Writing is a craft and as with any craft it comes with its own set of tools. This makes me think of when I was learning to play the piano.
You have the piano but you also have your grade piece book, your book of scales for the grade you are at and music case to put them in. Later I got a metronome to tick away as I played, another piece of kit for the journey!
When I learnt interior design, I had a drawing board and set square and specific types of pen that give just the right thickness of line for the different elements in a room design.
I remember when I was growing up hearing people say ‘A poor workman blames his tools.’ But what if a good workman can also blame his tools?
What if by not having good tools you are in fact denying yourself that you are really ‘a writer.’ You need to claim being a writer as part of your identity if you want to make it part of your path.
Are you writing at the kitchen table? There is a reason that Virginia Woolf wrote ‘A Room of One’s Own.’ Where can you create your space to write in, one that does not have place-mats and bits of ‘colouring in’ and homework on it?
So here they are, my favourite writing tools (at the moment and liable to change, writers can be fickle creatures)
1) Comfortable writing chair. In ‘The War of Art,’ Stephen Pressfield talks about the importance of turning up. It helps to have a comfy chair to turn up to. I know that one day we will all be standing as we work as it is meant to be good for the body, but for now I like my comfy chair.
2) The book, ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron. This was the book that helped me claim my writing and helped me claim that I wanted to leave teaching to become a coach.
3) Ommwriter (free version) – creates a distraction free writing environment with nice colours that change and your choice of tappy key noises. I don’t always use this, but it is good if you are in a more meditative mood as you write.
4) Moleskine plain black or pastel coloured notebooks (the French macaron of notebooks) – feel good writing papers.
5) Stabilo point 88 fine 0.4 pens in a myriad of colours – makes writing like colouring in, also great for if you are drawing a mind map.
6) A writing buddy or buddies – these can be online or off. Writing is story and these used to be told around camp fires. Get your own camp fire pals.
7) When you feel resistance use tomato timer online. You work in increments of 25 minutes with five-minute breaks in between. The shorter bursts of action mean you work with more focus. Natalie Goldberg’s books are also great when you encounter resistance.
8) Name your points of inspiration – Books, both fiction and non-fiction are points of inspiration – to be a writer drench yourself your whole life through with words.
Art (including photography / fashion / design / food / film) work well as a point of inspiration; so does nature.
9) Audio guided meditations and a journal – both to help you tap into what you have to say to the world.
10) At some point, you may consider working with a writing coach or mentor. I offer a two-week online retreat for women writers called ‘Writing on Velvet.’ You can find out more about it on the online retreats page on this site.
I loved this course by Sarah K.Peck.
And the creative writing courses by the Open University.
This is a great course for firing up blog and online writing.
Oh, and if you want to write modern fiction for women this magazine is an interesting read.
What about you? What are your favourite resources as a writer? I’d love to hear in the comments below.