Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.
― Neil Gaiman
I do like the words that come from Neil Gaiman. He is =, without a doubt, the voice of my young adulthood. I read Neverwhere and American Gods with a frenzy I had previously only shown for romance novels and Harry Potter. There is something wise in his word, something that evokes that original storyteller, the mystery and the reveal. And so, when I happened upon that quote just when I was struggling with my story – it seemed almost cosmic. Like Neil Gaiman is sitting behind my shoulder at Starbucks whispering, “Come on, this scene’s got your beat. On to the next one.”
Ah, if only it were that simple.
This week, my friends, has been a tough one Nano-wise. I started off strong on Friday, then got suckered into errands most of Saturday and only wrote about half of my admittedly high goal that night. Then Sunday I was at the track all day (where I read In the Woods all day – such a treat to do nothing but read all day!) and Monday I was arguing on the phone with the insurance company all day. Then Tuesday was a deeply busy errand day, and Wednesday I got only a half day worth of writing. Thursday was a blessing from above where I managed to fill the quota I managed not to do the rest of the week, and now today I plan on getting 15,000 words done to date.
But all the numbers aside, what has my progress been? I have helpfully divvied up parts of my novel into a few categories and events.
What this helps me do is log the progress of my novel in my own mind. So every time a particular scene has been written, or a particular threshold has been met, I cross it off and add a little check to my notes. And sometimes, I rewrite parts, and other times I cancel whole sections – it happens, what can I say? Sometimes the characters opt for a different trajectory. They seems to always have minds of their own …
Which is why I go back, delete whole pages, and still think of it as progress.
What can I say? I’m odd.
Meanwhile, all this writing – or attempted writing, just gets me hungry.
I am not a run to the corner store and grab a bag of chips types – I always have this brilliant thought and must type it up, leaving greasy fingerprints on the keys of my laptop … which is a no-no in my book. And so when it comes to munchies, I opt for a different kind of satisfaction.
Coffee or Tea
It cannot be stressed enough – having a coffee or a tea is my lifeline when writing. Not only is it a thing that perks me right up and gets the juices flowing, but it also means I get to go to a coffee shop and write – which is (1) super chic, and (2) means I get out more, always a good thing.
I prefer lattes and cappuccinos to regular coffees (I am such a girl…) and when it comes to tea – you slip a little milk into it and keep it hot, and I am a happy sipper. I am not sure why hot drinks do it for me in a way cold don’t – I have my smoothie every morning, but it’s my “reading the news” drink, not my “writing my story” drink, for some reason. And though I love bubble (boba) tea – I definitely don’t order it for my writing jags.
Fruits and Veggies
I am definitely a fruit girl. A berry and citrus girl, if I were to be honest. There was a time, in my youth, I could eat a crate of tangerines in under a week. One after the other, happily at my grandmother’s house with my hot chocolate and couch-cushion fort. The days when I could justify that are long over, but when given the choice, I choose tarty citrus fruits of berries over nearly everything (except mangoes. I love mangoes).
What’s perfect about fruits and veggies is their portability and their cleanup. I usually chop up a bunch of food, peeling and quartering it and such, put it in a little tupperware dish, and cart it out with me (with a fork!) wherever I go, so I can snack on things while I’m out. Veggies I like for the crunch, but a lot have meh tastes. So … I usually put in a little container of hummus or Greek yogurt with garlic in order to dip the veggie bits into.
But you guys know I am all about the baking and the sweets and the yumminess …
Yeah … yeah.
You know it would come to this. I regularly make muffins – some of which I have put on the blog and others which I will. I like lemon muffins, carrot muffins and my go-to banana muffins for regular days, and during the Christmas season I add some cranberries, tonnes of cinnamon and orange rind to things. For writing, I like mini muffins, though I seem to have missplaced my mini muffin pan right now. Damnit.
I also like energy balls – if you haven’t heard of them, they’re like energy bars, only rolled up into little balls. I like them because they’re easy to carry around, don’t melt, and have enough dark chocolate in them to keep me happy.
Also, I generally like a little crunch to my food – I like the bits of nuts or chocolate or sprinkles on baked goods.
So tell me – what are your favourite munchies for writing? And how is your progress on Nanowrimo going?
For now, I will leave you with some Neil Gaiman inspiration: “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”