I feel like this post should actually be called
Writing Must-Haves (a personal list that isn’t based on any fact; rather, my own experience which is pretty bloomin’ good if I do say so myself)
I cannot explain how excited I am for the actual NaNoWriMo (which I explain here if you don’t know what it is); writing 50,000 words in the month of November. What a challenge! I just want it to be here, because I have been in such a good writing-place lately. Actually doing it would be so difficult, but I am so keen for it. In some ways I don’t want to start writing another novel when I feel so close to finishing my first draft of my current novel, but there’s always something desirable in a new project. Ah, the possibilities (and frustrations) a blank page offers…
In preparation (I know it’s only April but I’m so excited I can’t even) I thought I’d blog a list of my writing must-haves. Writing about writing without writing about writing. Sneaky, right?
1/ A good jumper
You get cold just sitting there. Your hands are left out in the open, tapping on keys, while the rest of your body doesn’t move at all. Invest in something warm, snuggly and not too tight. I like soft comfortable things, because it’s hard just sitting in the same spot for a long time.
2/ Woolly socks
Similar to the first point, but when your feet are cold they’re freezing, and half the time I don’t notice they’re cold until I stop for a moment, and then I realise I’m close to passing out from the cold. If your toes are happy, the rest of your body is happy, and if your body is happy your brain will flood with creativity. In theory.
You will get hungry, and you won’t always feel like stopping for half an hour to make lunch. Mid-morning snacks are friends! I know that snacking can be seen as a ‘bad’ thing because you can overeat or whatever, but seriously, just eat a savoury muffin or a date scone and you’ll be right. I have lunch once my train of thought is finished; there’s nothing worse than stopping halfway through an amazing scene and coming back and forgetting where you were headed. (Okay, there are plenty of things worse than that, but for the sake of being able to snack, it’s totally valid.)
4/ A big happy mug for a big sunshiny cup of tea
Tea is the perfect one-second break between writing. Type out a few paragraphs, sip sip. Type out some dialogue, sip sip. Procrastination, sip sip. Sip sip. Sip sip.
5/ A playlist
Need one? I got you. I don’t like music that’s too upbeat or loud or I get distracted. I know a lot of people that prefer listening to classical music, but I can listen to chill acoustic beats with lyrics, so long as they’re actually chill. It’s nice to have something in the background so I’m not just sitting in awkward silence when I have nothing to write.
6/ A glass of water
I often get out of the writing bubble with a slight ache; not quite a headache, but a warning from my body (Sarah, what is this neglect, it cries). You’ve been staring at a screen and haven’t had something to drink for two hours. I keep a glass of water at my desk and try to refill it every time I leave my room.
*interlude as I take a big gulp of water* *trying to be a good role model here* (is it working?) (stay hydrated, campers)
This may be just me (because I blow my nose a lot), but there’s nothing more distracting than sniffing. *shudders*
8/ A good notebook
*read good as: pretty.
It’s no fun typing everything, not to mention hard to find one certain detail in the midst of a massive word document. I like planning my writing project in a notebook. Character looks and personality and conflicts, a description of every chapter, a timeline of conflicts and relationship growth, ages, birthdays. Everything that you need to know about the world you’re creating.
I also have a square pad of unlined paper that I keep on my desk so I can quickly scribble down an idea, a line of dialogue, a description, an editing note; anything small that I don’t necessarily need in my notebook, but so I remember for next time I go to write. What I write on this is usually one-off, so I’ll throw that piece of paper out after I’ve made the change in my novel.
9/ Mood board
I don’t do this aalll the time, but when I do I love it. It can help you narrow down character aesthetics, themes you want to get across, scenery; anything that makes you think of your book or that you want your book to become. It’s a way of getting visually inspired and visually capturing what you want your book to portray. I find it helps especially if I’m stuck and I need help making a character more realistic, or just trying to make the chapters/scenes flow together.
I actually have a mood board for my blog, and I looked at it just then and it made me happy. The colours, the themes; it really does show what you want in your project.
Stand in the sun, please go outside at least for minute; just do something, anything. There are two parts to this. First is, really take a break. You’ve been staring at a screen; go stare at some flowers, go for a quick run, do the groceries. Just something that gets you out of the screen-zone. Sometimes I even just do ten-minute exercises, just so my body has a bit of a stretch.
And secondly, I also like changing up my environment every now and then. I’ll do some writing in my room at my desk, then I’ll go out and write at our small dining table, which gets massive amounts of sun in the mornings, so it’s warm and always re-inspires me. I’ve written in coffee shops before, but you have to be in the mood for background noise. Generally just a quiet playlist is good for me; chatter can get too distracting. I’m also currently in Sydney, which has generated more ideas in my mind. Change it up, peeps!
I think just sitting in one spot though can sometimes get you stuck on one part; generally me moving to a different area of the house sparks something new and helps me figure out a scene or brings fresh ideas.
Well, I think that’s about it from me today. I’ve probably forgotten something important that this list needs, but I can’t think of anything and hey, a comfy jumper is on this list so I’m happy. Always jumpers. Always.
Have a good one, everyone