Sunday, June 19, 2011

Essential Writing Tools

Writing these days requires much more than a computer and a vivid imagination. Surprised? I was too. I began compiling a list of essential tools every writer needs to make it in this business. The real nuts and bolts of the industry, so to speak. A few items might surprise you...

1) A picture of Johnny Depp dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (bonus points for a life size cardboard cut out). Motivation is key, as any fellow writer will tell you. Johnny Depp doesn't motivate me to write necessarily. But he's parked next to my laptop, so naturally, so am I.

2) A good thesaurus. The four inch thick kind, but not for looking up synonyms. Puh-lease. It's the perfect superlative desk accessory to make you look learned erudite AND it doubles as a great perch platform for your coffee/tea/cocoa mug to rest. Okay, maybe also for synonyms.

3) Internet access. If you can't spend countless hours on all forms of social media and email, you're not really a writer. It's not a waste of time, despite what you're thinking. We're networking, learning dialogue, and how noticing how people socialize. And...and...oh, we can also look at different pictures of Johnny Depp dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow. Yup, it's a must.

4) A stress ball. You know, one of those balls you squeeze the hell out of when you can't find more pics of your work-in-progress is frustrating you or the thesaurus doesn't have propound the right word for your scene. It's also handy when your kids/spouse/dog tries to interrupt you. Make sure your aim is good.

5) Scratch paper. Not a notebook, notepad or any other form of organized paper. I'm talking about tiny scraps of paper ripped from a magazine, notebook, checkbook or even a napkin. Writers know the best ideas come when you have nothing handy to write lots oodles of words on. Only scraps will work suffice.

6) Music. This is a biggie. Most writers I know have their favorite music they write to. Some create fussy elaborate play lists. I use it to drown out the sound of the kids fighting. It's all about concentration.

7) Coffee, tea, alcohol or your beverage of choice. A drink is super duper critical for a writer's success. Why? I have no idea. We type, we drink. It's a addiction dependence thing we writers have. Take up writing and you'll understand. It's how we cope come up with our best creative work.

8) A cell phone headset. This comes in handy when you're writing at your local coffee shop (like all cool writers do), and you get weird looks for talking to yourself. Or your characters. Ahem. When you get strange looks, point to the ear piece, smile and shrug, then resume your imaginary conversation.

Do you have any great items in your writing tool box?

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