I was going to say "a few of my favourite things" like the song, but realised I only had two for now.
1. Not For Robots. ("Writing is hard. People for whom writing is not hard are robots and should go away. Thank you.") I have spoken before about how sometimes when my novel is going badly I start scouring the internet for answers. The trouble is I don't really know what the questions are. But I think this website might actually hold the answers to them, whatever they are. It's written by American YA author Laini Taylor, which is everything she knows about writing and the process of writing novels. It's great. I have already picked up some very useful suggestions, such as keeping two documents open side by side as I'm writing: one for writing the actual novel, and one for twittering on as I'm thinking about it, or trying stuff out (similar to what Peter Carey refers to as cantillevering), so I'm always getting down what's in my head. She says it helps her enormously and I'm going to give it a go. I could go on about all the great advice, but you should probably go and check it out yourself.
2. The smell of the printer/photocopier room. I had to print out a couple of boring invoices today and when I walked into the room that houses the enormous Deathstar of a printer here in the English department I was hit by a smell that simultaneously excited me and reassured me. Why? I think because usually when I go into that room it's to print off pages of my novel. It makes me feel as though I've been working and I have something to show for it. Of course, today I haven't earned that smug feeling the room has given me (perhaps it needs more ventilation and I am in fact high on ink fumes), but I have it anyway. Come to think of it, I think I'm getting a headache.
Happy birthday, Richard Wagner
2 hours ago