Monday, 21 March 2011

Reader Request: Security Blankies

First, I have to apologize for how sporadic my blog posts have been lately. Honestly, I can't even remember the days when I used to blog seven days a week! I wish I could still do that, but I haven't got as much time on my hands anymore. That said, I'm going to try and work up some kind of blog routine with regular features and posting days - more on that soon.

As for today's post, it's something many of you will be familiar with as I'm pretty darn sure I've seen other 'writing aids' posts out there. But blog reader Jamie sent in an email asking me to talk about my most-needed writing aids, so here it is. 

Some kind of drink
I would add 'and something to nibble on', only, after this post, I think we all get the idea that I can go hours without nibbling simply because I've forgotten to.But I do need something to drink: be it hot tea, water, a fruit smoothie, Coke or something extremely alcoholic. Any of the above goes. 

Again, my 'how I work' post will have showed you that I can listen to the same song for hours on end without noticing it, but even so, I need music to work. Sometimes I listen to a playlist for a particular book. Sometimes I just listen to the same song over and over because it has the right mood or atmosphere or because I've just tuned out. Either way, when I'm writing, I usually have a totally outdated version of Winamp open alongside - or Youtube. 

My laptop fan
Because my laptop is an absolute piece of tripe and overheats if you use more than one measly program at once. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have had to rewrite paragraphs because my laptop's turned off before I could save something. No fan, no work.

Note to self: must get new laptop when I am rich and famous. 

Goes without saying, doesn't it? Or so one would think. Sadly, I have fallen prey to the whole 'taking your clothes off for a shower, then sitting down to check an email before going in, then being struck by a brilliant flash of inspiration, then writing whilst scarcely clothed for the next three hours' syndrome. This would not be a problem, except writing while scarcely clothed means that when you return to reality, your fingers are stiff with cold and your butt hurts.

Familiar with this? No? Sigh, I must just be weird. 

Visual inspiration
This, I must admit, is not always necessary, but it helps me no end. I like having something moody or atmospheric to look at while I'm working. When my brain starts to drift away, looking up at the visual something pinned behind my laptop often brings me straight back to totally-inspired-and-raring-to-go. Right now this inspiration is a print I found after some random browsing online:

I think it's eerie and sensual and beautiful. The photo is by Heather Landis and she has some other great work uploaded at that link.

And that's my list of security blankies, my cannot-do-withouts when writing.

What do you need at hand when you're doing your thing?


  1. I always have something to drink because when the glass is empty I get up and fill it and that passes for exercise. We are supposed to take short breaks from working in front of a computer screen you know. I always play music, usually classical or a soundtrack, nothing with words though – too distracting; just now I’m listening to a CD of Ravel’s music for solo piano, nice floaty stuff. I also need a laptop fan and my machine is only a year old and it wasn’t that cheap. It just gets hot in here with the lamp on and the door closed. I don’t need anything else bar what I’m working on. The TV can be on with the sound down and I’ll completely ignore it but I usually leave it on because again occasionally something will catch my eye and we’re supposed to do that too, look away from the screen ever so often.

  2. Love the photo - beautiful indeed. Sadly, the first thing it made me think of is that new advert for Katie Price on Sky... ugh.

    I cannot write without my Vaseline lip balm nearby. It's a must!

  3. That photo's pretty fantastic, reminds me of Wither's cover, that dark, gothic atmosphere.
    - Sophia.

  4. Definitely the music, although Hart would say clothes are optional.

  5. What a beautiful picture! I can forego clothes, food and drink but I have to have the heater plugged in and some good tunes. xxx

  6. I like that you have a routine that helps you get in the mood. Maybe that's what I need, too.

  7. I really don't have many writing aids--except a keyboard. I can write longhand, but I like to be able to edit something fast.

  8. Just some inspiration really! I don't write enough to have formed any sort of settled habits.

  9. Beautiful photo! I need my notes and ancient Thesaurus near at hand. I also need it to be quiet, no music...which distracts me as I start to hum and sing along.

  10. Yes something to drink with a touch of sweet! my other writing security blankets are, if at all possible, a fire in our wood stove and my recliner next to it (the recliner that fits me and my laptop perfectly).

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