Top Ten Week: Top Ten Things I Need When Writing

Welcome to everyone's favorite month, January. It's not only special because all of you are busy trying to create the new year-new you versions of yourself, but it is also my birth month.

And sure, that was a shameless plug for happy birthdays, but really, it's on the 24th, so why not hold back until then? I digress...

This week each of us Leaguers will be tackling our own brand of Top Ten lists, maybe in tribute to bearded David Letterman's return to the small screen, I'm not sure.

I decided to tackle things I need when writing... so on with the show!

10. Notebook- in my fancy schmancy work backpack which is always at hand, I keep one handy. You never know when some inspiration is going to strike or when you're going to come across some detail in real life you want to use for your fiction. Once I decided to take writing seriously, there was a switch that went on in my head. Suddenly everything I saw was being video recorded by my brain because simply walking through life became a constant research opportunity for my writing. I prefer spiral bound, three hole punched, white with lines. I used to like legal pads, but they don't stay together too well. So there ya have it, notebook! Which of course leads to...

9. Pens- again, pretty much a "duh!" type of item for a writer, but a necessity. Here's my history with brief explanations:
On legal pads, I always preferred blue pen.. it just looked asthetically pleasing to me
When I started to take it all seriously, I went with fine tipped black felt tip markers. The ink seemed more permanent and stood out, which felt like the move of someone taking it seriously, don't you think?
Now I use pretty pens that use cartridges and have those fun comfort grips on them. I've been given several by my author friends as my success grows, and frankly, they DO make me feel like an all growed up author man

8. Large quantity of beverage within reaching distance- this may consist of either Diet Peach Iced Tea or Diet Pepsi, Wild Cherry edition. It's easy to find ways to distract myself from writing by taking multiple interupting trips to the kitchen, so I try to keep a pitcher or two liter close. I think this is a habit that kicks back old school to my tabletop RPG days.

7. Noise in the background. Only when I'm rereading or close editing do I prefer silence. Most of the time I like to have some form of something else playing. It used to be a lot of Chemical Brothers and electronica... I like a good music hook on repeat to put my mind in a freeing trance. Having the T.V. on helps sometime too... I grab bits and pieces of characters or settings from the ether when it's on. Lately, I've had G4's Attack of the Show on...

6. Research sources- or as I call it, Wikipedia. I used to play a lot of instruments, all of them with some degree of mediocrity, but we had a saying in the music world when trying to play a song and being close enough to the right notes, but no necessarily on them: "Good enough for jazz," is what we called it. That's my approach to research... I try to keep things on a need to know basis for my readers. I could spend hours reading up on the history of X, Y, and Z going for pure accuracy, but that's my problem. I'd never get any writing done... so I take a minimalist approach and turn to my trusty friend the interwebz for research help. This, I am sure, will eventually bite me in the ass.

5. Critique- The more I get published, the easier it is to feel more confident about my work, but it ain't because it's flawless the first time round, that's for sure! I need feedback from sources I can trust to give me brutally honest constructive feedback that comes in a quick manner. I've gotten lucky with this as I tend to friend brutally honest people, for better or worse... and with ever increasingly closer deadlines, I don't have time to fuck around, ya know?

4. Cheese curd. Okay, I don't really need this as such, but my arch nemesis in writing, Pat Rothfuss, is a curd hording bastard! If you see that bushy-bearded rapscallion, you tell him so!

3. PEZ. And lots of it. Sent by my rabid fans.

2. Balance- Write hard, play hard. Gotta keep it all fun... gotta remember to be social, to game like there's no tomorrow, and find the time to taunt Mark Henry about the fact that when you used to look up his title on Amazon, mine came up first.

1. A computer. This is obviously the single most important thing to me as a geek and writer. I can check my sometimes sloppy spelling, I can bounce multiple versions of it back and forth to keep it all safe should I ever crash, I can track changes and suggestions of my beta readers, send it to my editor, etc. I've been working on my laptop lately from the couch as the missus has taken over the regular PC in the house. I can remember my old electric typewriter days and hell, I probably would have given up on writing eventually with that... and my 600 pound word processor with the accordion stringed keyboard and odd sized disks that didn't jive with any other thing in the world. Don't miss them at all... so yea for my computer. *HUGS SCREEN*

Ahem... as you were...

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