Monday, 19 November 2012

Chapter-Writing Survival Kit: Chapter Three Edition

You can find my must-haves for chapters one and two if you follow the links.

1.  Notebooks!  I've been keeping a small notebook with me for the last year or so to write down my daily to-do lists, track my hours, jot down ideas or library call numbers but all of sudden, I've become a notebook fiend.  I've been using medium soft-cover Moleskines for the last couple months to jot down ideas, brainstorming, lists of books to read, rough paragraphs, lists of quotations and page references - all the messy-ish work that goes into writing a chapter.  I used to do this on loose leaf but I think that began to feel too serious or formal or finished.  If it goes in a notebook, I have permission to do unfinished writing and thinking.  Also, they're fun to carry around.  I like the feeling of them.  I like the heft of a nice black Bic pen in my hand.

Please don't mock my terrible penmanship.  I can handwrite quickly but only I can usually read the scrawl.  This is something I wrote up two days ago, outlining my thoughts for Chapter Four.  This excercise, helped by multiple colours of pens, helped me to realize that I had a much better idea of what I wanted to cover in this chapter than I thought I did.  So, hurrah to notebooks!

2.  CBC Radio.  This is also a weird one.  For years, I've enjoyed listening to music while I worked - school-work, novel-writing.  I can happily listen to music with English lyrics; I know some people can't. I think Philip Pullman has said in interviews he can't listen to music at all, because it throws off the rhythms in his head.  But writing this chapter, for some reason talk radio was my go-to for a background track to run through my head.  I'm not sure how much radio I actually absorbed, but I learned some interesting things from the many episodes of As It Happens, Ideas, Quirks and Quarks, and The Sunday Edition I listened to.  I think it also made me feel not quite so far from home and, when Tim is at work, less all alone in the flat (?)  Hard to say.

3.  This isn't to say that music didn't help me a great deal.  It did.  I listened to and enjoyed the new Kamelot album, Silverthorn, towards the end of this chapter, plus the usual mix of Florence + the Machine and classic rock.

4.  In the beverage department - hot chocolate and chai.  Hot drinks make writing so much more fun.

5.  Also, going down the road to our local Costa for coffee after Tim is done work.  Sometimes it's just really nice to have a change of scene, a place that feels less like "work".

(I think I had ten things in my survival kit for each of the last two posts in this series.  I can't think of ten this time.  Alas.)

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