I’ve finally decided on the plot, after three or four have been duly considered – I should be fine as long no alien abductions or teenage vampires creep in. They would not fit very well into 1909 North East England. I’ve got together a little kit, including a brand spanking new pencil case. For more ideas on a tool kit, have a read of Catherine Ryan Howard’s post here. I’ve read advice blogs, the best by far of which is here, and gathered my favourite writing advice books together.
What I’ve noticed as other writerly friends limber up for a month of madness, mania and mental agility is our tendency to accumulate Things to help or inspire us. I don’t mean the copy of Stephen King’s On Writing growing steadily more dog-eared or music ranging from soothing classical to raging metallic, although these things are important. I mean actual THINGS. If you follow @mruku on Twitter you will have noticed many references to his writing hat, and the considerable anguish involved. Catherine’s post, above, mentions a clicky pen – not to write with but to click incessantly to keep her fingers busy as well as her mind. I am only glad I’m not working in the same room, or I would have to throw her out of the window – sorry Catherine! (or force her to make me coffee constantly…)
I have a necklace. That’s it, in the picture. I tend to wear it when I want to feel inspired – not because I think it brings me luck or anything, but because one day I’m fairly sure I’m going to write a story featuring the necklace. It just looks like it should have a story. Like it has magical properties or something. Again, it’s not that I DO think it has magical properties, just that it looks like it should. I look at it, I start imagining a story, and the bit of my brain that fools me into thinking I can tell a story kicks in.
I always think writers should have a little quirk. Like a ritual or an possession or some little oddity like a writing hat. Something we can tell the interviewer from The Times when we are on the bestseller’s list for the fourth Christmas running. Something where we can tell our grandkids, “And Grandma always had to have her special necklace/pen/hat/coffee stirred three times anti-clockwise, four times clockwise then blessed with holy water, before she wrote a masterpiece.” And if I’m not on the bestseller’s list four Christmases in a row? I can blame the necklace. Obviously, it just wasn’t magical enough.
Anyone else got any oddities they’d like to own up to?