As a writer you don’t need a physical, tangible toolkit to store these tools in. But you do need these tools, to help you in your quest to master the craft of writing.
To be fair, a couple of these tools aren’t very physical. Last I checked, it was impossible to hold music in your hand. But you can hear music, and music has physical affects on the body. The other not-so-physical tool, a word processing program, is something you can have on a computer. Since computers are physical objects, I think it still counts.
6 Tools Every Writer Should Have In Their Physical Toolkit is broken up into two parts. In the first part I’ll cover the more down to earth tools, which are notebooks, books to read, and a word processing program. In the second part we’ll go over the more fun and personal tools: music, drinks, and snacks.
I don’t care if you are completely devoted to using digital media for anything and everything in your life. You need a notebook. Even if it’s just a tiny thing that can fit in your wallet. In fact a tiny one that fits in your wallet is wonderful! What are you going to do if you have an awesome story idea and your phone is dead? You’re going to write it in the notebook that’s in your wallet.
Plus notebooks are really cheap. If you buy them during a back to school sale, you can get them for less than a dollar each. They come in all different sizes and have different page numbers.
You could even get a really fancy leather bound book and pretend you’re an 18th century poet whenever you write in it. Or if you’re more artistically inclined, there are notebooks that have half the pages lined for writing, and half of the pages blank for drawing.
If you’re not fond of notebooks at all, there are some replacements you can use. Sticky notes and index cards work well if you like to play around with your ideas, reordering them in unexpected ways. You could even write down your ideas on your arms if you want to.
And it isn’t just ideas that you’ll need to write down in a notebook. You can write down the names of editors or agents you want to meet, times and addresses of writing group meetings, and the titles of books you want to read.
Books to Read
We all have to get inspiration from somewhere. As a writer, what better way than from books? It’s probable that a special book or series of books made you want to become a writer. And reading tales of adventure, action, and romance probably kept you wanting to be a writer. So keep reading books and keep writing.
The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, those were the very first thing that made me want write. I was 8 or 9 years old and I knew I wanted to be Carolyn Keene; I had learned about ghostwriting at a very young age.
But when I started doing creative writing in school I absolutely hated it. At first I was so excited, and why wouldn’t I be? Creative writing meant I got to work on my dream of writing mysteries. But it was too constrained. The stories had to be short, usually only one or two pages. At the time I didn’t know that it takes a longer story if you want to have dynamic subplots and interesting character development, so I assumed I was just a terrible writer.
I had stopped writing, but I kept reading. When I was ten years old my dad bought me the first book in the Wheel of Time series. It was my very first exposure to fantasy, unless you count watching the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring when I was seven but never finishing it because the Orcs scared me.
I was hooked. I fell in love with fantasy, and so it’s no surprise to me that when I wrote my first novel, it was YA contemporary fantasy. It was terrible, and the story went nowhere, but I absolutely loved it.
I am a writer, even though I hated writing when I was younger. But if I had given up reading for fun, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Word Processing Program
You don’t actually need a word processing program to write. But it’s a blessing to have when you need to edit or format. For writing you could use a simple writing program, like FocusWriter, which is what I use.
Editing is different from writing, and word processing programs do make the editing process simpler, by allowing for grammar and spell checking, as well as multiple formatting functions. Some of these editing and formating functions include being able to add references, go to specific page numbers, track changes, and change spacing.
You can use whatever you want for your writing process, be it notebooks and pens, parchment and quills, a typewriter, or a writing program on your computer. But when it comes to editing, word processing programs are invaluable.
Notebooks to write information, ideas, and inspiration. Books to read that help you gain inspiration and motivation. Word processing programs that allow for ease when editing. It may seem like those are the only tools writers would need. But in part two I’ll be showing you the tools you need to keep your own energy and moral up while writing.
Looking for mental tools? I have a couple blog posts covering various mental tools that writers need. Part one is about ideas, inspiration, and motivation, and part two is about support, places to write, and places to explore.