For me, the key part of any writing is this: keep the inner editor & the inner writer separate. Even when you’re drafting new material, draft it cold. While the inner writer drafts, send the editor off for a (mental) drink. While the editor stitches things together and trims them, let the writer go for a (mental) walk. They cannot work in the same (mental) room together.
Journaling is a great way to start your writing day, and . You might want to keep a journal to remind yourself of the good things in your life (). Journaling is a one way to freewrite and start your writer brain, especially if you’re struggling with writers’ block or your well of inspiration is temporarily dry. If you’re in front of a keyboard and screen for much of the day, or working on your WIP on your computer, to work on your story while you write differently.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of ink colors. There are also several kinds of ink; inks that are water soluble (not for use on checks or anything that you want to keep), water resistant inks, archive quality inks, inks meant to feather less and thus perform better on poorer quality paper, and specialty inks that change color, glitter, or are invisible. Most people start with a medium or dark blue, a blue-black, or a black ink. But color can be fun, as well as useful, for for editing or for distinguishing one version from another (draft in blue, edit in red, new draft in purple, etc.).
There are numerous sites suggesting the Best Possible Paper for writing with a fountain pen. People often have very decided opinions about paper. The general rule of thumb is that the heaver weight the paper is, from about 70gsm up to say 100 gsm, the better it is for using a fountain pen. You’ll see people debating the virtues of vs or Rhodia vs Claire Fontaine, etc., but honestly, preferences are personal. Look for paper that is at least 70gsm; less will bleed or feather or otherwise fail.
The nib is the metal part of the pen that contacts the paper when you write. People have pronounced preferences about nibs, but for your first pen, you’ll probably want a fountain pen with a Fine or Medium nib.1)
I user the larger “composition” sized B5 notebook for drafting; I use the smaller one for notes and planning. I use Mead Composition books that are made in Vietnam from sugarcane; they work well for first drafts with fountain pen (I can write on both sides of the paper) and cost less then $1.00 on sale.2) I use a for notes and planning. Test whatever notebook you plan to use with the pens and / or pencils you’ll use, to make sure they’ll work for you.
Everyone’s Portable Writing Studio (PWS) is a little bit different. For some writers, it means having everything they need for several hours of intense writing, including food and drink. For others, it means their notebook, and pen, and grabbing ten minutes here and fifteen there, to write. Your PWS will reflect the way you write. You might need a small backpack; others will be able to pack their studio in a slim messenger style bag, or even a back pocket, for the true minimalist.
The idea behind the minimalist PWS is that you can fit your notebook and pen in your pocket, literally. You can write anywhere you happen to be. The poster child for “pocket” notebooks are the small paper bound ; there are similar notebooks on Etsy, and from a number of other companies. Some writers who use one small notebook per chapter, and carry a second notebook for background note, plot ideas, etc. Some people like to use a single small bound A6 notebook like or ; they still fit in a pocket.
Did you have a playlist for ? (I usually ask writers this question, but you are the first to have already answered the question. I notice that you have on your Website.
One reason a lot of writers tell me they’ve never tried , the annual November challenge to write 50,000 words in a month is that they can’t fit in long writing sessions; they work and have other commitments, or they don’t have a portable computer and can’t write at home because there are too many distractions.
As to the plot — more than once I’ve had a small plot point grow and wind itself inextricably into the rest of the story, and that’s what happened here. And I can’t tell you what that plot point is! (I’m not trying to be coy — is a tough book to talk about without spoilers.) But it’s a wonderful experience for me as a writer when that happens. Generally it means the book has taken on a life of its own, and it gets much easier to write after that.
I write on my MacBook using , although when I need to loosen up a little I’ll work in Pages (weirdly, it feels like less pressure). I use Word when I have to exchange files with someone; it’s an industry standard, and they’ve made some real improvements lately, but I’m never all that comfortable in it.
, used by many writers in the past and increasingly popular today. can be a conventional “dear diary” journal, of the sort kept, or it can be a record of where you are in a writing project, where you need to go, what plot points and character traits you want to remember and emphasize — even your emotional response and impressions about your writing.