The writing process can be lonely, introspective and at times down-right strange. We all have our quirks, those weird little tricks that help us scoop words from our heads and dump them on the page with the hope they will resemble something near readable material. If you can’t write properly without the right music or a special pen or being in a specific place, yeah I’m talking about you. About us. Outside of pen preference, here are my special writing essentials I just can’t live without.
- OneNote: Organizing the Voices in my Head I almost missed the benefits of Microsoft OneNote. It annoyed me so much I was ready to delete it from my computer but now I’m glad I didn’t. Every time I went to print something, my computer would default to saving my print job to OneNote and leave me waiting at the printer in vain. I hated OneNote. Then one day, I realized it’s awesomeness. OneNote gathers information and organizes it into notebooks, sections, and pages. It’s the perfect companion to my cluttered mind. I have a OneNote app on my phone that syncs with my computer so when I’m away, jotting down a note is as simple as writing a text message. You can capture everything like photos, websites and audio and video files in your notebooks and save it for later. I have a OneNote notebook dedicated to writing prompts so I never forget an idea for a new story or character. I also have notebooks for all of the projects I’m working on where I organize research and outlines. There are other automated note taking programs available like Evernote or Google Keep but OneNote is my chosen favorite.
- Chromecast: Inspiration Central Most of my inspiration comes from reading. Reading fiction, good or bad, leaves me with some spark of creativity to write when I’m done. When I’m writing, there are times when I need that extra boost of stimulation and my Chromecast is always there when I need it. A Chromecast is a little device you stick in the back of your television. It connects to your WIFI and gives you the ability to stream programming from Netflix, Hulu etc. I bought it a couple years ago when I divorced my cable company but I had no idea it would turn into a writing essential. When you aren’t streaming anything to your Chromecast it displays an unending stream of images selected by google. The images vary from beautiful displays of nature to abstract art. At any given moment I can look up from my writing and receive a burst of inspiration from a picture of a far away galaxy taken by the Hubble telescope or landscape photograph of waterfalls in the lush green lands of Iceland. I turn it on now every time I sit down to work and sometimes I use the images as writing prompts to create stories around.
- Coloring Books: Embracing your Inner Kindergartner Even before the fancy adult coloring books begin to hit the market with more popularity, I would swipe my daughters’ coloring books after they went to bed and color at night. There is something about the purposeful busyness of coloring that loosens the gears in the brain and gets the creativity flowing. During a bout of the dreaded writer’s block, coloring a couple pages have proven to be an effective way for me to break through. I haven’t yet tried any of the adult coloring books because the options I’ve come across are too expensive. The books I buy for my kids usually cost a dollar or less and I don’t mind coloring pictures of My Little Ponies and Minnie Mouse all that much. I highly recommend picking up a book and some crayons or markers if you need a creative lubricant.
What are your writing essentials?