Thursday, December 31, 2009

12 Things a Writer Needs

Happy New Year's Eve to all. It's been a hectic holiday season with family home for the past week. We've enjoyed spending time with our children and our granddaughter. Needless to say, not much work got done, but that's what the holidays mean. I've given up feeling guilty about it. I don't see the family nearly enough and time is too short. Still, the season is drawing to a close, and it's time to start focusing on work once again.

Today while waiting for my mammogram, I read an article about the designer Donatella Versace and what 12 things she can't live without. I immediately started thinking about what 12 things, as a writer, I need. Here's my list:

1. a thesaurus
2. a dictionary
3, a grammar reference book
4. a current copy of Writer's Market
5. a current copy of Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market
6. a good word processing program
7. a reliable computer
8. a reliable internet connection
9. a quiet work space
10.a small pad of paper and a pen
11.a "jump starter" such as Creative Calisthenics or The Write Brain Workbook
12.a supportive group of writing friends

What are the 12 things you feel you need, as a writer? Please share your thoughts with me.

Of course, there are always New Year Resolutions. I'm going to try to keep mine simple. I want to finish the sequel to my middle grade novel. I also want to gather my writing tips into a collection suitable for eBook publication. Lastly, I want to find publishers for my picture book and my adult short story anthology. 2009 has been a productive year for me, and I hope this streak continues into 2010. Have you made any resolutions? I'd love to hear about them.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Penny,
    I loved your list on what a writer needs. They are so true! May I add one more to the list? Organization. Every year I keep shooting for it but the brass ring always eludes me!

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  2. 12 things I need as a writer:
    a quiet place to write
    the support of my mate
    a reliable computer
    a possible goal
    interaction with other writers
    a burning desire to share
    a dictionary
    a RED pen
    a reliable printer
    internet service
    a quiet place to read
    ideas

    Happy New Year everyone!

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  3. Wine. (I'm very fond of Riesling.)

    Also, an iTunes folder on the reliable computer (see #7) named "Music to Write To" filled with copious amounts of Duran Duran and other 80s groups and moody stuff. :)

    Others may have other ideas...
    He he he.
    From Sandy Lender
    "Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

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  4. I think you've pretty well covered the bases, Penny. Happy New Year!

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  5. Deb, thanks for adding to the list. I was hoping to see what other writers need as well.

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  6. Thanks, Chris. A great list and I see we share some of the same needs. :-)

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  7. Sandy, thanks for adding to the list. I know a lot of people need music to write. I'm the silent writer and love quiet to focus my thoughts.

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  8. Hi Penny~

    My list of 12 Things a Writer Needs includes:
    * A reliable computer
    * Dictionary.com -- I love the ease of switching back and forth between dictionary and thesaurus
    * A quiet workspace
    * Piping hot cups of black coffee
    * http://www.writing.com -- the BEST, most supportive online writing community on the Web!
    * My sister, also a writer, who is always ready to help me flesh out that character or debate the necessity of a comma.
    * A long hot shower -- I don't know why, but that's the moment inspiration often strikes (do they sell waterproof paper and pen yet?)
    * Post-It notes -- for those moments of genuis I can't forget to include in upcoming chapters
    * The latest copy of Glimmer Train -- sometimes when my muse falters, reading other brilliant writers' work gets the inspiration going again
    * Chocolate -- okay, I try NOT to eat chocolate when I write...but it should be on any list of essential items in life :)
    * My Gratitude Stone -- I have a piece of sea glass I plucked off the shore of the Mediterranean Sea on my first wedding anniversary thirteen years ago. It's smooth and there's a groove where my thumb fits perfectly. I hold it when I contemplate my blessings, and when I commune with my characters and ponder their dilemmas.
    * Lastly, the support of my husband and children. On the (rare) days I don't have that, you can be sure I'm not writing.

    Thanks for this opportunity to articulate what's important to me as a writer. Best of luck to you in all your writing projects!

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  9. Hi Penny!

    Your list has gotten me thinking, and I’ve come up with my List of 12 Things I Need as a Writer. Here it is:
    * A reliable computer/word processor – When thoughts come fast and furious, my pen just can’t keep up.
    * Dictionary.com – I love the ease of clicking back and forth between dictionary and thesaurus.
    * A quiet workspace
    * Piping hot cups of black coffee
    * My sister, also a writer, who is always willing to help me flesh out a character or debate the necessity of a comma.
    * Writing.com -- The BEST online writing community where I post some of my work and draw helpful, supportive critiques.
    * A hot shower – I don’t know why, but when I get stuck connecting plot points, the shower is the place where inspiration hits me. (Do they sell waterproof paper and pen yet?)
    * Chocolate – Okay, I try not to eat chocolate when I write, but it deserves a spot on any list of life’s essentials :)
    * The current issue of Glimmer Train -- Nothing wakes my uninspired muse like reading brilliant writing from successful authors.
    * My Gratitude Stone – Thirteen years ago I found a piece of sea glass on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s smooth and curved so my thumb lays perfectly in the groove. I hold it when I count my blessings, and when I commune with my characters and ponder their dilemmas.
    * Post-It notes – for those moments of genius I don’t want to forget to include in future (or past) chapters.
    * Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the support of my hubby and kids. On the (rare) days when I don’t have it, you can be sure I won’t be writing.

    Thanks for this opportunity to reflect on the methods behind my creative madness! I wish you a Happy New Year and the best of luck in all your writing pursuits.

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  10. Quiet time.
    Ideas.
    Someone to try ideas on.
    An honest critique group.
    People who love you even when you fail.
    People who love you even when you win.
    Pens
    Paper
    A great RED pen.
    Computer space.
    Computer.
    A dependable vehicle (for fast get aways).
    A hide away for those times when you just need solo time.
    A good cell phone (so you can post blogs without your computer).

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  11. Jan, thanks for posting your list. I never would have thought of using my cell phone to post my blog. I've never even sent a text message! I guess I'd better catch up with everyone. I love your suggestion of having people love you whether you fail or win.

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  12. Great list, Penny,

    I'd think of it as a vacation and catch up on a lot of reading I need to do.

    As far as posting from a cell phone, mine doesn't have that capability - I'm on the computer enough.

    Karen

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  13. Karen, glad you can stop by. I have to agree, I'm on the computer enough, too.

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  14. Nicole, Thanks for your list. I'll have to check out some of the items you've included that I didn't think of. Sorry it took a while to post this, but your email got caught in my spam filter.

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  15. Katie, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked my list.

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