Want to Write? Start with the Necessities

Sunday, May 15, 2011

So, you think you want to be a writer?

It doesn't matter if you devote 24/7 to the writing life or work another job and squeeze in writing time when possible. You still need basic necessities that make writing an easier task.

First, you need a space. Virginia Wolff believed a woman needs a room of her own. And, she's right. A writer needs an office/spot at the dining room table/a booth at the local coffee shop that she can call her own. Granted, some places provide better work opportunities than others, but a writer needs a space to set up shop. When I started freelancing, I converted a former bedroom into my cramped office, but I made it comfortable by repainting the walls to a cheery tangerine, adding memorabilia that inspires me, and using the space for writing only. What is your ideal office set-up?

Second, you need supplies. Even though you'll submit the majority of your work online, you still need to stock up on basics, like envelopes, paper, and stamps. I also make sure I have plenty of ink cartridges on hand, as well as Post-It notes, notebooks, batteries, postage (it's a 17-mile trip to town) and pens. I keep a separate notebook in my office, kitchen, bedroom and car. You never know when inspiration will strike! If you will be conducting interviews on a regular basis, invest in a digital audio recorder. It's a time saver! What office supplies do you have available?

Third, you need a computer and accessories. When I began freelancing, I didn't have the latest, greatest computer. I had a five-year-old laptop that was slow as molasses. But, I could still produce articles and stories. After a couple successful (translate: lucrative) sales, I upgraded to a computer that fit my needs. This included a photo software program, since photos must accompany most articles I write, as well as digital movie making software, since more online publications are asking me for a video to accompany a story package. But you can't just think about what computer you need. Think internet connection and make sure it's reliable. You also need to consider a printer, camera, digital video recorder, and scanner, depending on what you write. What type of computer essentials do you rely on most?

Fourth, you need a phone. Plus, it needs to be reliable. Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of an interview while on a cell phone and the network cuts out! We do not have a landline in our home, so I rely on my Blackberry to connect with contacts. With its myriad features, I use it to schedule appointments, network, send Twitter updates, and even type a story if I am on deadline. Do you use a land line, cell phone, or both to connect with your contacts?

Finally, you need time to write. Setting up an office and filling it with supplies doesn't make you a writer. Putting hand on keyboard, converting thoughts into characters, or picking up a favorite pen and pressing it against fine-lined paper (or college-rule for those of you who prefer wider spaces) is a great starting place.

Now, you are a writer.

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's writing at http://luannschindler.com.

Graphic by LuAnn Schindler


Kristi's Book Nook said...

I've been a writer for a long time according to your list. Thanks, it's boosted me up to write some more.

Sioux Roslawski said...

I love thinner-barreled pens, especially ones that spew out a smooth flow of ink.

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