For us part timers, writing can be something that gets pushed aside and otherwise edited out of our busy schedules. I believe it is detrimental to the survival of our stories to both develop habits that advance us as story tellers (250 words a day?) and also have reminders set up around our house or work space that help us focus our minds on the task of writing. You know what I mean. All of a sudden, a month goes by and you are struck with a horrifying thought. I’ve only written about 50 words! Below are a few things that I have placed around my apartment to remind me of my goal everyday, no matter how busy my schedule can become. Welcome to my world.
First and foremost. My Moleskine journal and Parker Pen. These go with me everywhere and I’ve went through several. No matter if its the grocery store, a traffic jam, or a walk to the mailbox, I have a place to write down ideas when they strike or when I have a spare moment.
Okay, I am not trying to point out the obvious here, but this one should come as no surprise to any of you. Bookshelves filled with books. If this is not a given when pondering what inspires you to write I don’t know what is. After all, you are trying to write one of these.
If you did not already think I was a nerd, here is, once again, an obvious clue that I am one. I keep a collection of words in the back of my journals -complete with definitions- so as to expand my vocabulary. Not quite as fancy as laminated flash cards, but they do the trick. I collect expressions that hit a mood perfectly, and words I either do not know or have never thought of using before.
This next picture is of my L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter. I see it everyday as it sits on my dresser with a paragraph from Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon.This behemoth weighs about 40lbs. You may think, “Why would you keep a cast iron typewriter around?” My response, “Does cool need a reason?”. It is also another reminder of what I want to do.
Journals. I CANNOT stress enough how important it is to journal. Not just about writing, but about life. These particular journals span my college years to now (10 years). I hope to be able to keep going. It is tremendously satisfying to finish one. Also, if you are going to start a journal, remember to date your entries.
Ah, now these are things to be proud of. Here are books I have written. Some are novelettes (25,000 words or less) and my current novel (89,000+ words). I have my wife, writers group, and many many friends to thank for their completion.I am grateful to you all.
Ever wonder how a chapter takes form? Does it come out cleanly like a white shirt in a Tide commercial? No, no, no, and emphatically no. Most of the time its fools gold with bits of gold hidden inside. But its nice to have a place to organize it all beside my forgetful mind. This sits on the wall, right by my bed, so I will remember every night before I go to sleep that I am writing a novel.
So there’s a little insight into my writing life. I hope this can inspire you to get a notebook to always keep with you, a poster board from your local grocery store to start outlining, or to purchase a journal to help remember important life events. Writing is a thrilling thing, however fickle it can be.
Keep writing my friends.