Writing Essentials by Kate Ormand
When it comes to sitting down and writing for the day, here’s what I need/use most:
Tea! If I get to a tricky chapter, I might take a tea break to get my head around it. If I’m feeling peckish, I’ll usually get a cup of tea instead of a snack. It’s a real treat in the colder months, too!
Time or targets
I sometimes find it useful to set time limits, and I usually have to force myself to stop at the time I set. I always think that the later it gets, the more mistakes I’m likely make (or miss if I’m editing). But I can’t always be picky about when to write—like when I’m on a deadline. I set targets more often than time limits, though—either a certain amount of words or, if I’m reading through something, a certain amount of chapters.
I save and back up my work like crazy. CTRL+S is my best friend. I email myself at the end of the day. I add the file to Dropbox. I need backup, and lots of it! I’ve lost things in the past and it isn’t fun.
I need silence. I usually work during the day while the house is mostly empty. Once it gets to early evening and six people plus a dog fill up the house, it’s not so easy to concentrate! I only write at evenings and weekends if I really have to.
Notebooks & post its
I make so many notes I don’t think I even look at half of them again afterward. Sometimes I’m partway through my WIP and I know I’ve made a note on the scene somewhere and the search commences. Sometimes I read through my notebooks and find things that are really helpful, things I’d forgotten, then I have to go back to add or change something. Notes are good, even if my note-making technique isn’t!
I am incredibly self-motivated, and I do try to write every weekday—whether it’s a short burst, or a full day.
Sometimes I feel guilty about reading a book when I could be writing. Most days I do write all day, with an exercise break in between, then read in the evenings. But books are like homework, in a way. Reading is as important as writing. That’s my excuse, anyway. Plus, having shelves of books surrounding my desk provides inspiration to get my book up there with them.
I’m very grateful that I have people I trust very much to reach out to when I need advice, or to simply talk something over. My agent is always there to bounce ideas off. My editors are amazing to work with and respond quickly to emails. I’m also close with Emma Pass, another YA writer, who’s incredibly supportive and always there to chat about anything.