Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Writer Toolkit

Writer's Toolkit (not really b/c these are screw drivers, but you get the idea)

Tools for Happy Writing:

  • Silence. Turn off the phone. Get a sitter, or leave kids with a spouse and go to the library. Send your friends home. Do whatever you have to for the right decibel level in your writing space.
  • Music. Now that it's quiet, you might find music inspirational. Crank it up! Or, if you're like me, listen to lyric-free music so you don't lose your words in someone else's.
  • Snacks. You know how Brad Pitt's always eating in his movies?  Eating on the job is pretty much proven to increase job satisfaction. So snack while you write. Celery or double-chocolate chip. It's up to you. Ahem, but one of these is guaranteed to cause Writer's Butt,and the other isn't. Just saying.

  • Clutter-free zone. I can write when my house/desk is cluttered. But I find my brain is just less cluttered when I tidy up first. Plus, I'm old fashioned so I like to have a sheet of paper in front of me to jot revision notes on as I write (whenever I find an inconsistency, so I can go back and fix the beginning to match my new development). So clear a space. Your brain will realize writing should be its focus. And a focused brain is a happy brain.
  • Notes and Resources. If you have notes on paper, or on your hard drive somewhere, pull them up and put them someplace where you can peruse back and forth between your WIP and the outline/character bible. I also have a bookshelf right next to my writing space, so I've taken advantage of the shelf within arm's reach and stacked it with my writing books and a couple general resource books about herbs, rocks, insects, stars and planets, plus pocket-size Encyclopedia of World History. They're for times when I'm not in a Google mood. Details and world-building matter, so I love being able to whip out a book and find a picture/description of a common flower. *flips open the herb book right now* Did you know, in the Middle Ages, the marigold was used to treat a range of ailments, like intestinal problems, smallpox, and measles. They even used it topically for burns and eczema. The flowers were also used to dye cheese yellow. I know. I never would have known.
  • Water. Or something to drink. Writing kissing scenes makes me SO thirsty. 
  • Stretching breaks. When I'm on a roll, I don't ever want to stop, but I also don't want my Writer's Butt to linger. Plus, I find stretching breaks are close enough to actual exercise (hee hee) they trigger those endorphins and make me feel good. Which makes me think, Hey, I'm an awesome writer. I can do this!
  • Bling. My mouse pad is a mini photo album of my family. Glancing at it while I write reminds me to write for them as well as myself. What motivates/inspires you? Is it your purple-haired troll doll?  Or maybe your picture of Jensen Ackles... 

  • Chat box. For days when you don't actually feel like writing, but must, pull your writing friends into a group chat and have a mini write-a-thon. Write for a set period of time (20 minutes, an hour) and check in with word count. Repeat as needed. Sure, at times the chat box can be distracting, but if you make it a tool in your Writer Toolkit, it will motivate you to get those words out.
  • Clothes. Okay, I added this in just to make an even ten, but hey, you need clothes to write. They protect you from mosquitoes and make your butt look good. (Was that my third mention of butts in this post? *face palm* Well, you know where my brain is today.) 

What's in your Writer Toolkit for happy writing? Gel pens? Stickers? Glitter? Or are you strictly a laptop sort of writer?

p.s. Our awesome follower love contest with agent query critiques will run a whole week, so Amparo will have your winners Monday. Keep spreading the fabulous word (you guys rock at that) and be sure to stop by Monday to see if you won the drawings.


  1. Great post! My toolkit definitely consists of snackage--especially anything sour or gummy or chocolate. :)

  2. Clothing optional! Totally kidding. I love the list. I don't often snack while I write though, sometime I get in the writing-zone and food is a distraction. But a beverage? Totally necessary

  3. Ha! Love the list. I'd say my laptop, no kids around, and coffee. Definitely coffee. Oh and music too!

  4. Great post! Love the picture :D so not a writing tool kit unless it belongs to Fred Flintstone:D

    My tool kit consists of:

    My cozy bed, pen & paper, music and a fruit smoothie :D Sometimes I will move to the pc but my bed is just way to comfy especially on cool wintery evenings. But I must have peace and quiet or else my writing turns into something about needing peace and quiet! :D

  5. Jensen Ackles and his ilk have a tendency to slow my writing process for a few hours while I photoshop his pictures to make them fit my chars...but then it picks up with some HEAT :P

  6. Everything is a storyteller's toolkit, the immediate surroundings and distant stars.

  7. Post-Its. I'm obsessed. I even go to their website to ogle products.

  8. Okay I had to laugh at the "writing kissing scenes makes me SO thirsty" part! Ha ha!

    My main tools are:

    Research journal

    Though snacks are always helpful, too. (Especially when the snack's main ingredient is chocolate.)

  9. I used to snack more at the keyboard, until the tabby boy decided that I could multitask by typing and by petting him in my lap at the same time. Now I don't have a free hand for food, and if I try it, I get cat hair on my treat. Aack.

    And stretching is essential for me; I actually set a timer for 20 minutes and walk around a bit each time it goes off. Okay, sometimes I cheat a bit, and turn it off to work just a little longer. . .especially when I'm working on photos.

  10. You guys all have wonderful ideas! Thank you for sharing them. My Happy Writer Toolkit just got a little bit better equipped. :)


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