NaNoWriMo: Prep to Succeed!

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It’s NaNoWriMo time! That means plenty of Red Bull, candy bars and late nights, right? Wrong! Well, I can’t help you with the late nights because I often do those myself, but the caffeine and candy aren’t your best choices for making it through the month healthy and well. November is already one of those months where you wind up eating copious amounts of things like Aunt Maureen’s pumpkin pie, grandma’s cookies and dad’s deep fried turkey. I write at least 1,500 words every day for my jobs, so I’ve decided to take my same writing approach for NanoWrimo. Here are some healthy snacks, an app and a stay-awake suggestion to help get you through the month no worse for the wear.

F.lux: Ever notice how your computer screen or phone display hurts your eyes at night? It’s because of that dang blue light that can actually damage your retina. If you’re writing this November, you are tripling the time normally spent in front of your display. Do yourself a favor and get F.lux. Available for all OS X and Windows devices, F.lux makes the color of your screen’s display change according to the time of day (or the amount of light in your room), giving it warm tones when it’s dark, rather than blistering your eyes. The affect is subtle and effective.

The new F.lux also has a backwards alarm-clock to answer the question “How much sleep will I get if I go to bed now?” which is always on your mind if you’re writing a novel in a month!

Eat hummus. Hummus is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Packed with protein, it will help you cut down on cravings. It contains folate, which may reduce the risk of some cancers. It’s a clean food that should be devoid of chemicals (check the label). Sabra makes on-the-go snack packs with pretzel chips. You can also whip up your own hummus with just a can of chickpeas, garlic, tahini, salt, extra virgin olive oil. Make up a batch and bring it with you.

Walnuts. Feeling snacky? Avoid those little packets of chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, peanuts and sugar (even though they taste delicious). They have too much sugar and will make you hungrier. Substitute walnuts. Walnuts are full of omega-3s, antioxidants and phytosterols which may slow the growth of cancerous cells. Also walnuts are less crunchy than other nuts, which will make your chewing a whole lot less annoying for your fellow writers.

Nature Box. This is not a sponsored post. But I get Nature Box every month and it is awesome. This subscription service varies in cost according to how many bags you want; 3 snacks a month (6 total bags) is $13.95. That’s less than $2.50 a bag. They will send you healthy snacks once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month. You can choose from more than 100 snacks, many of them are non-GMO and vegan if you want those options. We (Alex and me) started doing this when we realized how much money we spent at the convenience store, gas station or machines during the day-to-day writing. It saves us money, the snacks are delicious and for the most party, pretty healthy. If you get something you don’t like, let them know and they will send you something else. If you order now you’ll get delivery next week, in time for plenty of writing session snackiness.

Workout. Yes, I know this is staring to feel like a health blog but I swear it isn’t! Exercising boosts your brain power and keeps you alert and awake. I know you’re trying to knock out a few thousand words a day, but taking a brisk walk when you’re feeling blocked will wake you up and help your writing. When you take a walk, your brain often finds the solution you were searching for when you were sitting at your desk, hopefully staring at your screen. It’s also a good solution when your eyes start to close. Get up and move and you will stay awake! I hate to admit this works, because I loathe exercising, but I always writer faster, cleaner and better when I exercise that morning.

A final tip, if you have to have a candy bar or a yummy coffee drink, use it as a reward when you reach at least half of your goal.

This is the first of several NaNoWrimo posts we’ll be sharing! Are you participating in the event this upcoming month? Share your own tips below! This is my second time, my first was in college way back in 2009 or so. 



Bri is the founder and co-editor of What the Fangirl. She loves chai lattes, Disney and fairy tales.


  1. Ashlie Swicker

    November 1, 2015 at 5:27 am

    AH I love this! I’m participating and I’m PUMPED. I drank A LOT (seasonal beers killed me) behind the laptop screen last year, but tons of water and making sure to at least walk on the treadmill with whatever I was reading at the time made me feel much more sane.

    Will you be sharing what you’re working on? Good luck!!

    • Bri Ahearn

      November 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Yay, thanks for commenting, Ashlie! I have way too much of an addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper but I try to curb that with water. Good to see you’re trying to do good habits (even though it’s so fun to just binge on candy and soda during writing, not going to lie!)

      I’m working on a middle grade novel with magic!

  2. Pingback: Slay NaNoWrimo: How to Write 50,000 Words in a Month from Someone Who Does it Regularly – What the Fangirl

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