I’ve been incredibly busy lately, what with my book coming out in less than twenty days (HOLY MOLY, IT’S FINALLY HERE) and revisions of the new book and working on short stories for my fiction class and also forcing myself to trudge through all of the other academic work on my agenda so I can actually, you know, earn a degree and not give my dad a heart attack when he finds out he paid tuition dollars for C’s, so I haven’t had a lot of time to come up with fun and quippy ideas for blog entires. However, with all of this extra writing I’ve been doing, I’ve realized that I can’t really have a productive day of talking to myself unless I’m well-equipped with my “writer’s tool box”.
Now, I know you may be conjuring up images of a some rusty looking fishing tackle box or Luke’s tool box, Burt, from Gilmore Girls (I appreciate you if you get the reference), but, alas, I have no physical container to store these necessary items. My “writer’s tool box” is imaginary, so the comparison may be a bit of stretch, but it’s 11:06 on a Tuesday night, so cut me a break. Anyway, I thought I would share with you what all I have in it.
1. Massive amounts of coffee
Here’s a true story for you. This morning, I woke up a little early to get started on my daily goal of 2,000 words, and rolled out of bed at the wee hour of 8 AM (I’m in college. This, to me, is early.) and came downstairs to let my dog out and brew myself a warm cup of liquid personality. Except for one thing: I was out of coffee. How could I let this happen? How could I have been so foolish? So, I put on some pants and got in my car to head to my local Starbucks. I turn in to go through the drive through, when I see this heinous disaster: a chalkboard has been propped up at the entrance that says that both the indoor cafe and drive through are closed due to a power outage. They are sorry for the inconvenience. I, personally, feel that their apology doesn’t quite make up for the inconvenience. Alas, I know that I can’t come home unless I have something caffeinated in my hand, and I look way too just-rolled-out-of-bed to go into a grocery store for ground coffee. So I stooped to a level of fast food eating that’s lower than low: the McDonald’s McCafe. It’s not my favorite, or ever my first choice, but it did the trick.
I can’t tell you how many good stories I have lost to Word Document. It’s taken me a long time to get over myself make the switch, but I now only use Google Docs, and they take extra special good care of my work. I feel like they actually care.
3. Major self-control, or an App that doesn’t let you get on BuzzFeed while you work.
There are a lot of these out there. I highly recommend Freedom. Suddenly, I don’t go from composing dialogue to scrolling through a list of “Dogs Who Are Stuck in Things, But Totally Okay With It” and lose hours of my day to the black hole that is the Internet.
4. A good editor.
Thanks, Mom! Hold on to these people like they owe you money. Even though you probably owe them money for reading your crappy first drafts.
5. A door that locks.
I get a little weird when I’m in the writing zone. I pace around the floor, I have conversations with myself, I end up in all kinds of yoga positions to get the blood (and, hopefully, ideas) flowing to my head. I don’t necessarily want the rest of the world to see this. So, I lock the door.
6. Other books.
“You’re not a writer unless you’re a reader.” I don’t know who said that, so I’m claiming it as my own. On the days I don’t write, I try to read a little of something someone else wrote. It keeps you sharp. Like a pencil. A pencil that you write with!
7. A deadline.
This works for some people better than others. I’m the type of person who won’t do anything if you give me unlimited time to do it, so I make up deadlines for myself, and then I act like it’s incredibly important that I finish on time, or else we might face a real life The Day After Tomorrow situation, or something. Which might make for a good story. So there you go.
If you have any other tools for your writer’s toolbox that you swear by, I’d love to hear about them. And possibly steal them from you. Thanks for reading!