You Asked For (Most of) It

Kitchen table seems to be my default workspace as of late, and, one week after my return from CT Fiction Fest, the normal routine is inching back into place. Since the normal routine includes candles, tea, books, pens, and paper, this is a very good thing. It also means I do the book writing thing, now equipped with my snazzy new tools gleaned from abovementioned conference.

Starting off a little differently this week, though (and not only because Monday’s entry is coming to you on Tuesday,) with answers to a few asks I’ve had in ye olde emaile inboxxe.

First, my planners. If you’re new, spoiler alert: I love planners. If you’ve been here a while, this is not news. For those who asked about my current system, I use the traveler’s notebook setup, aka one cover, holding four notebook inserts inside it.

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Webster’s Pages classic and pocket traveler’s notebook covers

My classic (aka A5) cover is blush stripe, and the pocket size is blush. I am very into blush pink at the moment (it will probably be a very long moment) which is why I had to have the blush pink Artist Loft dot grid journal from Michaels. This is where I make my monthly and weekly spreads. I used to make daily spreads as well, but A) that takes a while, and B) my dailies migrated to a whiteboard on the refrigerator, and seem happy there, so who am I to move them? I’m experimenting with a minimalistic style in this planner, which is new for me, but fits with the blush, so it may stick.

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My calendars are in Dutch, because I am learning.

Inserts for both covers are usually Moleskine cahiers or Volants, but Picadilly has some super nice A5 inserts, as well. I get both brands at Barnes and Noble. My new discovery is Yellow Paper House, on the website or Etsy, which makes gorgeous inserts with colored paper. Insert heart eyes emoji here. My favorite pens could take up another post all by themselves, but, for daily use, I like Pilot Frixion erasable pens and pastel highlighters (also erasable.) I like the clicky ones best. I am not receiving any compensation from abovementioned brands; merely fangirling over my favorites. This weekend, I plan to try my hand at making my own inserts, because A) I am a control freak, and B) I like pretty notebooks that do exactly as I want.

The next request comes from a conversation with friends, this past weekend, and the idea of top five books. This is a hard question for many readers, because how do you pick? Going with top five for right now, not of all time, and I can write more, later, in depth, about said choices, but, for today, my top five historical romance novels are:

  1. Skye O’Malley – Bertrice Small
  2. Lovesong – Valerie Sherwood
  3. Pirate in my Arms – Danelle Harmon
  4. Tyburn – Jessica Cale
  5. Wild Bells to the Wild Sky – Laurie McBain

 

Top five YA novels, right now, are:

  1. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
  2. Every Day – David Levithan
  3. Emergency Contact – Mary H.K. Choi
  4. We Are Okay – Nina La Cour
  5. I Will Go Barefoot All Summer For You -Katie Letcher Lyle

 

I could probably break this down further, to give lists of specific kinds of historical romances, or YAs, and favorites that don’t fall into either category.  (Nick Hornby, Evelyn Waugh, and (the real) V.C. Andrews, I am looking at you.) These will probably crop up in future posts, because A) instant post topic, on days when my blogging idea bank consists of “uhhh….” B) I will get to make a separate notebook to keep track of all of these lists, and C) I honestly could blabber about my favorite books forever. Ditto on the pens and notebooks, but a gal’s got to write sometime.

I am also putting a mental sticky note on the topic of abandoned notebooks, those that I started with the best of intentions and then…umm…yeahhh…:shoves stack of notebooks under bed, with foot: Some of them come back, as with Big Daddy Precious, aka the second from the bottom in the book stack, pictured. I fell in love with this notebook on sight, needed it, longed for it, and knew that I wanted to use it for Her Last First Kiss stuff. I started at it for longer than I would care to admit, then tried a bunch of different approaches, all of which fell completely flat.

Still, I packed it in with my must-haves when we moved, and, this past week, hauled it out of its box, when N and I gave ourselves homework to get ourselves back on track with the manuscripts we loved, but had been ignoring/hiding from/procrastinating. What better book than the one I can swear is giving me the side-eye? I hadn’t noticed it at the time, but the point in this notebook where I paused writing in it? Dead middle.  Solution? One page break, new title page, begin as if this was a brand new notebook.

The one thing I have learned from these notebooks abandoned in midstream is that whatever I was using them for, and then abandoned, wasn’t the right thing. Maybe I thought it was the right thing, but it wasn’t, and that’s normal and natural, does not mean I am a failure as a writer and/or human being. All it means is that I need to turn a fresh page and try something that is not what was giving me guff. Decent advice for most things, really. I may need to make an art journal page about that.

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