- My MacBook Pro – my first introduction to computers was to Apple, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
- Paper and Pen/Pencil – of course a writer needs a scratch pad nearby.
- The World Wide Web – my connection to the internet is always on (thanks to changing technology that took me from one phone-line and dial-up to designated line and wi-fi).
- Resource books – my Webster’s Dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus.
- Words – my love of words is why I write; without them I could not communicate what’s on my mind and heart. I discovered a cool website while researching for this blog which reinforces the importance of our basic word-tools: http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/writing-tools/76067/fifty-writing-tools-quick-list/
- My Day Planner – I found a lovely, thin, coil bound planner this year with each month displayed on a two-page layout. It’s not for the detailed hour-by-hour details (which I don’t do) but for the daily and weekly and monthly reminders and commitments in my writing world. I’m a visual person, so it helps to see my calendar in larger format than on my iPhone.
- Quiet – I’ve tried the coffee shop thing but it doesn’t work for me. Maybe I don’t get out enough, but I end up staring and get no work done. My small balcony office at home is best for this introvert.
- Social Media – Not that long ago I would have consigned these to the extras list, but with forced introductions to some of these I have begun to see the important and even essential nature of social media. If we want our writing to be read, we must make it accessible. In this area, I include:
- My resource books – grammar books like Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynee Truss and Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Conner
- Scrivener – my favourite writing software (there are inexpensive courses online—see Gwen Hernandez—as well as Gwen’s book, Scrivener for Dummies). Scrivener is a reasonably simple and effective way of keeping all elements of a project in one virtual unit that includes scenes, summaries, organizational tools, research files, picture/internet files, conversion tools, etc.
- Online photo sites like iStockphoto and Shutterstock where I can look for character images.
- I came upon a site that includes a lot more software for writing and publishing at http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/Writing+Tools
- Index cards – Once my first (or second) draft is completed, I like to write a very brief summary of the scenes, one scene per card, arrange them on my dining room table (with the extra leaves in) and work with them. Again, it’s a visual thing. Can’t trust my brain anymore so I have to resort to more physical methods.
Extras: (or maybe these are convenient…or even essential?)
- Tea – I’d love to drink coffee but it plays havoc with my body, so I opt for tea. I have a handy cup-warmer at the far side of my desk (never keep beverages close to your computer, she said from experience).
- A comfortable, ergonomic chair and footrest – it’s hard to stay in the chair if it’s uncomfortable and bad for your back.
- A moderately sized blanket for times when you get chilly. Mine’s one of those velvety soft things that never moves from my writing chair.
- Charts and tables – As a visual person, I need to organize my writing so I can see the whole project. Scrivener is good for this, and the index cards are another step, but I still branch out to charts, especially when I’m stymied and need a diversion.
I’m sure these lists will adapt to changes in my world, but these are currently my most cherished writing tools.