Monday, February 16, 2015

8 Writing Essentials

 If I’m going to be honest, I’d have to say that I love reading about writing almost more than I love actually writing. For one, it’s easier--but learning about other people’s writing processes has always helped me understand mine better. And who doesn't like getting a chance to peek at the details of someone else’s life? (I realize this makes me sound like a voyeur. However, without people like this, blogs wouldn't exist.) Anyway, since I love these kinds of posts so much, I decided to cook up one of my own. Here are the eight essentials to my writing process.

1. Notebooks
Most of my writing starts in notebooks: freewrites, story notes, and first drafts. The best ones are pretty utilitarian--spiral-bound, college ruled--so I don’t have to worry about “ruining” them with less than perfect writing. I also keep journals, which are usually a bit fancier. At the moment, I’m trying to manage two; a normal one and a ten-year journal. I don’t write an entry every day, but I do try to update a couple of times a week.

2. Pens, Pencils, & Markers
For some reason, I prefer pens with blue ink over pens with black ink. I use markers and colored pens to mark up drafts when I’m editing.

3. Index Cards & Post-It Notes
I used to jot down my ideas on index cards, and now I keep a shoe box full of them on my shelf. It’s full of random bits of inspiration that don’t have a particular story yet--observations, quotes, titles. I don’t use post-its much, except when I’m editing. I like to mark up my drafts, and sticky notes help keep things a little cleaner.

4. Iwako erasers
They're completely useless, since I can't imagine using them to erase anything. They do make my desk a place I want to be, though. I own the dessert and sushi sets. 

5. Binders
For storing drafts, print-outs of my favorite articles, worksheets, and just about anything else.

6. Spotify Web Player
I do create playlists for my projects, but while I’m writing I prefer instrumental, ambient music rather than songs with lyrics, which make up the bulk of my playlists. If I do listen to a specific song, I’ll replay it until I can’t stand it anymore. Either way, Spotify is my favorite site for streaming music. I also have accounts with 8tracks and Grooveshark, but neither has suited me quite as well.

7. Pinterest
I've been trying to cut back on my time there, since it’s so addictive, and, yet again, much easier than actual writing. It’s not exactly an essential, either, but it is lots of fun and a great place to collect inspiring images, which are.

8. Books
For inspiration, research, and enjoyment (I tend to forget that it’s enough to just enjoy a book). A couple of my favorite writing-related books are The Craft of  Writing the Novel by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and Wired for Story by Lisa Cron.

What are your writing essentials? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Ooh, those erasers are adorable. Used to have so many when I was young.

    I essentially just need my computer and Wi-Fi access, wherein I'll fiddle with 8tracks and Tumblr to get inspiration. (I use a private sideblog instead of Pinterest for inspiration.) But I definitely need post-its and markers by my bed so that I can write down the ideas that come in the dark!

    1. Most of my Pinterest boards for specific projects are still private--I don't feel quite ready to show them to the world! I also make sure I have index cards on my desk (it's only a few steps away from my bed) in case I get ideas during the night, though--luckily or unluckily--most of my inspiration seems to strike during the day.

  2. I laughed so much at the rubbers, they are useless but pretty!
    Lovely post :)
    I love writing, just for me, but getting creative is quite therapeutic :) x

    1. It really is, especially when I've gotten to the point where I can let things flow without worrying too much about quality. This usually takes a while, but it's worth it!