Your Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo

We are one week into NaNoWriMo, and whether you are pushing for that 50k, or you just want to get some words on the page, it’s probably a safe bet that you’re starting to feel the wear and tear.

Much like when we have a human child, it’s so easy to put everything you’ve got into your book baby and forget to take care of yourself.

I’m here to remind you that you can’t do right by your manuscript if you don’t take care of yourself as well! So, to help me help you, I have enlisted three of my friends and professionals in their industries to get you through the rest of this month. They offer simple tips and tricks to keep you fresh and healthy with everything from stretches and aroma therapy, to exercises and meal plans.

This is a long blog post, so bear with us, but I think you guys will find the information herein incredibly valuable. To learn more about my co-bloggers today, please scroll to the bottom of this page for all of their contact information! They come highly recommended by yours truly.

Leslie Moore – Licensed Massage Therapist


Do you ever get to the point where you simply can’t think about writing any longer?  I mean, sometimes writers just can’t wait for the writer’s block (i.e. another real thing) to wear off so they can start, or sometimes finish, their current project. However, the reality is that sometimes it’s just painful. Literally. Your fingers start to hurt from typing. Then you notice the wrists getting a little more cramped from holding them stiffly. Eventually the forearms lock up like a tight tension line. After awhile, you just give up and wonder if dictation might be an alternative solution.

As a writer, you seem to have two choices. You could stop writing for a while and go back to the never-ending project later (highly unlikely). Or, work through the pain because you’ve finally landed an idea. The images in your head are flowing, and really, there is no time to lose momentum now.

I’m here to tell you, I get it. As a professional using my hands every single day I’m inclined to encourage you by sharing my professional opinion that the struggle is real. Writer’s Cramp does exist!

So how can I help you? Well, I’m a massage therapist and though I likely have zero solutions for your potential writer’s block, I do have some suggestions for you Writer’s Cramp.

Be Ergonomic

Ergonomics is an adjective relating to the safe design (especially of the workplace) to create comfort, reduce stress and prevent injury. Though I understand how sitting on your couch with the laptop on a pillow might insight creativity and comfort, I assure you that comfort is temporary.

Tips for Ergonomic Positioning

  • Desktops are better than Laptops. I realize it’s unlikely this day and age that we are using desktop computers with the convenience of a laptop. However, desktop computers have the ability to adjust the height for appropriate spinal alignment. If the neck and head aren’t in alignment then nothing below them will be either.
  • Purchase a desk. No more sitting at the table or on the couch to write. It’s impossible to get correct positioning to keep you body moving correctly. If you’re planning long writing segments, I highly recommend getting a desk that is correctly designed to allow for appropriate adjustments for your body height and structure.
  • Once you get the desk, find an ergonomically designed chair to sit in. And yes, look for the terminology “ergonomic adjustable chair” when purchasing. These chairs allow adjustments of the hip and back flexion as well as arm position and height.

Be Proactive

I promise that no one is going to protect your body for you. Just like a lot of other things, the idea of it sounds good but actually doing it is a different story. I guarantee that you are better off to prevent overuse injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome then to try to fix them after they happen. Take the time to be proactive in your prevention.

Tips for Proactive Prevention

  • Get up and move around every hour. The body does not contain enough blood to allow all muscles to be fueled at one time. If the muscle is voluntary and it isn’t being used, it likely isn’t getting blood flow. Get up every hour for at least five minutes and move around.
  • Get your stretch on. Just like other areas of the body, your fingers, hands and wrists need stretched too. Flex the wrists up and extend them down into static stretches for 30 to 60 seconds daily. Even on days you aren’t writing. The same can be done for fingers and thumbs stretching up down and across the palm areas.
  • Don’t forget your forearms. All the muscles in your hands go directly into the wrists and forearms. You can use one forearm against another on a flat surface for self massage. However, I highly recommend finding a well trained professional to provide much needed care of the entire upper body from wrists and forearms to the neck and shoulders.

Be Aware

            The last piece of advice I have for you is to be aware of what you are doing. Actively pay attention to things like work space and posture. Be aware when you body is telling you to get up and move around, you listen. Make sure you are taking care of yourself in every way that you possibly can. After years and years of writing, your body will be thanking you!

Em Wilson – Fitness and Nutrition Trainer and Body Image Coach

Em was gracious enough to share her entire 4-week fitness and nutrition course for this blog post! You guys, this is huge! I have done my best to condense it all down, here, but I will provide some additional links so you can get all the nitty gritty details straight from Em herself!


*Before your feet hit the ground EVERY MORNING think of 5 things you are grateful for.

*Take BEFORE photos: Front, Back, Left Side, Right Side. These DO NOT have to be shared with the group but I do want you to have it for your keeping.

*Pick out a pair of Sunday Pants. Every Sunday try on the exact same pants.

* HAVE FUN. BE EXCITED. Look forward to everything you are going to learn about yourself and the amazing results you can have if you stay dedicated to this program.

*Complete every work out, meal prep, and adhere to the program 100% and you will be SHOCKED by how much you can change in just 4 weeks!


*Tell someone you’re doing the program so they can keep you ACCOUNTABLE.


Trainings – Weeks 1-4



10 minutes on treadmill/elliptical



Perform each exercise for 4 sets of 12 repetitions each at a weight that is challenging but allows for you to maintain proper form.

** indicates the exercises are a SUPERSET. This means you will perform the first exercise and with no break will perform the second exercise.

  • Treadmill – 1 minute SPRINT then 1 minute WALK alternating for 5 rounds – 10 Minutes Total


Perform as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) with doing each exercise for 30 seconds for 25 minutes.

*Perform each exercise for 2 minutes with as little rest as possible.


Perform each exercise for 4 sets of 12 repetitions each at a weight that is challenging but allows for you to maintain proper form.



Complete a steady state 2 mile run. Walk when necessary but run as much as possible

Perform each exercise for 2 minutes with as little rest as possible


**Download a Tabata timer from your App Store**

Tabata – Perform each exercise for 20 seconds at 100% effort and 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds (equals 4 minutes for each exercise).


Nutrition plays the most crucial role in any kind of transformation no matter what the goal is. If you are trying to burn fat, build muscle, or gain endurance the results you have will be directly correlated to the foods you are consuming. The truest words ever spoken were, “You can’t out train a bad diet.” and “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Both of these sentiments are extremely accurate.

First I want to debunk the most common misconceptions of “dieting”:

  • You SHOULD NOT feel starving all the The majority of people are not eating enough in a day and that is what is halting their weight loss. Also, eating extremely low amounts of food is the type of behavior that leads to unhealthy binging habits.
  • If you go off course one or two times your progress is not Refeed days are actually very essential to the fat loss process or even muscle gain. Refeed days are when you have untracked meals of whatever you want. It’s not a day for binging but a “free meal” of what you’ve been craving over the last couple of days.

They help reset your metabolism and get your body awake and paying attention.

  • It is not EXPENSIVE to eat Yes, there are ways to make a healthy lifestyle diet very expensive but the same can be said for an unhealthy lifestyle diet. Preparing your meals in bulk and in advance can make them a fraction of the cost of a drive through or a pizza.
  • You do not have to give up things you enjoy to live a healthy lifestyle with a clean You can have a beer with your husband, you can split dessert with your bestie, you can enjoy something smothered in cheese. BUT NOT EVERY SINGLE DAY.

For the purposes of this 4 week program the nutritional component is going to be very simple and easy to follow. Meal preparation will be your best friend and make your results sky rocket as opposed to just trying to float along and figure something out every day. I will give you a step by step guide to create your own meal prep and provide my own examples.

Easy Meal Prep Guidelines

Step 1: Sit down and figure out which meals of the day you are most likely to grab something that is not a healthy option. Is at lunch time at work? Is it around dinner time when everyone is trying to get homework or sport’s practice done? Is it for breakfast on your way to the office? When are the most difficult meals of your day?

EXAMPLE: My two meals are lunch and dinner.

Step 2: Figure out how many meals you will need prepared for 5 days that week.

EXAMPLE: I will need 10 meals total for 5 days.

Step 3: Have appropriate amount of meal prep containers.

EXAMPLE: I use these –  Containers/dp/B0128YT76S/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1474  398383&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=meal+prep+containers&psc=1

Step 4: Create your menu for the week.

  • Choose 2-3 proteins
  • Choose 2-3 vegetables
  • Choose 2-3 carbs
  • Choose 2-3 snacks

EXAMPLE: I will choose chicken, rice, broccoli and then salmon, sweet potatoes, and asparagus. I will then have hummus and greek yogurt as my snacks.

Proteins – Chicken, Tuna, Salmon, Steak, Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, Beans, Pork, Turkey Patty, Fish

Vegetables – Can be FRESH or FROZEN

Carbs –Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice, Wheat Bread, Wheat Buns, White Rice, Tortilla Wrap, Quinoa, Fruit

Snacks – Hummus, Rice Cakes, Veggie Straws, Nuts, Fruits, Veggies, Greek Yogurt, Smoothies

Check out this link with 28 healthy snack ideas:  for-healthy-weight-loss

Step 5: Create grocery shopping list with your proteins, vegetables, carbs, and snacks for the upcoming week.

Step 6: Purchase items and prepare in bulk for the week! Breakfast Items

Egg whites Whole eggs        Bacon Smoothie        Turkey Bacon        Wheat English Muffin Greek Yogurt

Check out these 11 breakfast smoothie recipes:  favorites/healthy-meals/heathy-breakfast-smoothies

Protein Pancake

Check out these 20 Protein Pancake recipes  recipes.html


Water consumption is one of the most essential aspects of your diet. It is best to cut out all “drinkable calories” such as pops, juices, and sugar filled coffee drinks. The guideline most people put out there is to drink a gallon of water a day. I’m not going to ask you to do that right off the bat. I want you to first focus on substituting water for your other drinks throughout the day. If you already only consume water then I would  like for you to slowly increase it but not try to jump straight to the gallon if you’re not already doing that. Water consumption especially needs to be good when you are integrating exercise into your every day routine. Consuming enough water really can make or break your  results.

One of the most important components I want to address is that a life of WEIGHT LOSS is not the same as a life of WEIGHT MAINTENANCE. Or even health maintenance if weight loss is not your goal. You should not be starving but you should be learning to feel when you’re actually full and when you’re just eating out of habit or boredom. If you really want to maximize your results consistency is 100% the key and your willingness to commit to the process. You will be so surprised by how much more energy you have and how good you are going to feel inside cleaning up your diet!

Theresa Lohman – Doctor of Nursing Practice. Family Nurse Practitioner
and Certified Aromatherapist

Terri’s knowledge of essentials oils can help you not only remain cool, calm and relaxed during this incredibly stressful time, but also help with some of things we have to deal with on a daily basis while also making us smell good.

I chose to do a daily life survival kit.

Now, which oils. There are so many.

I decided to use some of my favorite oils and the acronym HELP.

Helichrysum, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint

Helichrysum (helichrysum italicum):

There are several types of Helichrysum but the one from Croatia is my favorite.

Picture this.

You are doing something crafty that requires the use of a sharp object. Suddenly, you notice that there is a red stain on your project. Drat! It’s blood, and it’s coming from you! Ack! (this is not a puncture wound).

Now, that you notice you are injured, there is pain added to the bleeding. But wait!  You have some Helichrysum. You go to your cool, dark storage area where you keep your oils.

Get out your Helichrysum and put a drop or two on the small wound. It stops bleeding almost instantly and the pain is gone. Not only that, after applying it a couple of time a day for the next couple days, the wound is all but invisible.


Not only is Helichrysum good for life’s little cuts and bruises, it is also emotionally balancing.


**Please note that there is more than one kind of eucalyptus.**

The two most frequently used are Eucalyptus Globulus and Eucalyptus Radiata.

Eucalyptus Radiata is the milder of the two and is better used in older people.

I  don’t use any Eucalyptus in kids under 10 yo.

That being said, Eucalyptus made my list because not only will it clear your mind, it will clear your sinuses. It’s a great cold /flu prevention oil.

Use it in a diffuser or a steam to clear congestion when you have a cold.

It also seems to shorten the length of the cold. (This is an observation I have had).

It is antibacterial and antiviral.

I generally use it in combination with other oils like Siberian Fir, but I have also used it, in a diffuser, alone.

Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)

Lavender is my all time favorite oil. I have often said, if you can only buy one, buy Lavender. To some, it is an acquired smell. I use it, most often, for it’s calming affect and ability to help me sleep. My brother (an airline pilot) uses it to help him quiet his mind so he can sleep when he has an over night between flights.

It’s great to diffuse when you come home from a tough day at work.

Think of it as a calming aroma for the kids :-). This includes furry kids.

Bugs bites/stings? Put a drop of Lavender on it and no more itch. Instant relief.

Rashes from plants etc.  Lavender.

Kitchen burns?  I love bacon but……………

Put some Lavender on it and stop and burn and maybe the blister.

I could go on and on!

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

This is another multipurpose oil.

Migraines? Put a drop of Peppermint at your temples and back of your neck. Don’t get it near your eyes.

Use it as soon as you feel the headache coming on.

Upset tummy?  Put  1 or 2 drops on any carrier oil (coconut, olive oil and so on). Rub it on your tummy.

Feels good fast.

Tired?  Take a quick whiff of Peppermint to wake you up.  Not too much. It’s really strong.

Sore feet?  A foot bath with Peppermint oil. Add 1 drop to a tablespoon of carrier oil and put it in a foot bath to cool those hot tootsies.

It’s also anti fungal so, if you have athletes foot (Just sayin).

Sore muscles from that workout?  Blend it with Sweet Marjoram, Scotch Pine and Angelica Root in an ounce or Trauma oil and apply to sore areas as needed.

Safety issues with Peppermint:  Do not use if you have an irregular heart rhythm.  It will make it worse.

There you have it. My HELP kit to get you through a pretty average day.


Remember, YOU are important too! Take care of yourself with as much love and dedication you have to your book baby this month! Please continue reading below to learn more about Leslie, Em and Terri! Without them, this post wouldn’t have been possible!

Leslie Moore: Leslie Moore is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of BodyWorks Wellness Studio in Perrysburg, Ohio.  She is certified in NeuroMuscular and Trigger Point therapies along with Myofascial Release techniques. She specializes in both clinical and rehabilitative massage as it relates to acute, chronic and sports related injuries. For more information from Leslie, you can visit her website at or find her on Facebook at Body Works Wellness Studio.

Terri Lohman: I am a nurse practitioner and I bring years of experience in conventional medicine to my practice of aromatherapy. I believe the best results come from the combination of the Traditional and Integrative Medicine.
Call 419 819 9181

Em Wilson: I became inspired to share my knowledge of weight loss, nutrition, and exercise when I helped a close friend of mine lose over 100 pounds in under a year. Seeing how much it impacted her life in every aspect made me addicted to helping as many people as I possibly can!
After spending 5 years expanding my knowledge I became an American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer in 2014 and officially began my career that has been my passion ever since.