Underwire support

(Crossposted from Silk And Shadows)

Currently working on: Scrubbing the toilet
Mood: Swirly blue

I’m done with UNDONE!  Book 4 of the Marked Souls — BY DARKNESS UNDONE — is in the hands a.k.a. inbox of my wonderful editor as of 5 a.m. today. Yeah, that’s the reason this blog post is late.

I am a quivering pile of goo. Too much chocolate does that to me, despite years of resistance training.

You’d think with all the excuses to eat chocolate, writing would be easy. I’m here (despite the best efforts of Book 4 characters to kill me) to say, Ha! It’s long hours (in the case of Book 4, a three-day weekend of all-nighters to put on the finishing touches) and they can be lonely hours, because despite my best efforts to get my critique partners to write the damn book for me, I’m the only one who can get those words on the page. So in the end — or should I say to The End — it’s just me and my computer.

I thought I’d share a look at my post-three-day all-nighter session that ended this morning. This is how I set up my space to provide “under the wire” support when deadlines are looming:


Since Thursday afternoon, I got up from that stupid chair only long enough to use the bathroom and walk the dog. If I could’ve convinced the dog to use the bathroom, I wouldn’t’ve even needed to walk the dog.

Here are the supportive elements of my creative space:

1. Coffee pot and coffee mug
I don’t drink coffee. XY will be very annoyed when he realizes where his coffee has gone. But desperate times call for coffee measures. Coffee measured by 1/4 cup-fulls with heaping spoonfuls of hot cocoa mix. The stainless steel French press holds warmth too, so when my numb fingers need a break, I can wrap them around the coffee pot.

2. Scrunchie
I’d be bald from pulling out all my hair as I scream at my recalcitrant characters, so a scrunchie is a good thing. Also, you can go two extra days without showering if you have a scrunchie. That’s, like, 25 extra writing minutes.

3. My computer
You’d think my computer would be number 1, but really caffeine and sugar and number 1. Sticky notes start to appear on my computer the longer the story goes on. The ones down the left side list the page numbers of each chapter. I keep track of that so that I have a physical representation of the book’s progression. The note on the top of the computer reads “Tell the Story.” Seems silly to think I need to be reminded of that since I’m already sitting in front of the freakin’ computer. But I do.

(Note the blank screen. Pretty much every day is a blank screen.)

4. Paper and pen
For some reason, I still keep a lot of my notes to myself on paper. Some of the important notes for Book 4 included: a list of everybody killed in Book 3; the quantum states of good and evil; and the word “orange juice.” I didn’t use orange juice in the story so I’m guessing I need to go to the grocery store.

5. Snacks and water glass
Many writing resources say we shouldn’t snack at our desks and we should replace snacking with drinking water. They are so right about drinking water. Having to pee means your kidneys are still working despite all the chocolate. Because, honestly, they must be kidding about the no-snacking thing. The near-empty container on my desk is dark chocolate mint creams. With minty snacks, you can go two extra days without brushing your teeth. That’s, like, five extra writing minutes.

6. Resource books
Despite (because of?) being a writer, I often run out of words. So I keep my dictionary, my thesaurus and a baby name book close at hand.

7. Cordless phone
Some writers just don’t answer the phone when they are hot on the tail of The End. I find I can more conveniently ignore people when I know whose call I’m not answering.

Now if I could just find someone to sit in that chair, my work here would be done…

Do you have a must-have element in your day to be productive and creative? What do you do if you can’t have it?


One thought on “Underwire support

  1. Pingback: A tangled web « Terri Patrick's Blog


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