In November, hundreds of thousands of writers from all over the world commit to the craziness of writing a novel in a month. They do it voluntarily, just for fun – but what does it feel like? To find that out, we’re following some of them on their path of surviving NaNoWriMo.
Part 5: For today’s post we asked our Wrimos to tell us about their writing setup.
“I love to be nomadic and try to write in as many cafés as possible during the NaNoWriMo. It gives me an opportunity to see what my town has to offer by way of space, and I also get to try out all the different kinds of coffee and tea! But as much as I get out, I also like to simply brew myself a pot of good tea, sit in my home office with the lights down and write in my own space. I usually dial up some instrumental music to write to for these sessions. This year, I’ve often listened to the terrific scores from the Lord of the Rings movies. They work just perfectly for my story!”
Martin Eisenloeffel is a writer by profession, albeit one of software manuals. In his spare time, he writes for pleasure, and if it’s not November, he also reads, takes pictures and occasionally creates some music.
“I write, almost exclusively on an iPad Air 2. I just put my iPad in Do Not Disturb mode and open Ulysses. Whether I’m out somewhere or sitting at home with it connected to a keyboard, it is my main writing machine. Of course, when Ulysses for iPhone ships, my setup will certainly change! I can’t work in silence because for years I wrote in a coffee shop. So, depending on my surroundings, I have an app called Coffitivity on my iPad that produces the sounds of a coffee shop. Yes, there really is an app for that. And yes, most of the time I can’t write without it.”
Brian Henry Gray has been writing short stories since he was in grade school and has had several published over the years. He is originally from the northeastern United States, but currently resides in the Dallas, Texas area.
“I have multiple setups because I write in multiple places. I can write anywhere and everything syncs thanks to Ulysses! Of course, my muse/mascot is always sitting near me. My region’s ML (editor’s note: abbreviation for Municipal Liaison, i.e. the volunteer coordinator of the regional NaNoWriMo chapter) always hands out little mascots of some sort at our kickoff. This year it’s a superhero theme. Mine is BartMan, from the Simpsons. Two years back we had rubber duckies. I named mine Duck Fury, leader of the Duckvengers. He’s still around, being all muse-like.”
His mother wanted Mel Walker to become a marine biologist, but he hopes to have kept her happy even if he became a programmer, working on land. Melvin has been doing NaNo since 2005 (albeit his first novel is, in his opinion, best forgotten).
“I don’t have a designated writing place – I write wherever I happen to be. Therefore, I use a 12″ MacBook – the new super-thin one, as my primary writing machine. I’ll also occasionally write on my iPad mini (with a bluetooth keyboard case), which I keep next to my bed for when inspiration strikes late at night or first thing in the morning. Of course, both run Ulysses, which syncs flawlessly, so my words are always right where I need them to be.”
Peter de Tagyos has always loved to read, and has successfully passed his love of books on to his two children. He earns a living by developing iOS apps, but dreams of publishing a novel.
“My setup includes a 15” MacBook Pro, an iPad Air 2, and an iPhone 6s. I use my iPhone to constantly jot down notes throughout the day. I also like to snap photos that I use to draw inspiration. Most of my writing gets done between different coffee shops and at my desk. We live in a small studio apartment with two dogs. So there isn’t a lot of space. I open the window at the desk and listen to the stream that runs behind our apartment. It is rather relaxing.”
Mike Ackerman is based in Portland and married to his high school sweetheart, with two dogs – a French bulldog and a chiweenie they recently rescued. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animation and a master’s degree in journalism.
“I ended up writing at work late in the day because I have an ergonomic keyboard there. I usually turn off the lights on my desk, don my Bose Noise Cancelling headphones, put on a Spotify Playlist I made specifically for writing (and sometimes I loop the same song for an hour), set my iPhone timer to 60 minutes and then just start, trying to get my word count in during that time. I begin by re-reading the last few paragraphs of what I wrote the day before, then switch Ulysses to single pane mode (dark) to focus entirely on my writing. And yes, I do have a beer on the desk next to me, just to help wind down and relax my mind. Has worked great so far :)”
Creativity is Julia Altermann’s favorite pastime, no matter if it is photography or all kinds of handicrafts. She first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2008 and managed to achieve the 50.000 words goal in the first instance.
“The majority of my initial writing goes onto paper. I have an Oberon Design notebook cover, which holds an 8×5 Moleskine notebook with squared layout, and use a Pigma Ink archival ink pen for writing. When I bring my lunch to work, I’ll walk somewhere close, queue up some music, watch people for a while while eating, and then do a little writing sprint for thirty minutes or so. I then transcribe the writing from the notebook into the computer, an iMac with Ulysses, making each session a different sheet with a date header. During that process, I will sometimes go off on a tangent. At a swag, I would say 70% of the raw content originates on paper.”
Writing challenges keep Sean Johnson motivated: He participated in the New Orleans Writing Marathon in July, and will elaborate the ideas generated there for NaNoWriMo.