Where’s Waldo? Author Edition

Current theme song: “Mountain At My Gates” by Foals

Current stage in process: Waiting on beta reader comments for Book #2; continuing to outline & do research for Book #3; preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo in April!

The edits for Book #2 of my YA urban fantasy series are complete! I’ve passed the torch and am waiting for feedback from my trusted beta readers. In the meanwhile, I’ve been hoarding books from the library for research and working on my outline for Book #3. While I usually spend more time in the brainstorm phase, I want to see if I can push myself this year. I’ve made the decision to write Book #3 during Camp NaNoWriMo in April. If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo before, I implore you to head there straight away and discover what you’ve been missing. It’s a wonderful month full of writing support and energy during November. There are also two months of ‘camps’ during the summer, one of which I will be participating in.

In preparation for April, I’ve been planning several vacation days at the beginning of the month so I can get off to a strong start. As long as I have a fairly solid outline, I should be able to maintain momentum throughout the month. However, I also need to consider the best place for setting up my little writing camp, which leads me to today’s post.

Where do authors sit down and work on their craft? Are they elusive beasts hiding away in their secret sanctums? Are they wanderers moving from cafe to cafe? Are they standing next to you on the subway jotting down words on notepads or iPads? Each writer is different and certain locations work better for some than others. For some examples of writer caves/sanctums/offices, Tor put together a gallery of famous author writing spaces. I’m a sucker for those kinds of articles. I’m always curious to see where other writers work.

As for myself, I’ve had my share of ups and downs trying to find areas that are right for me. When I started my first novel, I was in high school. I was a PSEO student at the time, so I was able to finish most of my homework at the beginning of the week and then would have loads of free time. I would write at terminals in the library, at the back of science class, in my notebook when I didn’t have access to a computer. At home, I commandeered the family’s computer and turned it into my own little workstation.


(Note The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs on the left; I would play The Two Towers on repeat on a laptop beside me while I wrote my second novel for the first series I ever created. Also, see that Dr. Pepper? It’s very important. That’s key writing fuel there.)

After high school, I went to college and as part of my degree (Digital Cinema—that didn’t pan out) I got my very own Macbook Pro. I wrote most of my third novel on that laptop in a comfy chair at the central campus building outside a Japanese restaurant while I waited for my next class to start. I loved that laptop. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I bought the latest model after I finished my bout in college and got a job.

But while I did a lot of writing on that laptop, the majority of my editing was done at my central command station.


(While the Dr. Pepper is strangely absent in this picture, I assure you there was still a high level of consumption. Also, I use a lot of Post-its. A LOT of Post-its.)

The layout of this setup hasn’t really changed over the last four years. Right now I face a wall when I’m at my computer and it makes me feel too closed in, which is why I do the majority of my writing on my laptop so I can move wherever I feel works best to get the creative juices flowing.

A couple of NaNoWriMos ago, my sister and I picked a day to jump around town to places I thought might have ideal writing conditions. We started in a Starbucks, wandered through the local college campus for awhile, left when the crowds got to big, ate lunch, and finally landed in an empty section of the public library where we spent the rest of the day. I got a lot of writing done that day and blew past the 50,000 word goal. My last NaNoWriMo was much less exciting. I took a week off of work and sat at home, moving between the couch, kitchen table, recliner, and back to the couch again. I beat the word goal within a week and a half and finished Book #2 of my current series. While I only had my dogs for company and it was much more low key, the important part for me was writing in a spot where I had a lot of open space in front of me. I think this year I’ll try to get a mix of going out to local coffee shops and staying at home.

No matter where I decide to park it and write, the pressure is on! Good luck to everyone else participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! See you out there.



(This was the door outside my writing station. You have to watch out for those velociraptors, guys.)