Sure, writing doesn’t take more than an author a pad of paper and a pencil, but there are a few additional items that can bring the best out of a writer. If you’re constantly composing, you may derive more inspiration when you hold all the right tools. That’s why today, as part of our editing services blog, we’re taking some time to offer up some of the best writer’s tools, instruments, and apparati.
The Basics (AKA the Tools of the Trade)
If you’re a tactile writer, pencil and parchment might do. Or perhaps you prefer the clacking of a typewriter. No? Then it’s a PC. Laptop or desktop? Both, you decide. Maybe you like to mix it up. You start the morning on the couch with a laptop and a cup of joe. Then, as the caffeine kicks in, it’s off to the library. You prefer the comfort of a Moleskine® notebook while you’re surrounded by the volumes. Next, you’re back to the home office for afternoon tea and a session on the typewriter. And as the day closes, it’s time to transpose all of your creations onto your desktop computer. These are the basics, aka the tools of the trade. Choose them wisely. Use them relentlessly. Don’t forget to backup your hard drive.
A Pocket Notebook
You never know when inspiration will strike. Any event in our day to day rigmarole can trigger creativity. Perhaps it’s a word that trickles off of a stranger’s tongue. Maybe it’s a headline in a newspaper. It’s the character of a neighbor. It’s the smell of autumn leaves falling. It’s the static of a lightning storm. Whatever it is that inspires you, you need to be ready at any moment. Invest in a pocket notebook and a mini-pen (or cut a pencil down to size). Carry these items with you everywhere; you never know when they’ll come in handy.
OK, don’t take your pocket notebook in the shower with you – or the bath for that matter. Invest in a shower pad. Or if you prefer, you may be able to use an erasable marker on the tile and glass that frame your shower. Take note, however, that showering may erase your scribblings, so be strategic where you write, and transpose your composition promptly. Inspiration always seems to strike in the shower; be prepared.
When writing out of doors, I love to people watch. And I don’t know why, but binoculars make the experience even better. I suppose I feel like a spy when I capture new characters with a glance through these advanced spectacles. Sure, it’s creepy, but that’s a sacrifice necessary for creativity. Grab a pair of binoculars if people watching is part of your character-building routine. Plus, you can bird watch while you’re open air writing.
Stylebooks, a Thesaurus, a Dictionary, Encyclopedias, or the Internet
If you’re the analog type, or if you simply live under a rock, you’ll have to get yourself stylebooks, a thesaurus, dictionary, and encyclopedias to ensure that you have the knowledge resources necessary to compose correctly. Otherwise, you can find all of the answers online. Myself, I prefer the weight of a real book for my personal writing projects. When it comes to professional writing, you’ll find me in front of a computer.
For the moments when you’re really on a roll, use a recorder. The hand is a meager tool in comparison to the power of the brain, so when you’re brain is racing with inspiration, just speak your mind… into a recorder. You can always transpose later. Most smartphones are already outfitted with recorders, so make the app easy to access. Or, if you prefer, you can buy a pocket-sized recorder fairly cheap.
Wireless Keys & Mouse
Writing on a computer can be tiring. Poor posture can be taxing. Slow typing can be a headache. Make the most of your machine with a wireless mouse and keyboard. As you shift around throughout a composition session, your keyboard and mouse can follow. You can even drop the keyboard onto your lap for a relaxed writing session. You’ll improve your words per minute, heighten your comfort, and reduce your odds of contracting carpal tunnel. Get a wireless keyboard with a pad while you’re at it, your wrists will thank you.
A Pack of Gum
It’s no joke. A stick of gum might be your cure to writer’s block. A study conducted in Japan under the National Institute of Radiological Sciences suggests that chewing gum may raise acuity, productivity, and alertness. Professor Andrew Smith from Cardiff University commented that “Chewing stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which stimulates part of the brain responsible for alertness. And we know that chewing increases heart rate, which in turn increases blood flow to the brain.”
Now, what flavor will you choose? My recommendation is cinnamon. A Wheeling Jesuit University article notes a study whose “results revealed trends suggesting that cinnamon administered via the mouth has the potential to enhance virtual recognition memory and attentional processes, and all flavored gums may enhance both working memory and visual-motor response speed.” It sounds like a stick of gum can go a long way to help regular writers.
Surely you have all the best instruments to get writing, so what’re you doing here reading? Get out there and write! Thanks for checking in here at Panther Editing. We’re proud to provide editing services and writing coaching for professionals and academics alike. Stop back soon!