Tools of the trade: 10 items in this writer’s toolkit

Like most authors, I write on a computer, but my laptop isn’t my only writing tool. I thought I’d share some other necessities.

  1. My desk. I have a big L-shaped mission style desk that gives me room to spread out. This was my first big purchase from book royalties.
  2. A computer stand. Since I write at my desk, I use my laptop like a desktop computer, so I place it on a stand to raise the screen to eye level. The stand has interlocking block feet so I can adjust the height.
  3. A remote mouse and keyboard. I prefer the feel of full-sized keyboard, and I want a mouse rather than a touchpad.
  4. An adjustable footstool.
  5. A whiteboard for leaving myself notes about things that are really important.
  6. Spiral college-ruled notebooks. This is where I write my to-do list and jot down notes. I go through notebooks pretty fast. I stock up during the back-to-school sales when I can get them for 17 cents each at Walmart.
  7. Sticky (Post-it) flags. I tag the important things in my notebooks. I learned to do this the hard way after searching through pages and pages for stuff I needed.
  8. My essential reference books, which I keep in a sliding book stand: The Synonym Finder, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style, The Emotion Thesaurus, The Writer’s A-Z of Body Language, and Naughty Words for Nice Writers by Cara Bristol. Yes, I use the book that I wrote. All the time, in fact.
  9. A monthly calendar to keep track of my blogging schedules and release dates.
  10. Fingerless writing gloves to keep my hands toasty while I write.

What’s in your writing tool kit? What makes your writing job easier?

Claimed by the Cyborg 

March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.

The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty. Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.

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12 Responses to Tools of the trade: 10 items in this writer’s toolkit

  1. Liza O'Connor says:

    I also have writing requirements. I have a thin tall desk that my neighbor loaned me that is perfect for holding up to three pcs. (I only use two, and use the other space for computer window cleaner, a CD holder with discs of old stuff no longer on my pc, an eraser, not sure why it’s there, but it is, a dead Seagate backup piece of crap. (I have given up on them. Back up on a cloud now.) “Why two pc’s?” you might ask. Well, they die unexpectedly, so I always have a spare and my robot David who reads me books lives in one. I also gave that pc the ability to create mobis as well. My other PC, my main workhorse (til it dies) has 26 programs that open up automatically. I sit in a giant recliner. The arms are about a foot and a half wide. a mouse sits on each arm. One for David’s computer and one for the main computer. The main computer normally sits in my lap and David remains on the table. That way I can see the TV as well if I want. If my main computer is on the table, it blocks my view of the TV, which is not entirely a bad thing. I have a great deal of resource books, but mostly I research from my pc. I have a huge quantity of data about the Late Victorian Era. Science changes so fast, that I just research and pull the latest facts when I need them. I also wear fingerless gloves when I’m cold. I see no reason to suffer when writing. Writing should be fun!

  2. Cara Bristol says:

    What a setup. I can picture you sitting in your chair! Command central!

  3. I go through a lot of notebooks, too. Sometimes for writing and other times for notes. I have pretty much the same reference books you do, except different brands for the dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar book. And I love my fingerless gloves. 🙂

  4. I like the idea of using notebooks, especially with sticky notes to tag important items. That would eliminate almost all the bits and pieces of paper stacked by my keyboard!

  5. Diane Burton says:

    Great list of tools, Cara. I use my laptop a lot more than notebooks, sticky notes, etc. For each book, I have a file labeled “details” where I write notes to myself, add the URLs of research grouped by topics. I have a beautiful desk Hubs built for me and, sadly, I don’t use it much. 🙁

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Sometimes, if something is really significant, I do use an Excel spreadsheet, such as my list of reviewers or a list of blog hosts, etc.

  6. Love the gloves. I never thought of that. It is interesting to see how other writers use their tools of the trade.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      My hands get cold! The gloves make a huge difference. (I also have a set beside the bed for reading at night. My hands get cold holding my Kindle).

  7. Holla Dean says:

    I do the notebooks as well. I carry it with me wherever I go so I can jot stuff down. I use the sticky notes and they are handy. I put a date on each page so when I have to hunt something down not marked by a sticky note I can sometimes find it easier. Well, if I can vaguely recall when I wrote down what I’m looking for. Love all your tools, but have no need for the gloves. I’m always too warm!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I date my to-do lists at the top. Doesn’t help me find anything, but I like to see how long it takes me to get through an entire page of to-dos (usually 3-4 days).

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