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As all writers, I am a creature of habit. There are certain things that are absolutely essential for me to have when I’m writing. Otherwise, I am pathetically ineffective and mostly just melt into a puddle of despair until a family member or concerned friend saves me. Here are my top three writing “must-haves”.
- My rescue cats. My two meows are by far the most crucial things for my writing, and also most of my life. My cats, Kiki and Jiji, are named after the Miyazaki movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. They are sisters and mostly love each other — although their relationship was briefly rocky when I moved a new chair into the living room that they both wanted to claim as their own… As a writer, I spend most of my day at home, and having them around is indispensable to my sanity. My husband has built a few robots for them to play with, so I can write as they try to savage a feather tied to a bell. I am certain they enjoy my company as much as I do theirs, so when I go out of town I have my assistant sit with them all day, so they don’t feel my absence too acutely. She is allergic to cats, but understands the sacrifices that need to be made for cat happiness.* (*this may or may not be one hundred percent true)
- My battle scarred laptop. This one is pretty obvious, since I need it to write my books. I learned the hard way that hand written manuscripts are dangerous when I left one at a cafe in Rome. Thankfully, the waiters returned it to me the next day, but they mocked me by reciting lines from it every time I walked by for a week. Lesson learned about hand writing drafts and Italian waiters! My laptop is so tattered that many of the keys don’t have letters on them anymore, so I sometimes have to guess what I am typing, but I love it for that very reason.
- A small, salty snack. This is a fairly open-ended requirement. Pistachios, saltines, popcorn, cashews — as long as I can mindlessly eat it for hours on end until my dehydration becomes severe, I’m in. My publicist was recently shocked by an enormous tub of nuts from Costco – AKA “dinner” — in the backseat of my car. She should have been glad because the nuts only prove that I have been writing, even when curled up in the backseat of our car while sitting in traffic. Though I do understand that it may look like a doomsday-prepping rodent is living in my car, I suppose that’s the glamorous life of the writer!