The sun's shining in from my left and the kettle is directly ahead. My decrepit laptop whirrs beneath my fingers as I rest them on the smooth, black keys. It's Saturday and therefore, I have an entire day to myself.
The conditions couldn't be any better. Today, it's the 1st of April -- and it's finally time to write.
Here are the items I consider to be essentials for the month of Camp NaNoWriMo:
2) Scrivener -- Scrivener is my programme of choice for writing. Like everyone ever, I started out using a simple word processor. But once you try the wonder that is Scrivener, it's difficult to look back. Created for writers, by writers, this programme comes with a cork board for scene cards, a binder that allows you to see your entire project at the same time and a split screen feature, giving you the power to have two separate documents open side by side, or one above the other. Last year, I spoke to Anne of Scrivener Virgin, where I went into more detail about my favourite features of Scrivener and how I use it to help me write.
3) Coffee -- the wonder drink. A writer's best friend and the holy grail of imagination. Not only do I enjoy the taste of coffee immensely, but it gives me just the right amount of kick to get my fingers tapping away at the keys. Aside from the occasional cup of tea, coffee is my beverage of choice when it comes to writing. But it has another great benefit, aside from the obvious things I've mentioned above. Making coffee is part of my pre-writing ritual. When that kettle is boiling, my muse sits up and listens. Whether I'm spooning granules straight into a cup or stirring my cafetiere, something clicks in my brain. And my muse (or my internal editor) knows it's time to get down to business.
4) Pinterest -- Pinterest is a great place to go when you're looking for inspiration. It's where I go when my imagination begins to wither, or I've got an idea forming that still has lots of blank areas to fill. All you have to do is search for a word or a phrase, say... trolls, and Pinterest will produce pages and pages of troll related pictures. You can also save the pictures that you like best in dedicated folders. I like to have a Pinterest folder for all my main fiction projects, if only to give people an idea of what to expect. It's pretty spiffy, but be warned -- once you open that Pandora's box, you'll have a hard time putting it away!
5) Spotify --some people write better with a little music in the background. If you're one of those people, then Spotify is definitely something that you need to check out. This programme gives you free access to virtually any song you can think of. The app allows you to play music on the go and the only limits are the occasional adverts, which you can remove by becoming a premium member. Personally, I like to mix it up a bit. As the mood calls I switch from silent, concentrated writing, to a little relaxed typing with background music when my muse is feeling bored or tired. I have personal playlists ready to go.
6) My Favourite Snacks -- when I'm writing, I like to pick. Comfort food is the key to keeping my muse happy and if my muse is happy, then I'm going to write for longer. At least, that's what I tell myself as I'm tucking into a 'sharing' bag of beefy puffs. Sometimes, I use tasty snacks on a reward basis for completing paragraphs. Other times, (who am I kidding? Most of the time...) I simply enjoy their flavour.
7) iPad -- this is a bit of a strange essential to have on top of a laptop. But actually, it helps me a great deal. Having recently bought Scrivener for iOS, I can now switch between my laptop and my iPad at will. My project is synced to my Dropbox from one machine to the other, so no matter what I choose to use for writing with I can continue with a fully updated project.
But why would I want to do this, you might ask? Well, when I'm sat at my laptop for long periods of time, I often get restless. Once I enter this frame of mind it's much harder to be productive, and very often, this is when I start to scroll through Twitter, and check my emails, and read an article or two, or three, and... well, you get the gist. Now when this happens, I pick up my iPad, move to a new location and continue my project from there. With a different view of your words, not only does this convince your brain that you're almost starting afresh again, but it's easier move around with or get comfy.
8) Comfy Socks -- this one is purely for comfort. I can't stand having cold feet, so I like to wear nice thick socks whatever the weather. Side note: in Wales, we don't really get summer, but 'summer'). For writing, having toasty feet is especially important to me. With this in mind, number eight on my list of essentials for Camp NaNoWriMo has to be a pair of the thickest, fluffiest socks imaginable. Try it yourself. You'll thank me for it!
Well, those are mine. But what about you? Have I missed anything important? Sound off in the comments below!
Author of short fiction and journals for writers.