Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – 16 Weird & Strange Habits of Writers

May 14, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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The strange habits of some famous authors has always interested me. I cannot lay claim to anything this weird, mores the pity. Maybe I can cultivate something? Are you willing to share your ‘strange’ habit?

1. Demosthenes

The ancient Greek writer shaved half his head. Ensuring that by looking so idiotic, he would stay home and work, instead of facing ridicule in public.

2. Henrik Ibsen

The A Doll’s House playwright hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on his study wall. Inspiring him to strive to better his enemies.

3. Franz Kafka – Too Much Cake

Kafka allowed himself to eat a whole pineapple upside down cake when he finished a story. He did not share any of it!

4. Mary Shelley – Pet Snake

Shelley’s pet 23-foot-long boa constrictor was housed in her writing studio. With the snake wrapped around her shoulders she would write until the snake became restless and began to squeeze, then she stopped writing for the day.

5. Agatha Christie – Ate apples in the bath.

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6. Isabel Allende – starts every book on the same day January 8.

7. John Steinbeck – needed two dozen sharpened pencils.

8. Patricia Highsmith – ate eggs and bacon for every meal.

9. Virginia Woolf – wrote at a standing desk.

10. Charles Dickens – slept facing north.

11. Dan Brown – hanging upside down inversion therapy for writer’s block.

12. Victor Hugo – wrote without clothes so he could not leave the house to met a deadline.

13. Francine Prose – writes facing a wall to limit distractions.

14. Truman Capote – never started or finish writing on a Friday. 

15. Anthony Burgess – use random words from opening a page in a dictionary to complete a descriptive passage.

16. Lewis Carroll – wrote in purple ink.

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#AuthorToolboxBlogHop – Author/Writer Space Essentials

March 18, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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What do you consider essential for your writing zone? It may not be the same as everyone else, so firstly let’s take a look at my desk (the one above).

Firstly, I have a laptop and second screen – this enables me to utilize two screens for editing purposes with beta-reader and publisher suggestions and edits. It is easier than splitting one screen to read two full pages.

Secondly, there are numerous note books and folders/binders of relevant information, event details, contact sheets, and freelance clients contracts. Yes, I am rather obsessed with organization – I put my hands up to that! As you can see I have several desk organizers for said items all labeled, storage is key to having information at your finger tips.

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Next is ‘fuel’ – water and tea! What do you favour for hydration? 

You may have noticed the propensity for purple – yes it is my favorite colour. Purple wall, crystals and water bottle to name a few. It is interesting that when I looked up the meaning of the colour purple there were key words relevant to my writing. Maybe there is a deeper force at work than we know, when it comes to our colour choices.

Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color Purple. … The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic. 

Light sources are also an important choice – I have the normal ceiling light and natural light from the window but a spotlight disperses shadows so I have a clean and clear view of my screens.

Storage is key and yes I have several spaces just for it. The storage tower holds business cards, promotional items, paper, filing supplies, and more.

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The cupboard has books, more promotional material, such as an event banner, card holders, table coverings and larger promotion items as well as books.
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Yes, I am lucky to have this space but bear in mind I started using the dining room table as my writing space. It took me nearly seven years to get to this. Maybe you don’t need this kind of writing area – anywhere can be a creative zone after all. When I go on writing retreats I use a folding table and write on the hotel bed or desk. (And even at home). As long as there is room for a laptop or notebook we can write anywhere.

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What are your writing zone essentials?

More Toolbox Blogs here: https://raimeygallant.com/

Ask A Question Thursday

May 30, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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This week’s question: When crafting a new story – what works best for you, laptop, fountain pen, dictation, or longhand?

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For me, I write best on a laptop as it is the fastest option to free flow my words. What about you?

Last week’s question: What is your motivation for writing more?

My reply is that I have so many stories tumbling around in my head, I have to keep writing to get them all out. Many of you know I only began ‘writing’ when I came to Canada so I’m now making up for ‘lost’ time! I have always been creative but for whatever reason I had never written ‘stories’ before for the explicit reason of allowing other people to read them. Mandy Eve-Barnett

Packing Tips for Writers – What To Take…

December 19, 2016
mandyevebarnett


I found this article and thought it was apt as my friend, Linda and I are always escaping on road trips and a few can be applied even if not traveling on an airplane.

http://thewritelife.com/packing-tips-for-writers/

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1. Be realistic about how much work you’ll do

Before you go on your trip, make a plan for what you’ll actually do while you’re traveling. Be realistic about how much time you’ll actually have to work.

2. Bring the essentials

Condensing an office’s worth of gear, equipment and supplies into a carry-on sized bag. First, start with the most important things.

Laptop: If you have an alternative lightweight portable laptop/tablet take that instead. Remember your charger!

Reference materials: Take the most relevant materials for your planned project.

Notebook and pen: Always have a small notebook and a pen. Ideas for a novel or character can spring up at any time.

3. Back it up

Make sure you back up your work – a flash drive, emailing to yourself or a data saving source.

4.Go digital

Take digital copies instead of resource material with you instead of hard copies.

5. Bring travel-writing essentials

Even though you’re traveling light, be sure to bring anything you’ll need to transform your trip into a story including a way to take photos. Having photos can also help when you’re trying to recollect specific details and set a scene when you’re writing later on.

6. Safeguard your gear

Make sure you carry your most important items (like your laptop and backups) with you. Consider travel insurance or checking your current insurance policies (such as homeowner’s, renter’s, or automobile) to see if they’ll cover your valuables.

This is my traveling list:

My laptop & charger

A hard drive to back up

Notebook – which includes notes on my current project (these are in addition to my file folders on my laptop. I also use it for revision notes & narrative additions, page numbers of where I am in the process etc.

Pens and a pencil

Cell phone for photos & charger

Comfortable clothes and warm socks, eye glasses, a bottle of wine & snacks and tea bags (Okay I’m English teabags are a must!)

We normally request a desk & two chairs when we book a room to ensure we both have comfortable areas in which to write. Luckily neither of us needs noise so silence reigns unless we are discussing our day or writing. (No TV required either!)

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Elements of a Writing Retreat…

May 12, 2014
mandyevebarnett


strawberry-creek-lodgeThis coming weekend is not only a long weeked (whoop!) but also when I am spending four wonderful days fully immersed in my writing at Strawberry Creek Retreat. Anticipation is high for my fellow wordsmiths and I. My plan is to read through, revised and to some extent edit my current WIP – Willow Tree Tears. The novel is a cowgirl romance, with the heroine a champion barrel racer, enjoying rodeos and a ranch lifestyle. She finds herself having to choose between an old high school friend who lives a similar horse ranch life, or a suave, handsome wel- traveled Italian. There are numerous plot twists and several other characters and it does include adult content. Currently standing at 25 chapters (50,365 words) – I am aware it requires additional descriptions, dialogue etc. It was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel so is rough to say the least! For an excerpt go to https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

When we attend a writing retreat there are many personal aspirations and goals set – it is a time to have 100% focus on our work but we must decide on what our level of interaction will be within a group retreat. There are simple ‘rules’ that can be set out at the start of the retreat, such as a closed door means no interruptions, meals are taken together, prompts or short workshops will be available, exercise/walks can be taken in a group or solitary – no matter the format you should decide on what works for you.

Vital elements to the retreat are of course your means of writing! Bring your laptop, charger and memory sticks, notebooks, pens and pencils, research material, and any other related material that will assist you with the task in hand. Secondly, think about what you want to achieve within the time limits of the retreat. Make realistic goals so you enjoy the process but are not too exhausted to enjoy sometime away from the computer screen to refresh your mind, body and muse.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What was your experience?

Any thoughts or tips you care to share?

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