Must-haves of a writing indie …

… as I see it 😉

Every writer who takes her craft seriously will have several “must-haves”, things she needs in order to function. These things can be technical, surroundings, supply, support, references …

I’ve been asked several times (and am always SO curious to see how other writers do it!) which things I need to be able to work properly. So let’s assume it’s a normal working day, and here’s my setup for writing/editing: First, an aerial view (and this is the tidy version…omg!): img_20160926_121833For your orientation: I sit on that orange thingy, window at my side, and the wooden box is for tired feet (I rarely sit, I mostly slouch there, it’s supposed to be better for the back …). The red mat is for yoga, the boxes contain my “Tilda” paperbacks for bookstores and readings, and the lovely old typewriter on the blue chest is a gift from my best friend to celebrate “Tilda’s” release. 🙂 Oh, and the beer bottle on the Viking shelf is purely for research reasons and a gift!!

  1. Surroundings: I can write in several places, but need to focus, and prefer peace and quiet. No music. So ideally I’m in my office, or maybe some tranquil spot, alone. A café can work, too, but it mustn’t be too busy and loud. Here’s what my desk looks like as we speak: img_20160926_111914 Yes, I’m fond of notebooks, ToDo-lists, and post-its. It can be overwhelming, but I try to go through them and tidy up regularly 😉
  2. Technical: I write notes by hand, into that leather-bound notebook to the left, or just on a slip of paper or even into my phone. Then every story is created and edited in Scrivener, which I think is just brilliant and a total must-have! I use BackInTime to save my work daily and keep previous stages secure. I also save to my phone from time to time and have two harddrives in my laptop. There are still moments of horror when I fear one day all my work may just go “poof” and disappear in an invisible cloud of void …
  3. Reference: As you can see on the left, the punctuation book is always at hand, as is the Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman/Puglisi, and several other books behind me on shelves. It’s a good feeling to have paper-reference at hand sometimes. There’s also always the Historical Atlas of the Vikings, in the middle there, a brilliant book of maps and timelines, and Short’s Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques (for a quick look at sword-fighting techniques, proper terminology, duel-moves etc…). img_20160926_112057You’ll have spotted the pile of other books and papers behind it; that’s for the current WIP, and can change. For “Birth of a Shieldmaiden” I had several books on Viking Haithabu/Hedeby at hand, and maps and printouts of the settings I need there. I try to keep notes for every story (as I write short stories, too, I am working on several at a time) on one pile each 😉 Other reference material, like name-lists, translation of Old Norse etc. are online, of course. As are my one or two Viking history advisors whom I talk to regularly about all things Viking and the flaws in my plots. Unfortunately, they didn’t agree to live under my desk 😉
  4. Inspiration: VERY important for longer works. You all know my muse, that little Norwegian Fosse-troll by now. He’s at my side, with that wild hair and cheeky grin. Apart from that, I use the visual help of a moodboardimg_20160926_112115 that I made myself, for “Shieldmaiden”, so I have the people and settings in front of me. It’s so very helpful when creating a scene, an atmosphere, or describe looks (and there’s an owl-calendar in the corner, just to keep me focussed and wise …)
  5. Supplies and relaxation: I need fluids for work. A big coffee or tea, water always. A light snack, nuts or yoghurt. Then there’s this wonderful, cosy sofa in the corner of my study. I go there for early-morning inspiration, just lying and dreaming/plotting, away from the desk, and for a nap if necessary (the best ideas come right before falling asleep and right after waking, so this IS work, folks!). I also write and chat there, if sitting up at the desk gets tedious.img_20160926_121900 And what’s also essential, especially if I need inspiration or to solve a plot-problem: nature. The fields and forests nearby, where I go alone, to just walk or cycle, and think. It always helps! Oh, and not to forget my yoga-mat. I do yoga, and try to do so regularly, to calm and focus, loosen up, get fit … that’s the red thing and book under my desk in the aerial view.
  6. Support: Probably the most important “things” are the people supporting my writing and myself, the doubtful artist ;-). I have at least three very close writing friends (Elaine, Eremi, you know what I mean *kiss*) to whom I speak almost daily, and even more people who I can contact online if needed. I have two American editors for the last stages. Two or three reenactors for the early writing stages, with the practical knowledge to bounce ideas off of them (god, how I hate when they shake their heads, going “noo, this is a great idea, but by no means realistic …” hehe. I mean, if my Viking has to cut a rope to free a slave? Nobody would’ve noticed, right? But my Norse reenactor tells me to change that, because ropes were too valuable back then, he’d NEVER destroy that … sheeesh. I then decide whether to be strictly correct or keep the “slip-up” for entertainment-purposes…). But yeah: people: Writers, get yourself a nice network of understanding, lovely people, make them your friends, who will support and help you through all the emotional stages of your work! Can’t be underestimated … MY people dragged me out of many a hole up until now! Without people, I wouldn’t have survived …
  7. Did I forget anything? You can tell me your must-haves in your comments, please, I’m so looking forward to what YOU need to write or otherwise work artistically, and let me know if I missed anything that needs to be included – as you can see, there’s still a lot of space left on my desk for … erm … no, there’s not … 😉

HAPPY WRITING! diary_journal_book

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