Friday Fives: Five Things You Can't Live Without When Writing

Yet another fab-u-lous topic to blog about on a sunny day here in Seattle (not often I get to say that!). Today's question from the fine folks over at Paper Hangover:

FIVE things you can't live without when you're writing/revising.

And here are my five:

1. Music. My iPod is with me at all times, no matter what - just like my trusty Moleskin journal. When I'm on my lap top, it's iTunes I have open. Wherever I am, I always have music at my fingertips. However, I don'talways listen to it. It's the idea of having it there, when I need it, be it for white noise or inspiration. But sometimes when I'm in such a zone, I can't have any noise at all. But it's nice to know it's there. And what's playing? Almost can always guarantee it's either Kings Of Leon or One Republic. HUGE fan of both and for some reason, these two bands make my fingers fly across my keyboard. Even when I'm in my car and they're playing on the radio, I can't help but whip out one of my journals and start writing. It's a good thing I'm good at multi-tasking.

2. The Web. I'm constantly toggling back and forth between my manuscript and the web. Finding pictures of inspiration, surfing for character ideas, pulling up visuals to trigger a thought. Whatever. If it's not open on my lap top, it's open on my phone. Definite must have, when I'm writing.

3. A Quiet House. No cats, no dog, and sad but true, definitely, no husband. This is probably why I do my best writing at night. No one's around during the witching hour, as they're all asleep. I can type incessantly without any interruption. And I absolutely love every. single. minute. 

4. Excel. Confession for me - I'm a huge Excel geek. This probably stems from me also being a huge list person - you know the type: makes a box next to each to-do, then fills it in once it's completed? I will even put down tasks I've already completed (but forgot to write down at first), make the box, then fill it in - all after the fact. This all translates over into Excel for my manuscripts. However, I am not an outline writer. At all. I use Excel to keep track of all my characters, how they're related to one another, and potential spin-offs for future characters that may make an appearance. I also go as far as finding pictures on the web that translate to what my character looks like in my head and insert the picture next to each characters "bio". For different scenes in my stories, I'll find what the characters might be wearing - and again, insert said picture. This helps with the detail of many scenes, to actually visualize it. And it helps with the little things. For instance, I have the high school class schedule for all my characters charted out, so I know who is where at all times - that way, peeps don't end up someplace they shouldn't be. So not anal at all, huh?

5. Seventh SanctumThis website is an invaluable tool for me, as I write. Not only is it an amazing character name generator, but it also helps with short character descriptions, scene settings and story inspirations. Love. Love. Love, this site. Can't recommend it enough.

So what are your 5 must haves as you sit down to write? I may be willing to swap one...maybe. Happy Friday, everyone!