Hammer, needle, business card, rake, easel, keyboard.
Like any profession or activity, a writer has certain tools that she or he cannot do without. The most important tool, of course, it the mind. We are constantly thinking, observing, creating, working through our story and completing it in our minds before we even get it out. And how do we get it out? With our other, more observable tools, of course!
I happen to love writing in pen. Pencil smudges to easily for me, and fades with time. I like “precision v5” pens to be precise. I don’t have to press hard, which means I can write for longer. The ink flows easily until it is gone, which means no wasting time scribbling in the margins to get the ink to come. It is like everything ceases to exist, and the story happens around me, through me – there are no distractions (unless of course, I am having an awful allergy attack as I was for the first couple hours of writing last night). I will use other types of pens, of course. If I’m taking notes or at work or writing things non-novel related. But when it comes to telling the story, writing a book – only one type of pen will do. Oh, and it can’t be black. I hate writing stories in black ink! Blues and greens are the best, though any color but red will do. Red is for editing, of course.
What is a pen without paper? No matter if you use pen, pencil, marker, or crayon, paper is a must. (Well, I suppose you could use a wall if you really needed to – or an arm or whatever else is handy.) I like spiral notebooks. When I was younger, I didn’t much mind what the cover looked like. Now I like solid colors or simple designs. No more Pirates of the Caribbean characters for me! I prefer notebooks that aren’t black so that my sharpie labeling shows up. I do use various sizes of notebook for different purposes. Regular size for the novel, smaller sizes for notes. Outlines (I can’t believe I do those now) are on loose-leaf paper and stored in a folder when not in use. Legal pads are another type of paper I use. And, in a pinch, I will use loose-leaf. I do prefer college-ruled, but will use wide-ruled. Really, I don’t discriminate. If it can be written on, I will write on it. I remember I wrote at least a chapter on fast-food napkins once.
Of course, we can’t submit hand-written manuscripts for publication. There are so many different options for typing our stories, articles, and poems that I know I will not be able to cover them all. I use Microsoft Word (though I hope to move on to Scrivener soon!), a flash drive, and Google Drive. Typing is, for me, the most arduous part of writing. I am not fond of technology, and am loathe to trust it with my mind-thoughts (haha, that’s a silly thing to say). I type a chapter, save it, and upload it to Google Drive. What computer processes do you use?
Of course we would not be complete without our dear readers, beta or otherwise. They are, after our minds, the best tool we have! Readers give us insights, help us make new connections in our writing, and inspire us when our imagination grows stale. And because no reader is the same, I cannot hope to express everything they do for us here. Let me just say: thank you readers! You are a writer’s greatest tool, and greatest gift. Without you, our stories would never gain the true life they do in the reader’s mind, despite how alive they are in ours.
What other tools of the trade are there?