fit better in a book or journal.
  6. Water – I always bring a bottle of water with me to a write-in or my own writing session, although I am usually at a cafe or restaurant. I always buy something from the place where I write, whether it is Starbucks, Panera, or another food spot. But, I drink a lot. So a backup bottle of water is always a good idea. Voss is my favorite.
  7. Tylenol – Sometimes when I write a lot I get a headache. I think it is looking at the computer screen for such a long time. A bottle of Tylenol or Advil is always in my bag along with a couple of Excedrin Migraine pills, just in case.
  8. Starbucks card – I mentioned Starbucks before because that is my go-to spot to write. The girls at my local Starbucks are super nice and they know me by name. They also don’t mind that I spend hours in the cafe. A couple of years ago I was sent a gold card worth extra stars and bonuses. Now I make sure I earn enough stars during the year to keep the gold card. November usually pushes me over the edge thanks to NaNo.
  9. Granola Bar – Along with my water I like to take a few easy to eat snacks, like crackers, goldfish, or an apple. But my go-to snack is a granola bar, preferably a peanut butter chocolate chip Larabar. They are made with dates, which sounds pretty odd, but they are sooo good! Also a little expensive, but I splurge a little during NaNo.
  10. Pen – I have a couple of favorite pens, but this year I am using one that I got from Cath Kidston. It is a blue and white polka dot ballpoint pen. It writes really well, which isn’t the case for the majority of my pens.
  11. Gum – I couldn’t get through NaNo without gum. My favorite is Sweet Mint by Orbit. I have 2 packs in my bag now, which should last me a few weeks.
  12. iTouch & Earbuds – I could not complete NaNo without music. Music is so important to my writing. This afternoon, I just finished all of my character and novel playlists and uploaded them to my Apple iTouch. I also use Spotify and LOVE it! You can check them out on my Spotify page. I’ll be posting about the different playlists throughout the month too.
  13. Lip Gloss/Chapstick – It is usually cold during NaNo, though this year it is ridiculously hot. I’m hoping by mid-NaNo we get some colder temps. But I’m getting prepared anyway with some lip gloss and chapstick. The combo of the cold weather and then the heat at the write-ins always make for some chapped lips.
  14. Hand Lotion – And I must have hand lotion too. The cold weather tends to wreak havoc on my hands. My favorite is Gold Bond, but I recently picked up a travel size of the Aveeno hand lotion. It is really nice and nongreasy.
  15. Fingerless Gloves – Not needed yet, but on standby in case I do. Sometimes my hands get a little cold while I’m typing for hours and hours. Fingerless gloves warm up my hands while leaving my fingers able to type.

Well, there you have it. A peek into my 2017 NaNoWriMo bag.

10 Tips for NaNoWriMo Success

If you have decided to take the plunge into the abyss that is NaNoWriMo then give yourself a giant pat on the back. Taking part in NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment, but with a few tips, you will be all ready to get to writing on November 1.

What is NaNoWriMo?

Let’s get this bit of info out-of-the-way. According to the NaNoWriMo website, “On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.” Super simple, right? Write a

Super simple, right? Write a 50,000-word novel in a month. Piece of cake! Well, it might sound simple, but for those of us who have attempted NaNo in the past, it really isn’t that simple. But with a little planning and commitment, you can be victorious!

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A Little About Me

Now that my blog is starting to get a little better organized I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce myself.

*Raises hand* Hi! My name is Elissa. I am an indie author writing my first mystery/suspense novel.

I didn’t really start to write for enjoyment until high school. In 10th grade, I was assigned to write a research paper on someone famous. I chose Jack the Ripper. That should have been my first clue that I was going to be a mystery writer. A year later I started writing poetry. My first poem, Running to Extinction, was published in 1991. I am now an aspiring Christian indie author, currently writing a mystery/suspense series. I’ll be blogging quite a bit about the series.

Continue reading “A Little About Me”