I lead a full life–I have four children, a Japanese exchange student and a busy household to manage. Sometimes it is hard to find time to write, but I do try as hard as I can to do a little bit every day. Other times, when I am feeling particularly creative, I might sit at my desk for eight or ten hours. I try not to force it, either way.

But of course there are times when I think of some plot twist, or an inconsistency that I have missed and I am right in the middle of cooking dinner, or driving the kids to school. This is when having a voice recorder is priceless. If you have not invested in one of these little gadgets, then I highly recommend it. The digital ones are small, lightweight, easy to use and run just about forever on an AA battery. Keep it with you, and when your muse strikes get it down!

There have been occasions when I thought I would remember something, and it just vanished from my mind. When this happened I was always gutted, because of course I think any forgotten idea is probably the best one I have ever had…

With a voice recorder, this never has to happen.

It will be your best friend when you are editing because you can be thinking about your work all the time, not just when you sit down to your keyboard.


A voice recorder, though useful, can’t totally take the place of a writing notebook. I do all my composition on a laptop, but I keep copious hand-written notes about each book. These include character profiles, time-lines, pictures I have drawn or cut out of magazines, and word lists. Because of the nature of my writing–fantasy fiction, I have to create worlds and languages as I go. Having something to reference when I am trying to think of a place name or setting is invaluable. Ditto for editing. When you are going over your work, it is easy to forget why you did something a certain way. The notes help me to see if a character is really behaving the way he or she ought to.

But it only works if you keep them updated, something I don’t always do successfully.