Since I became a full-time author in 2017, how I work
has evolved. I went from squeezing a few hundred words in during a lunch break
when I worked a 9-5 to scheduling writing sprints to accomplish a daily word
count of 3,000 words. So, I thought today I’d share with you five of the things
I to write a manuscript.
Here they are in no particular order and there’s a bonus one!
Clean desk – I don’t like clutter. It makes me uncomfortable when I have piles of papers, notebooks, and other things (it’s amazing what can end up on my desk). I need to tidy up before I begin writing. Pens in their cups, reference material neatly stacked, and little bits and bobs gathered up in a basket.
Planner – Every morning, I refer to my Erin Condren planner to review my top priorities for the day. I use the Life Planner vertical. I organized my tasks into the three boxes. There’s my personal life (errands, appointments, household chores, etc.), writing (word count goal, admin tasks or brainstorming, etc.), and social media (scheduling, creating content, etc.). What’s listed in the planner are what I call my high-level goals, and they often require smaller tasks to achieve. I’ll list those smaller tasks in a small notebook and cross them off as I complete each.
Beverage – I start the day with a glass of water while I spend a few minutes writing in my gratitude journal. Then, as the day progresses, I’ll have a couple cups of coffee and a glass of iced matcha tea.
Outline – I have the novel’s outline on my desk, whether I’m writing a first draft or tweaking the manuscript in the third pass. This outline is very detailed, but there have been times when I went off-script. It happens. Having the outline printed out allows me to make notes as changes occur while writing the manuscript. This way, I don’t end up with a pile of sticky notes.
Word – I use Microsoft Word for my writing. I started writing years ago in Word Perfect. Anyone remember that program? Then transitioned to Word. I’ve tried other programs, but I keep coming back to Word. Though, I realized that I needed to be more mindful of digital file organization as I wrote more books. It can get messy.
There’s one more thing, but I don’t use it during the warmer months. Having a candle on my desk is a relatively new ritual for me, and it’s seasonal. Once the weather turns chillier, I like to light a candle during my work hours. Right now, I have a pumpkin candle burning while I work.
There you have it, my five must-haves for writing every day. Now, there are a few more things like editing software and reference books that I use, but they are only utilized during certain stages of novel writing. It’s also not uncommon for me to change where I write depending on what I’m working on. An example is when I’m writing a first draft, I may take my outline, laptop, and coffee out to the patio when the weather is nice.
I’d love to know what you need to get your work done.
Debra Sennefelder is the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series. She lives and writes in Connecticut. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking, exercising and taking long walks with her Shih-Tzu, Connie. You can keep in touch with Debra through her website, on Facebook and Instagram.