What I Need to Write
One thing I love about writing is you don’t really need anything to start. I mean, eventually you’ll need a computer to type on and you won’t get far without at least a notepad and pencil, but I’ve been in places where I scratched out a scene on the back of receipt. Even if I have absolutely nothing to write on or with, I can think really hard about what I want to write, committing it to memory for later.
But yeah, there are certain comfort items and helpful tools that make writing easier, for me anyway. I’m not covering the obvious (pen and paper, or a computer keyboard) or comparing different options (Scrivener vs Word vs Open Office vs Google Docs), this is more a personal preference list than an educational one. That said, here are some of the things that really help me in my writing.
- A timer. It can be on your phone, your watch, or a kitchen egg timer (I google “timer” and use the one built into the search engine), but a timer is my personal magic-anti-procrastination ward. I write down my current word count, set the timer, and see how many words I can get out in ten minutes. My average is about 300. I usually reward myself at the end of each ten minute session with checking email or Facebook.
- Sounds. Most people say music, but I’m not really that musical, and I’m not picky about my sounds. As long as it doesn’t have distracting lyrics that make me focus on them rather than my work, I’m good. In fact, I do a lot of my writing to nature and ambient sound collections on YouTube. I once wrote several scenes to the Star Trek warp engine sound.
- A beverage. I’ve expounded before on my love for coffee, and it really isn’t the caffeine. I legitimately like the taste (though I don’t prefer darker roasts and generally take milk and sugar). Also having water at hand is handy … and wine during after dinner sessions. Having these available at my desk (I put them on a side table lower than my desk to avoid tragic keyboard spills) gives me one less reason to get up.
- Thesaurus/Dictionary/Emotional Thesaurus/Google. With the internet at my fingertips, I find it goes a lot easier. No “What is that word … what do you call … what is airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
- My cat. Cats get a bad wrap as workplace distractions. Yes, they tend to want attention at inconvenient times, but look at my buddy Bruce! In return for an occasional pat he provides excellent company. I told Bruce's story in an earlier post. We’ve only had him about a month, but he’s a perfect ginger gentleman.
So that’s my not-all-that-high-maintenance list of essentials. What are yours?