After finishing my A-Levels, and before going to university, I took a year out. During that time, I worked at an antique auction house. I loved working there; it was so interesting, and I learnt a lot.
I loved investigating the items that came in for sale. I checked every single wardrobe for Narnia (in fact, the staff started calling me down each time a wardrobe was brought in!) While working there, I totally fell in love with all of the leather-topped pedestal desks that came through. Especially the ones that had secret, hidden draws and cubby-holes.
I promised myself that I’d own one someday. 15 years later, I did.
You see; dreams do come true.
Although, mine isn’t actually an antique. It’s a reproduction. And it’s quite battered, and has a drawer handle missing. But that means I got it for a great price. And that it looks a lot older than it actually is. It has character. It has a story to tell. I love it.
It’s absolutely covered with items with their own stories to tell. Things that inspire me. Things that mean a lot to me. I’ll give you the tour soon. Today, I just want to talk about the essentials. The things that are always on my desk when I write. The things that absolutely have to be there.
I do all of my plotting in notebooks. And my plotting notes aren’t just bullet points, or sketchy outlines. Sometimes, they’re whole conversations, or entire scenes, written out by hand. So, I always have at least one project notebook on my desk. Sometimes more than one.
And, the sheer amount of writing I do by hand, means that I’m very fussy about my pen. I like a ballpoints (I tend to smudge anything else, ending up with my hands covered in ink), and it needs to write smoothly. No scratchiness. And it needs to be comfortable to hold. I tried out a lot of pens to discover my favourite (if you’re interested, it’s a Schneider Slider Basic XB), and I managed to find a pack of 10 of them, so that will keep me going for a while.
My world map is, of course, essential so that I don’t get lost in my world. I have a terrible sense of direction, so I can’t do without this.
While my plotting is done by hand, my actual writing of the book always happens on my trusty laptop. I’d be lost without it.
Last, but certainly not least, coffee. Every writer has their fuel, their poison. Mine is coffee. Writing does not happen without caffeine. Simple as that.