Happy New Year and welcome to the first installment of Three Things Thursday! Each week I’ll chat about three things buzzing around in my head.
This week is all about the three things I can’t write without.
Every new story starts with one of these. It requires no power cords. It’s annoying if it gets wet, but data can be recovered. It’s not a big deal if it gets stolen. Sure, I’d be pissed if someone nabbed my notes, but if they can decipher my handwriting, they’re welcome to try. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s what you do with them that counts.
I also find going analog is the best way to tell my inner editor to shut up. With the internet a click away, and an ever-present delete key looming in the upper right hand corner, computers are too distracting. I’ll stop in the middle of an exciting action scene to spend an hour on the internet looking at exotic weaponry. Research is great, but there’s a time and a place for it. Using a notebook helps keep me focused and in the moment.
The best thing about pen and paper is organization. Come to an impasse with the angels? Leave them at home and take the werewolf book. Hell, get reckless and take both! I gotta warn you though, using notebooks can become addictive and will take over every surface in the house.
Write drunk, edit sober. I wouldn’t offer this advice to everyone, but it seems to work for me. Whiskey is the quickest, most delicious way to shut down the inner editor and get inside my character’s head. Of course, there’s a limit to this. If too much whiskey is consumed, then handwriting becomes illegible and that super cool idea that seemed so awesome the night before makes no damn sense in the morning. My golden zone is two whiskey doubles with a couple of cubes and a pint of ginger ale on the side. When I’m feeling a little classy, or trying to channel a character with a snobbish side, red wine works much the same way. I DO NOT recommend having both in one evening. Pick one and stick to it. Your stomach will thank you later. Trust me!
A lot of writers need quiet to work. I’m the opposite. Silence is my Kryptonite. I have plenty of quiet during the day while the family is away at school and work, but it rarely ends in a productive word count. There’s too many distractions, like Netflix, Skyrim, clutter in the bedroom, or dirty dishes in the sink. Instead of sinking into a Law & Order rerun vortex, I head for a local cafe. These days it’s a place up the block that has great salads and hot chocolate to die for. When the weather warms up it’s a place a little further away that’s perfect for people watching.
The ambient noise of a busy cafe hits all my happy notes. There’s the staff chitchatting with each other, regulars showing up for a caffeine fix, and other people tapping away on laptops, all contributing to a pleasant buzz. Before I know it, there’s a thousand words on the page.
Daytime at the bar yields the same results. Day drinkers are a different breed from the happy hour or late night people. We’re there to work, not socialize. After a quick exchange of hellos, we retreat to our various corners with laptops, sketchbooks, tablets, or notebooks, and let whatever music the bartender’s playing provide the atmosphere.
I hope you enjoyed this first peek into my head. Come back next week for three more random things.