One thing Carol and I have learned over the last few years of our writing career is that every author has their own way of doing things. We all know about the plotters vs. the pantsers. Some people like to get their word count in before noon and others get the most wordy around 3am (where my late-night ladies at?) Some people use fancy computer programs to organize their novels and other people still like to scribble their first draft out on paper using this crazy thing called a pen.
Here are a couple things that Carol and I love to use to help us when we’re writing. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, a early bird or a night owl, a techy or a fossil, these two things can help you, too!
I know some people like to sit at a desk to write. Others might enjoy typing those plot twists while sipping coffee from the kitchen table. Me, I like to write wherever the spirit moves me. If I sit in the same spot for too long, all my creativity and attention disappear. My laptop makes it easy to be on the move and my trusty lap desk makes it even easier. Thanks to my lap desk, I can turn anywhere into my office. If I feel like hanging out on the couch, I can snuggle next to my pooch or my husband and still work at the same time. Chilling out and writing some tear-jerker moments from my deck is no problem thanks to my lap desk. I can even get some snappy dialogue written from the comfort of my bed, like in the picture up above! I even do my pre-writing/plotting using my lap desk, a notebook, and *gasp* a pencil!
You can get yourself something with cup holders or built-in mousepads. Some have clip-on lights and others have fans to keep your laptop cool when you’re typing like a madwoman. I love that there are so many options to personalize it to your needs!
What in the world can claim to be both tacky and stylish? Clingy yet liberating? Gummy but not gooey? If you haven’t guessed, I’m going to just tell you the answer. Post-it notes!
As an obsessive list-maker, the only thing better than writing a list is writing another list (or seven) and then stacking the lists. (I love you plain paper, but without sticky residue you’re just a sheet blowing in the wind.) I need to stack my lists and I need them to stay put.
Some of you might also relate to the “someday soon” list. This is a list of items that aren’t particularly urgent but still need to be done. Sticky notes offer the someday soon list-maker an almost endless opportunity to
procrastinate get things done! The list can easily be shuffled through a calendar or daily planner from one day or week to the next, thereby allaying my your guilt at my your personal lack of stick-with-it-ness. I’ve even “heard” that these someday soon lists can travel through a calendar for months, repeatedly re-attaching here and there, reaffirming that someday I am you will get all caught up!
On a deeply personal level, here’s why I love them the most. Sticky notes are the key tool in my plotting world. Now, I’m not a huge plotter, per se, in that I don’t sketch out entire scenes before I start writing. But I do know what is going to happen (or what should happen) at various stages of my story. I also like to write scenes out of order.
Sticky notes help me keep track of every scene, those written and those yet to be. I started this system a few years ago, but after a workshop at my local RWA chapter with talented and clever Farrah Rochon I took it to another level with, you guessed it, color-coded POV sticky notes. Blue for my hero, pink for the heroine, and green or yellow for scene ideas that have yet to be written.
Each square on the poster board is a chapter. Each note inside a square contains a basic outline of a single scene and its purpose. You can move them around, stack them, remove them from the board for later use and, yes, sometimes even throw them away *gentle sob* It’s like Scrivener for Dummies. I love Scrivener and I’ve used it for a few projects now but still can’t abandon my hands-on approach.
Here’s a photo of my last complete project. Note the end is a little barren as I tend to race toward the finish when I reach about two-thirds of the way through the story. At that point, I’m mainly using sticky notes to remind me of important things like calling my mom and brushing my teeth.
Well, there you have it. Two things these two writers love. What’s your tool of the trade? What’s that one thing that make writing just a little bit easier for you? Sharing is caring!
Carol and Amy are thrilled to have new Heartwarming novels coming out next month! Check them both out here.