Back to Life or Something Like It

I’ve been back in London for a few days and here I am again, tired. Tired. All. The. Time.

It’s cold and windy and I’ve been stuck on trains for significant chunks of time every day, which could do wonders for my daily word count, if only I wasn’t too tired to even entertain the idea of writing.

So instead, I spend my commute listening to writing podcasts (So You Want To Be A Writer is a favourite these days) and combing Rightmove for houses I can’t afford, in parts of London which give me nightmares to begin with.

So yeah. All fun and games aroud here.

In the few, guilt driven bursts of writing I’ve experienced this week, I’ve mainly been stuck.

After quite a bit of anticipation build-up, my two main characters are finally meeting. Now, I’ve really been waiting for this moment myself, but for some reason I’m finding it it very difficult to put the episode in writing. My POV character seems more drawn to the setting and to other secondary characters, and doesn’t show much interest in this other vital, central player. Which is to say that I don’t find her very interesting as a character myself. Or that I’m intimidated by her, or by the thought that I need to now take responsibility for the story of not one, but two complex characters, both vital to the plot. Either way, not ideal.

So all I’ve been doing is trying to get to know this second character a little better these days. I’m writing and rewriting her character sheet, telling the story from her point of view, I even put together a Pinterest board of things she likes! I can’t really tell if all of this is working just yet, but at least I’m still trying something, anything.

That’s it as far as living and writing goes these days. Off to work now and another day of stalking characters.

Happy writing, everyone!

Writing Tools: Gadgets I Swear By

People who know me know that I’m a little bit, just a tiny tiny tiny bit obsessed with everything pen and paper related.

I’m not one to deny myself the pleasure of a new pen, and I suspect that a significant, indecent even chunk of my salary is spent yearly on Moleskine hardcover notebooks. Nor am I beneath colour coordinating said pens and notebooks, as you do. (These days for instance I’m sporting a purple pen and Moleskine planner combo. Don’t judge.)

That said, when it comes to writing, real writing, I’m usually a technology-is-my-bff type of gal.

I travel a lot, and have been even more so during the last few months, so it’s really important to have a lightweight, complete collection of gadgets I can rely on whenever and wherever inspiration hits.

Below is a list of my go to gizmos, and situations in which they may each come in handy.

Oh and by the way, the links in this post are not affiliate links, which means that I don’t get a penny if you guys click on them. They’re just what I like and use on a daily basis, so don’t think I’m trying to sell you anything.

Ok, here we go.

Mr MacBook and all his friends

By far my writing weapon of choice is my laptop.

I have a 13 inch MacBook Air, and it’s actually a couple of years old now but it’s not given me any reasons to think about replacing it with a newer model just yet. Such a brilliant little toy! I use it for work, which means that most days I carry it in my backpack back and forth across London, so the fact that it’s lightweight and compact makes it the perfect choice for me. While I do use a second screen in the office, I don’t really need one when I do my writing, which means that I can write anywere around the house. I often end up writing in bed, just before going to sleep.

There are times though when even a dainty MacBook doesn’t feel portable enough. The events of the last few weeks have made it impossible for me to use my laptop. Abdominal surgery has meant not being able to sit at a desk for any length of time, and the weight of my laptop made it very difficult for me to keep it in my lap or lean it against my tummy. I have also been bed bound in hospital for a number of days, and didn’t have a breakfast tray table like the one I have at home, so using a laptop was simply not an option for a while.

So I’ve been heavily relying on my 9.7 inch iPad. So heavily that I wrote most of my exciting work in progress on it, and despite the fact that I feel a lot better a couple of weeks after surgery and could surely manage a laptop these days, I still turn to my iPad quite often.

Now, as most people living and working in London, I happen to be a commuter extraordinaire, if I say so myself. And on jam-packed Southern trains it’s not always practical to set up your little laptop/iPad-centered study-on-the-go. So on more than one occasion, I resort to tapping away on my phone. It’s not my favourite writing scenario, but it does the job, and in this day and age you really can’t get more portable than that.

Now, it does help that I use apps which sync seamlessly across all my devices, so I never have to worry about not being able to access my work, or bother with complex backup rituals. But this post is already getting a bit long, so I’ll probably tackle apps somewhere down the line.

Accessories make the outfit

Now, I’d of course be nothing without my tech bling.

While a laptop doesn’t require many accessories, apart from the odd charger anyway, a handful of well chosen addons can really bring a tablet or a phone to the next level.

And where best to begin, than with a keyboard. I’ve been using the Logitech Keys-To-Go bluetooth keyboard with my iPad for a few months now, and while it’s really pretty (I’ve got the red one! So cute!), super portable and generally has great reviews, well… GRRRRRRRRRRRR! At first I was very happy with it, but after a month or so it started acting up and making me want to cry just about half a dozen times an hour. It keeps randomly disconnecting a million times a day or so, so I’ll probably be hunting for an alternative soon. Fun. And. Games.

Now, an accessory I’m really happy with is this Osprey leather tablet pouch. I couldn’t find it on their website, so it might be part of an older collection. I got mine in TK Maxx and love it. I have a pale pink and tan leather model, with brilliant, fun, red rose print lining. What I really love about it is that it’s super handy when flying. It’s roomy enough to fit my ipad, headphones, portable keyboard, even my passport (and kindle, on one occasion!), so it’s just brilliant that you can take it out of your carry on bag before you store it in the overhead compartment, and you’ve got all you need right there in this compact little pouch. Have I mentioned how pretty and soft it is?

The next thing on my list are headphones. I don’t have favourites at the moment. In fact I don’t really have working headphones at the moment, believe it or not. I’m sure I’ve tried a million models and broke them all within weeks. Ignoring the one set of earplugs I dropped in my tea at work, all others have genuinely, out of the blue, just died on me. So now I’m using the basic Apple EarPods which came with my phone, but the right pod doesn’t work at all and anyway, I’ve always found them extremely uncomfortable. I do listen to music quite a lot while I write (more details in a future post) so you can imagine that I’m a sad, sad panda these days.

Ta-da! I think that’s it! Do let me know if there’s other awesome tech stuff you guys swear by in your writing endeavours, and also if you’ve got keyboard/earplugs reccomendations I’d love to hear them! In the interim, I’ll get back to my writing, it’s been a little too quiet on the book front in the last few days. ‘Later.

 

 

So I think I might be writing a book. Or something with words anyway. Maybe.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

Years, really. Oh god, I’ve been putting this off for at least a decade.

I’m that old.

Now, I haven’t not been writing all this time. I’ve been writing half stories and letters and diary entries, and mostly I’ve been playing around with a million too-meh-to-even-grab-a-notepad ideas, kidding myself that I was just waiting for the right story, and that unless the planets aligned just so and the right story came along, there was no point rushing into this writing thing.

In the interim, life happened. I’ve been happy and sad. Mostly happy.

Then towards the end of last year I jumped head first into this notorious adult thing, having to face an array of real, scary health issues. As you do.

And halfway through a fortnight away from work, deeply engulfed in Netflix and takeaway curries, it came to me. The right story.

It was nothing at first. A speck of a tale, really, a few jumbled half scenes, a sense of something it could grow into in a number eons of writes and rewrites and personal drama. Months went by and I kept telling the story to myself, adding bits and pieces along the way. I still hadn’t written a word, nor was I seriously planning to. But I had a feeling, just the shadow of a feeling at first and then as time passed a real, palpable, scary feeling that the words would come.

Fast forward to a few days back and I was recovering from surgery, hopelessly sunken into my Netflix and takeaway patterns again.

On Sunday morning I sat at my laptop and wrote a little over 1,500 words. Monday came with another 2,500 and by Tuesday evening I had 5,694 real, actual-pixels-on-a-screen words and the bones of the first three chapters of this… thing.

I had never written 5,000 words of something, anything, in my life.

I had never written the word Chapter before, and now I had not one, not two, but three of them, and they weren’t even alone on the page.

I know it’s nothing. Well, that’s a lie. It’s not nothing. It’s something. It feels like something. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep up the pace. I might get bored, tired, or decide that a life of Netflix and butter chicken is in fact the way to go for me. It might get so bad that I never write a word again. All of those things are a possibility.

But right now, right at this moment, this feels like something. Something good.