Tools of a trade.

Growing up the scion of a carpenter, I have a metaphorical attachment to tools. (Out of the gutter, mind, out.) Some of them are abstract and some tangible. Here are the ones most important to me as I work to transfer from a analytical to an artistic day to day.

  • Manuscript Software: Adam found this for me and now I write everything with it. It’s called Scrivener and without it, I’d be spending hours in reformatting hell. I feel like I’ve skipped ahead months, just by having it.
  • Books: My favorite books — poems, stories, manuals, essays — are like a security blanket to me. Just having them nearby makes this possible. Without them I wouldn’t want to write. With them, I continue to be grounded and continue to reach. I will strive to be as funny as Fran, but with my own voice. I will work to be as graceful as Anne and as stoic as Mr. Lewis, but continue to be me.
  • Organization: This is a carry over from the old days. But now that the bright blue office is all in good shape, it is less distracting to work in here. Having things in their place allows my brain to settle down and focus.
  • Humor: I decorated my office with snarky grammar posters from The Oatmeal. This keeps my environment light (who can feel too badly with a picture of the Gayroller on their wall) and allows me to keep things in perspective.
  • Chocolate: A good stash of dark chocolate has assisted me through many a nervous minute, diet be damned. Adam graciously restocked the supply for the Valentine holiday, so no perceived shortages here…
  • Color: I get it that tangerine is the new pantone signature color for 2012, but our office is blue. And not a little blue. Bright blue. And it makes me happy every time I come in the door.
  • Visual Boards: I had thought about using Pinterest to assist in the task of worldbuilding, an essential part of any speculative fiction effort. Encouraged by a friend at a time when writing wasn’t possible calendar-wise, it was a great way to continue visually brainstorming. (I am sure many of my friends following me there believe that I may be close insanity…a blue horse, a red horse, a fluffy horse…) I also have a brilliantly old-fashioned white board with a map of my Earth compound and a character list underneath. Some people might do well with cleaner slates, but for me, the more visual references the better.

This week, I’ve taken a little break from my novel-in-progress to read and get a little perspective. Though it’s hard to know where the book will head next in terms of structure, I know I have my tool set ready for whatever comes next.

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