Journal#18: Tools of the trade (and mantis wrists)

Having a space to write has always been important to me. Like most, I’ll have times where slumping on the sofa works best, or when taking my laptop to an armchair with a handy side table for many cups of tea is just what I need.

But really I do struggle when I don’t have somewhere to go to. It’s like being able to switch off one part of my brain and activate another. And having to pack away all my notes (I’m a compulsive note-maker) and maps is just another reason to not set up work the next day if I’m tired or short on time.

I used to have a little study, a whole little room dedicated to wordsmithing. But now that room has been taken over by a little boy and all of his things, so for a while I was a floater, moving from chair to chair, angling notepads on notepads as I tried to edit by current novel (hereby known mysteriously as ‘M’). This probably works fine for a lot of people, but I’ve struggled to get back into the groove from my little break after N’s birth.

BUT – wonders of wonders – I now have a desk again! We’ve managed to shuffle about some of the stuff in our only spare room, which is now a weird double office, linen cabinet, coat cupboard, craft supplies station, and cat room. But still, I have a space! And it’s allllll miiiiiiine.

Here it is! I’ve blurred out the plans in my notepad because *MYSTERY* and I actually don’t think I’m allowed to talk about it yet.

(Wondering who that weird little creature is on the left? He’s a puppet I finished making last week, and I have plans for that little character that’ll feature in a future blog… 😉)

And while I’m at it, I thought I’d share a few more of my tools of the trade, since I now have an opportunity to bring them all together again.

In a recent panel with Aliya Whiteley, we both agreed that every new project needs its own notebook. And like a lot of stationary hoarders, I have quite a few to choose from now, though I’m on a self-initiated ban at the moment. Though if you’re not, I really recommend TK Maxx for quirky notepads and Cult Pens and The Journal Shop for classic and timeless supplies that’ll last you years.

But, despite me setting up a new notepad or two for each project, I do have one that I come back to time and time again. This Midori Traveler’s Notebook was actually a gift from a collector when I used to make and sell a lot of artwork. I treasure it, and refill it regularly so it’s my official ‘editing book’, or ‘the brown book’ as I call it. It means that even if I know there’s a long and difficult job ahead of me, I’ve been there and done it before. Even when I just hold the book in my hand, I remember times when being overwhelmed with edits quickly turned into the feeling that I CAN DO THIS. And then I did. It’s brilliant.

And that is my PEN OF THE MOMENT. I’ve got such a soft spot for a nice pen, particularly a fountain pen, and normally each project gets its own pen too. This one was an anniversary gift from my husband and it’s designed to look like sea glass. Beautiful!

Also, no planning or editing session is complete without stacks and stacks of coloured pencils. Seriously, I have a problem. From watercolour pencils to oil-based blendables – colours help me see patterns and make sense of a lot of information at once. There’s probably a name for that. If anyone knows what it is, let me know!

And then finally for this post, I couldn’t list my writing essentials without including some giant paper. In this case, piles of these A2 notepads from The Works. Because big ideas need big paper, you know.

One thing that’s on my wishlist that I need to find is a nice laptop stand, so I’m not going to end up with the wrists of a praying mantis by the time I’m 40. Any recommendations would be great! Extra points for anything handmade or fair trade!

What can’t you write without? Or are you one of those creatives who needs nothing other than their own brain to produce incredible stuff? If so, I envy you. But in the meantime, I do like my stuff.

Thinking of taking up the pen yourself? From writing poetry to novel-writing, find out more in my collection of blog posts dedicated to being a writer.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. sopantooth says:

    Mantis wrists, I’ve not heard that phrase before, love it


    1. I just made it up, but it seems pretty accurate!


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