by JT Ellison
I hope your day was lovely, and if you don't celebrate, you had a
good Hanukkah, or Festivus, or Boxing Day or Kwanzaa.
Now, for the PSA, aka BSP:
I got so caught up in my new "methods" that I neglected to share some rather important news. My third Taylor Jackson novel went on sale this past Tuesday, December 23. I feel like a right eegit for not sharing this news last week, so forgive me. I don't know what it says that I wasn't on top of this… it's the holidays, we're all preoccupied, I was way more worried about getting my edits turned in for EDGE OF BLACK, I'm a blithering idiot… whatever the cause, the fact remains. JUDAS KISS is available wherever fine books are sold. PW gave it a starred review, Romantic Times gave it 4 1/2 stars, it's a top pick at Romance Reader at Heart… and if that's not enough to convince you, it's only $6.99.
I'm doing a brief tour, and would love to see some of you out on the road.
Here endeth the PSA aka BSP.
Since I'm on vacation, at the beach (YAY!) I thought I'd wrap up the
series on my writing life with a discussion of tools and tips for
better organization, less stress and an all-around happier writer.
In a slight departure for David Allen's GTD, I decided to separate
out my creative and my business. Here's how I define it –Business is
online. Creative is what I physically write.
- My first, and most important tool, is my laptop, a Sony Vaio. It's
light, has a 14 inch screen and is my favorite laptop ever. You need to
enjoy both where you create and and what you create on. One day I may
move to a Mac (if they ever address the pesky backspace key issue.)
Until then, I'm a Vaio girl.
- The TO DO List – I got all excited about moving all of my day-to-day to do list and
calendar online, then realized I was defeating the purpose. If my lists
are online, then I have to be online to access them. I went back and
forth on this – online or paper, online or paper? I decided to stick
with the online versions – Remember the Milk for my to do list, Gmail
for my mail and Google Calendar for my appointments. All three tie
directly to each other and, more importantly, to my iPhone, and that's
just so much easier than dragging
around a day runner for me. My Google Reader goes to the iPhone too —
literally an all-in-one stop gap. If I lost it, I'd be in serious
iPhone – It's becoming a valuable tool for me. I can turn off the
wireless on my laptop, turning it into a dedicated writing machine, and
if I need a break or need to look something up, my iPhone is there. I
can glance at my email, Facebook, Reader, stocks, etc., taking five
minutes to gloss through everything. I find that I rarely surf on my
phone, which makes it the perfect substitute for being online on my
laptop, and limits the wasteful time.
- Two email addresses – one
for crap (online ordering and subscriptions to groups you don't follow
closely) and one for business. Some people break it out by friends and
business, but I find that the crap versus meaningful works best for me.
- Google Readers for RSS Feeds – I've turned off my daily newsletters from the newspapers and
other sites like Galley Cat, and use my Google reader to follow any
news I need throughout the day. It's so handy, because it can tell you
when something is new, and it's all in one place. I've become a big
proponent of all in one place.
- The Moleskine notebook – I've
never used a Moleskine before (sacrilege!) and I'm excited to have gotten one for
Christmas. I find that my notes get littered with creative ideas, and
my To Do Lists include titles, or my grocery lists and that latest
phone call get into my book notebook. I hope to use the Moleskine to
capture my creative thoughts – ideas on new books, snippets of dialogue
or scene, book titles, new characters – those ideas that go on Post-it
Notes, the scribbles in the middle of the night, the whole kit and
- A Circa notebook for the book – because I don't want the
distraction of all the notes in my Moleskine. The Circa is great because
I can tear pages out, reorganize them into tabs, and have everything
book related at my fingertips. Now that I know how to use it, it's
working well for me.
- Fancy pens and pencils – It was office supply Christmas, and hubby got me some fabulous Palomino pencils for me to edit with. Me loves. I also am always on the lookout for a great pen. I have a wonderful Mont Blanc that I got for graduation, but I'm always scared I'm going to lose it, so it's sitting in a nice safe spot upstairs in my office. I use it to sign contracts, write thank you notes, anything important. Which means I need another, one that I can tour with. I'm looking at a TrueWriter from Levenger, just a basic solid Good Pen that I won't freak out about if I lose.
- Write in the morning, edit in the afternoon.
That way, the next morning, I can do the edits and it launches me right
back to the spot I need to be mentally to continue producing. Some
writers like to stop mid-line, mid-paragraph or mid-thought and come
back to it the next day. I'm more inclined to finish at a chapter break
or a scene pause. That allows me to pick up a fresh thought when I come
back to work.What I am going to try is reading the last few paragraphs
of what I wrote that day right before I go to sleep, and see what my
subconscious does with the downtime.
And that's really it.
The picture below
is one of my favorite gifts received this year, from my wonderful
critique partner cum adopted sister JB Thompson. Isn't that great?
So, a twofold question today. Did you get anything for Christmas or Hannukah that you especially loved? And what are your favorite tools?
Wine of the Week: A gift from the Italian side of my familia, shared over Christmas dinner. This is one of the finest wines in the world, #6 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2008: 2004 Pio Cesare Barolo