Tools of the Trade

In this age of readily available technology, most people automatically head straight for their computers when it's time to write. That's exactly what I did when I got my very first Apple desktop computer, an iMac with the transparent blue bullet-shaped back, a joint birthday gift from my husband, Brian, and sister, Toni. I thought I was the sizzle! I purchased a second-hand desk, placed it against the brick wall of our loft apartment, hung an African textile above the desk, added a potted cactus and a desk lamp, and I thought all I had to do was sit at that picture perfect set-up and magic would happen!

A dinosaur

Quite the opposite proved to be true. I found the tapping sound of the keyboard a distraction which made me hyper- aware of what I was attempting to do, preventing me from detaching from the process and just getting down to writing. After several attempts, I resorted to pen and paper. If you decide to go this route, find a pen you like and make sure you keep an ample supply handy, and make sure you keep pads throughout your house and a small notebook that you can carry with you. The Notes app on iPhones are a good place to jot down ideas that pop into your head, but a small notebook is always a reliable backup in case your phone battery dies.

Another advantage of pen and paper is that they are plentiful, portable, and there's never a lag in time while you wait for your computer to bootup or your phone to find a hot spot. Ideas and insights tend to strike at the strangest times - getting up from bed to pee, for example, or while nursing your child or riding the train in to work. Bottom line, you want to be prepared. One major drawback of the pen and paper route is that you will have to transcribe your hand-written notes to typed notes, which essentially equates to more time. But the extra time you put in to transcribing your work may prove worthwhile if writing by hand enables you to be more present and, subsequently, more productive while you are writing.

Take some time in these first couple of weeks to try various writing tools until you hit upon what feels right for you, and then go with it.

Next: Writing Spaces

Hello, Welcome and Congratulations!

Today is the day that we embark on this journey together to write our stories. By now, you should have an idea of the story that you want to write. You don't need to know the whole story, but maybe you have an idea, a theme or a character that has you intrigued that you want to flush out and see where it leads. Writing is an unscientific process, and one that involves the mind as well as emotions.

For this reason, those of you who are writing a novel, be certain that you choose a story that you want to live with day in and day out because as your story unfolds and your characters come to life, you will find that they creep into your waking hours as well as your dreams. If you develop your characters fully enough, they will become life-like and literally take you on their journey; I have described this in that past as living a parallel life. When you experience this, you will know that you are in Flow, a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and represents being totally absorbed in what you are doing that you lose sense of time and space. Personally, writing is the one thing that I do where I experience Flow; hence, I will always write because for me it represents freedom of expression through creativity. While writing non-fiction is a different experience (no parallel life), it can be just as rewarding.

Now, please know that while the experience can be rewarding, self-actualizing and even fun, understand that it requires hard work and dedication to see your thoughts become a tangible thing. Today, if you haven’t already done so, just begin. Sit down and start writing. It really is that simple. Commit to getting something on paper.

Tomorrow, I will discuss the actual mechanics of writing – the tools, the time and the physical space, but for today…just begin.

One week from today I will begin writing my third book. I am very excited to get started, but am postponing the start date so that all my new writing buddies can gather and we can begin together!

Share this blog site with a friend. There is no cap on fun or creativity!

Writing tools are an important part of the craft.

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