I should admit right up front that I know I have a problem. I love stationery. I think a lot of writers do. I should be ashamed to admit how much I own and how much thought I give to which writing implement to use for writing vs list-making vs editing, etc. But these are the tools of my trade, and the right pencil partnered with the right notebook and folder and highlighter must make me a better writer, right?
I have many favourite pens and pencils! I love a mechanical pencil with a big replaceable eraser. (I make lots of mistakes.) At the moment, my favourite is a chunky mechanical pencil which resembles the big pencils you were given when you first learned to write. I thought it might be too big, but actually it’s great for list-making or jotting down notes at my desk.
When I’m signing books, I like to have a special pen. With money from my first book deal, I brought a gorgeous swirly silver, orange and red Cross pen. It’s feels lovely in my hand, and because it’s colourful, it’s easy to locate. My husband recently bought me a Paul Smith pen that has a fun stripy case. I love the weight and size of the pen, but I also adore the case. I keep it in my handbag and because I always return the pen to its case, I never lose it or struggle to find it in my handbag.
And you didn’t mention highlighters. I have some thin highlighters from Staedtler that I like to use when I’m revising my novel. I find them easier to hold than the standard thicker highlighters. Someone recently gave me scented highlighters that remind me of the scented markers that one of my primary school teachers had so I smile every time I use them. And don’t get me started on coloured pens. I have a set from Staedtler that are my favourite when I revise but I also own Yummy Yummy Scented Glitter Gel Pens. Yes, I said it. Pens that are scented AND glittery.
I’m a sucker for a beautiful notebook or a notebook with a funny saying. My family and friends know my obsession with paper products so I have received several amazing notebooks as gifts. I probably already own more than I could use in a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean I won’t find another notebook to purchase tomorrow.
When I start a new project, I like to select a new notebook. I found the perfect notebook for one of my current projects from Semikolon. It’s orange – my favourite colour – and has three tabbed sections – one with lines, one blank and the other graph paper. I use the first for note-taking during interviews and research. The second section is where I outline the book, and the final section is for additional questions and research. It also has two plastic pockets, perfect for business cards and other bits and bobs I pick up along the way. And it has a big elastic band that keeps everything safe and tidy.
I only recently discovered a new – but now my favourite – stationery shop — Kikki K. It’s a Swedish company with amazing colourful and inspiring stationery.
I’ve purchased to-do list, weekly task lists and a really fun notepad. I create a weekly to-do list organised by day. I keep it on my desk, and it definitely keeps me on track. Doesn’t hurt that it’s nice to look at.
I also love colourful file folders.
Every project has its own file folder. I prefer the striped folders from Semikolon. Having folders with different patterns for different projects makes the right folder easy to locate on what is usually a pretty messy desk.
I have inspired, written or edited nearly 100 books for children. My newest book – Chasing Danger – is an action-adventure series for middle grade readers. I teach Goldsmiths University’s master’s class on writing for children/teens. I co-created Undiscovered Voices – which has launched the writing careers of thirty-seven authors.