Friday, March 21, 2014

Writerly Roundup

What are some things that help you with your writing? I've got a list of things that I appreciate.
Sunshine ... on my notebook ... makes me happy!

First, my toolkit. This is a very unofficial collection of items, carefully curated over the years and composed of things that I find myself turning to, no matter how many other writing tools I have to move out of the way to get to them. My list of most valuable pieces:

  1. Moleskine notebooks with the soft cover and the grid-printed sheets. The technical name for these is "Moleskine Cahier Navy Blue Extra Large Squared Journal," but no matter what you call them, I call them perfect. I use them for notes and have recently forsaken the paper day planner notebook that I researched and purchased in favor of a calendar of my own making in the grid of this notebook. I also use them to write either horizontally or vertically, depending on what I'm writing down, be it to-do lists or projects or whatever. And when I'm bored, I doodle in the squares. I splurged on the 3-pack (anytime you spend $20 on notebooks it's a splurge) several years ago and have been using these same sturdy notebooks ever since.
  2. For writing in my notebook, I prefer the blue Bic Crystal ballpoint pen. Medium point, I think. It's the one I will move all my other pens out of the way to find. The ink flow ratio is perfect and I absolutely love it when the paper in a notebook gets all crinkly from writing, and only a ballpoint pen gives it that feel. It feeds the OCD part of me.
  3. For editing my own writing or others, I turn to the red PaperMate Flair felt-tip pen. For a little while I was unable to find these, so now whenever I do find them, I buy them. I've got stashes of them everywhere (the true sign of an editor?). If I'm working with my critique group, I might use a less-harsh green or orange, maybe even purple or pink if I'm feeling jaunty. When plotting a NANOWRIMO book I picked up a collection of multi-colored Flair pens but as the project is languishing, I think that was just my subconscious justifying the purchase of said pens.
Next is ambiance. Maybe it's the spring fever talking, but sunshine is my friend right now. There's nothing that makes me happier right now than sitting in the sun (inside or out) and writing in a notebook. Well nothing except that and a giant cup of coffee. My current favorite writing place is in front of the large windows in my dine-in kitchen, where the walls are bright yellow and the windows face south. In another month or two, Oklahoma will ensure that the blinds stay closed most of the time, in a vain effort to keep the room cooler; but for now, I'll take the sun.

Great writing advice. Especially that which is provided by Chuck Wendig. He's the foul-mouthed genius and self-proclaimed freelance Penmonkey behind the Terribleminds blog. He's also the prolific writer of many titles, including 250 Things You Should Know About Writing, 500 Ways to Be a Better Writer, 500 Ways to Tell a Better Story and 500 More Ways to Be a Better Writer, among others. I've got these 4 e-book titles and highly recommend them if you are not offended by swearing and like straight-forward, intelligent advice.

Jazz is good. Jazz on vinyl is sublime.
More great writing advice--this one provided by Oklahoma blogger Marie Wreath on the Oklahoma Women Bloggers site. Under the theme of travel, Marie shared a senses inventory exercise, wherein she assesses all that she can hear, see, feel, smell, taste, touch and think at a given moment in time. I've yet to sit down and complete this exercise (it's spring break; my brain cells are far too divided) but I've been noticing myself taking this inventory as I go about my day. What a wonderful way to get present in the moment.

Remember when I said my brain cells were far too divided? Well, we all know that nothing soothes the savage breast like music, and currently when I need to focus, I'm digging instrumentals. Not like in the elevator music of old, but other music of old, like jazz. I got a record player for Christmas, and have since picked up some new/old vinyl--including a Miles Davis LP. I've listened to Kind of Blue for a long time when I needed that clear head space, figured it was time to branch out a bit. I've also discovered classical, which I've never really dipped too far into. But then I discovered these classical music collections on Amazon.com for a pittance (under $3 each for 100 songs) and I've built quite a collection. A great investment.

1 comment:

  1. I love writing with felt tip pens in a variety of colors. I really enjoy having a place to prop up my feet when I write--whether it is on a computer or in a journal. There's something about being able to prop my feet. Lastly, I need something to drink and a bit of chocolate.

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