It's time to come out of the closet. I write, I am an author, and I also like nice things.
I know I should abjure all fripperies in favour of sackcloth and the ashes of the latest manuscript, and 80 days out of 100 I do, but then you see when I come up for air, I fancy a handbag.
And when I am preparing to write a novel, I don't think twice about buying a beautiful new notebook, a heavyweight fountain pan, a scented candle and other items for the altar of my writing desk. I keep the bag, and maybe the wallet, close by to look at them to remind me of what will happen when I come into my kingdom, when my books are back on the bookshelves and I'm having mild panic attacks on radio stations. Then, when that day comes, I will look like I'm smart, I say to myself. I'm ready!
It's a material and a spiritual practice, getting set to write a book. A bit of preparation and comfort-shopping before a pilgrimage to the within. You have a map and an end date. You get ready, taking care of admin and clearing the decks, and you find the right place, the desk with the view and you know when you will begin. Then, as the days unfold, you take yourself to that place and wait, and you never wait in vain.
I will say a few words to myself, usually in the dawn hours, grab a very strong coffee, and wait for the cast to turn up and make me smile. Then I'm there, standing back with notebook and pen, and when they turn to me for direction I look the other way and let them get on with it. I have plan of what needs to happen in the book, the map, but I let my cast throw it for a page or two.
My shopping, my preparation and my after-party motivation, are part of it. At Kritikme, we have formed a very cosy community of writers writing side by side and we have set a start date of May 14th to crack on with our novels. I thought I'd throw a little writers' shop together for writers like me, who like a bit of reading, writing and retail therapy.
My writers will find all their course textbooks - the hero books from The Ninety Day Novel and the Classic course plus the books I consider essential for writers and further reading for my Classics scholars - all at Amazon-matched prices to make their purchasing simple.
There are all the comforts and consolation prizes I consider essential to the writing life - just the right notebook - just the right pen - clothing, bags, stationery, inspirational home decor and socks. From the sensible to the luxurious. Many are adorned with our much-loved orange octopus and some with a new Nib print I have dubbed 'Her Nibs.'
What's more, this is the launch of a collective or co-operative writers' shop. It's our village shop. You will find there a collection of our writers published works to peruse. I am inviting all my members to share their own intrepid ventures and writers who also make and sell products are invited to get in touch so we can crow, boast and cheer each other on in our brilliance. Because we find away to make our mark, sometimes on paper, sometimes in stuff.
I hope you love the shop, that it offers you the readin', writin' and retail therapy you sometimes need. Stock up, my writers, and get ready because very soon we will be writing our novels together, side by side, one big orange brain and many tentacles writing and waving and cheering each other on.
Here are the five things I need to have in hand before I can write.
It had to be you! My best-beloved notebook of twenty years standing the Extra Large Moleskine ®. With blank pages (of course, for free thinking). Flexible and portable, with pockets for tickets and petals, it stands the test of time. Moleskine ® is the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway. And we all know that Hemingway is never wrong!
The Moleskine XL is embossed with The Kritikme Octopus to remind you in no uncertain terms to get that novel done! What begins as a once in a lifetime challenge, an adventure to write a novel, remains as a reminder of your new writing life and its daily practice.
For years and years I've enjoyed the cool matte feel of the Waterman Matte Black Fountain Pen but this time I'm also packing the down to earth Faber Castell Carbon Basic as back up. It's workmanlike and honest and the ink flows beautifully, plus it offers a big broad nib which I like in my pomp and circumstance when I'm in full flow and enjoying words too long to be quite sensible for second draft.
A reviving and warming cuppa, the wise words of our beloved authors will be at your side as you work. I've paired uplifting writers maxims with touching, unashamedly moving paintings. There's quite a choice and I'm sure you'll find one which is your cup of tea. But if you don't you can't go wrong with the Krew Brew mug which is my current preference. It reminds me that you're with me!
Well, this was quite a revelation for me! It's such a great idea. Switch all the digital stuff off and let the mysterious sands of time do their bit, while you do yours. Simply turn this beauty upside down when you sit down and wait for time to run out as your words gather on the page.
I just had to have it! My desk on the move. Everything goes in the bag in beautiful chaos and I get to look shipshape and tidy and on top of my game. I wanted a bag of quality, fine leather, robust and just slightly - but only slightly - quirky. Classic and quirky on the sly, that's how I write, so that's how I want to be in and out of Waitrose in confusion, spotting walk-on characters for the novel...
Write. Shop. Write. Shop.
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