My Writing Essentials
I spend my weekends writing. Be it a journalistic piece, a novel, or a blog post. I’m constantly writing away. When I’m working on a project I have certain writing essentials that I need nearby.
I write 85% of my work on a laptop these days. I went through a period of time where I wrote everything by hand and then typed it up at a later date. Nowadays I need the internet and email on-hand at all times. Software-wise, I’m basic: Microsoft Word all the way. Occasionally I’ll use a Google Doc, but I find it is really hard to format a Google Doc, as opposed to Word.
As much I write most of my work on a laptop, I always have a notebook nearby. This is because I often jot down sentences, reminders, plans, etc by hand. It’s also a great place to write down notes whilst writing to keep track of ideas that pop into my head at the time but don’t fit for that scene or that article.
When I’m writing I usually listen to movie scores or slow songs by The Lumineers or Sleeping at Last. Currently, I’m loving Piano-versions of Disney classics – it’s very relaxing. But I like the sound to block out the world and that’s where headphones come in. If I don’t want to listen to music, for whatever reason, I’ll probably still keep my headphones on as a noise-canceling device.
I edit on my Kindle, as well as read on it. When I’ve finished a first draft or I want to review the flow of a scene, I’ll upload the PDF to my Kindle and read it ‘as a reader’. Using the highlighter tool I make notes and have a particular system: blue for ‘cut’, yellow for ‘typo’, and orange for ‘revise’. It works really well for me.
In an IV preferably. Or just delivered to my door by parents. Coffee keeps me going most days, and writing weekends are no exception.
When I’m in mid-flow of writing I don’t want to stop to go and cook some lunch, so snacks are imperative. I tend to stick to biscuits or chocolates over crisps or dips because I don’t want my fingers to get messy whilst I’m typing. Viennese Biscuits are my current favourites.
When I’m working on a novel I always print out the complete synopsis and keep it nearby. It’s a great tool to reinvigorate me when I’m struggling with a particular chapter or if I’m lacking motivation. It also keeps me on track without having to leave the writing document – which often leads me down a distraction hole.
Oddly, I like to keep some reviews nearby for inspiration. The reviews I currently have are actually from editors who turned down my work… odd, right. None of the reviews are bad, none of them say ‘Ellie’s writing is shit’. Instead, it’s constructive criticisms and highlighting their preferences. For me, having these nearby when I’m writing reminds me that firstly I can write, and also that I have to work at certain aspects such as the tone of voice and making characters distinctive, etc.
And finally, again just when I’m writing fiction, I keep a character list nearby. I hadn’t done this prior to writing my novel What Planet Can I Blame This On? but I found it incredibly helpful in staying consistent when describing each of them. For example, if I have a note that my character is blonde-haired and blue-eyed, I remind myself of them every time I write so I never write them as being dark-haired with grey eyes.
Those are the basic writing essentials that I need. What about you? Do you need the above or are you more in need of complete silence or a specific pen type? I know some writers that only write by hand, in BIC biro, and others that dictate their books aloud. I love how unique each writer is.