My Writer’s Toolbox

I’ve been writing ever since I was big enough to hold a crayon. Here are some things that help me. They may help you.

1. Write where you’re most comfortable. I tried the whole sitting at a desk in a windowless room thing. My brain said “You have got to give me more than this.” I need sunlight, a nice view, the wind in my hair, and the kid across the back fence pounding on his drums (well maybe not but my point is I need life around me). So, weather permitting, I write at the table in my garden. Fortunately, I live in Florida (yay Sunshine State!)

Welcome to my office
My view today is white Beacon impatiens, plumbago, and a white-winged dove.

2. Work small when you have to. I have a full time day job (for which I’m very grateful) and often do theatre at night. On my planner every Monday-Friday I write 3 things in the Writing section of my to-do list. I spend 5 minutes reading Writer’s Digest magazine. I spend 5 minutes reading a book on technique. Then I spend 15 minutes writing something (guess what I’m writing today? If you guessed blog post, you win!)

This is my life outside of the day job planner where I attempt to balance my health, my family, my home, and, of course, my writing.
This is my Writing Block section from today’s to-do list. (I also have a Health Block, an Inspiration Block, a Home Block, and a Yard and Garden Block all in different colors because I love color.

3. Find writing blogs you like. My favorites are Janet Reid’s and Killzone.

4. Have your toolbox ready at all times. My essentials are: colored paper clips in a cute little box, index cards, various sizes of sticky notes, small scissors, glue, colored pens, highlighter, mechanical pencil, click eraser, my tip journal and work journal. Since I like to write outside (preferably at the beach) all I have to do is grab and go.

I also keep what I call “the fish bowl” (see Japanese bowl in picture). This is where those great first lines or “wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments go when I’m working on something else. That way they don’t get away and I get to work on what I’m working on. On days when I’ve got nothing, I pull something out of the fishbowl and work on that. Sometimes my mind goes “Nope. I’d rather work on -” and I work on whatever it wants to work on.

My toolbox and fishbowl

5. Make your projects easy to find. I keep different projects in different binders. I love color coding. I also love the dollar store, which has these binders in abundance. For a dollar.

6. Make note of things that inspire you.

This is where I make notes from books, speakers, conferences.
I also like big blank sketch books for articles, quotes, and things that inspire me (this is what the scissors and glue are for).

7. Keep track of your work.

This is my work journal where I log what I actually did. I use my checkoff in my planner to make sure my writing gets done. I use this to keep track of where I am and what I need to do next.

8. Progress is progress. Whatever you get done, celebrate it.


Happy writing!