I like to be set up for whatever I might need – I always grab a couple of books by authors I admire to dip into if somewhere along a paragraph I forget what I’m doing, right now I have Book One of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, the second book in Lev Grossman’s Magician’s trilogy and C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I always have a few magazines at hand as well, you never know what might spark you.
In that tradition, I keep a corkboard right above me with various things, art postcards from museums, photographs, business cards from places I liked, art from mail I’ve received. I have some clips on the wall filled with older ephemera – I shuffle things around when I’m bored at looking what I have.
I drink a lot of different liquids when I write. I start with coffee and journaling – it’s always easier to face yesterday’s decisions and today’s plans with coffee. Then I have some fresh squeezed citrus mixed with apple cider vinegar and soda water, and when I finish that, it’s usually a reasonable hour to pour a glass of wine or make a cocktail. Usually, at that point, I’m editing the day’s work, and I start reading sections out loud to myself, keeping notes on what I might change in a separate text document. I don’t know why, but I need Word, Google Docs, and TextEdit all open at once.
I also keep candy close, only one kind out at a time so I don’t gorge myself. Right now it’s Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch, a variant I picked up in a Dumbo candy shop, but in the past it’s been Dum Dum suckers, strawberry wafer cookies, salmon jerky, a box of gummy snacks…
I like to keep reference books open as well – the novel I’m currently working on concerns fairies and magic, so I have Katharine Brigg’s Encyclopedia of Fairies and Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs open, just in case.
My typewriter is a ‘64 Royal Safari bought at a yard sale in San Francisco – it’s portable, perfect for my project where I write unique short stories for passersby by request. I also accept orders on my website, so I do some typewriter story writing at home. Each of those stories is half of a piece of paper. Somewhere in my drawers are some “Story Cubes” if I get stuck on a request for a freestyle story. I still can’t write stories the same day I work on my novel, unfortunately, so I have to decide which I’m going to work on. My hours vary. I usually respond to e-mail, tweet, and text during this time as well. My view is, writing is writing. I can’t beat myself up for enjoying my connections with humans when I should be connecting to the page.
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