Painters need a canvas, paint, paintbrushes, and a rolling landscape begging to be painted. Musicians need an instrument, quarter notes on sheet music, and an audience to play for. What do writers need to create their artistic medium of choice?
Obviously, a writer needs paper, pen, and an idea. We know it’s not that simple though, right? Writers need inspiration—but how you go about tracking down and bottling that inspiration is different for everyone. Some writers are basic; they need a dictionary and thesaurus for unsticking their brain, and that’s it. Other writers need a desk with a window view and lots of coffee. Here are our editors must-haves for creating the ultimate writing environment!
1.) Dictionary and thesaurus
These two resources are beneficial when the word you want is on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t figure it out, or you need to check the correct usage of affect vs. effect—again.
2.) Live plants or fresh flowers
Plants not only help improve indoor air quality, but they can also help decrease stress and increase productivity. If you’re not the green thumb type, try picking up a fresh bouquet from the grocery store. Worst case, you’ll have some pretty flowers on your desk.
3.) Chicago Manual of Style
Considered the industry standard in the book world, the Chicago Manual of Style is one of the best resources for a writer. Not only does it contain all the writing rules you ignored in high school, but it also provides everything you need to know about quoting sources, producing a bibliography and what to expect during the production of a book.
4.) Notebook and favorite writing utensils
You’re going to need empty pages to write down all those brilliant ideas your book isn’t ready for yet. Use a scratch pad or notebook to record a thought or idea you’ll need for a later scene, to draw scenes or characters, or just to doodle when you find yourself stuck.
5.) Elements of Style
This book is a great, pocket-sized reference of all things writing and grammar. It’s a lot less intimidating than the Chicago Manual of Style and you’ll find this quick reference guide is chock full of knowledge.
6.) USB coffee mug warmer
There is nothing worse than taking a sip of coffee you thought would be hot, but is now cold. These amazing USB warmers plug right into your computer and keep your coffee or tea warm until the last drop. Then it’s time to brew more!
7.) Your favorite mug to sit atop your warmer
We all have that favorite coffee mug, right? Maybe it has a funny quote, or you bought it on the best-vacation-ever, or it’s the cat-shaped cup your best friend gave you—your writing desk needs a coffee mug that makes you feel good.
8.) Inspirational photos or quotes
Most of the writers I know can’t write in a closet-of-a-room with bare walls. So add a sign over your computer that says, “Write” in a beautiful font, or print out gorgeous garden photos from Pinterest; either way, find inspirational photos and quotes that lend to your creative vibe.
9.) Desk lamp with daylight bulbs
Good lighting, and the right light bulb, will change your writing process. We love daylight bulbs because they light the room as if the sun is shining through a window.
10.) Goal board for your book
Memo boards are still cool for writers, we promise. Stick your outline up there, along with the main theme of your book. If you’re writing fiction, use it as a place to collect images of what your characters might look like or images of your book’s setting.
11.) Glass of water
It’s not just for athletes. Hydration is always key, no matter what.
12.) Essential oil diffuser and a few essential oils that aid the writing process
Scents can trigger memories. Scent can alter our mood by decreasing stress, or lending to productivity. If you’re feeling uninspired or sleepy, citrus scents are great. Lavender helps with stress, which may come in handy during those tense self-editing moments. Keep a diffuser nearby and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils when you need a boost.
13.) Daily planner
Keep track of your writing schedule and progress in one place. If you write a couple days a week, record your word count at the end of each writing session; you’ll see just how much progress you’re making.
14.) A few of your favorite books
Keep some of your favorite or prettiest books close. The more inspiration you can work into your writing space, the more places you give your eyes to wander and your mind to drift when it’s trying to work out a detail of your book.
15.) Metaphorical trophies
Every writer has a run-in with self-doubt; keep something close that will remind you just how awesome you are, whether it’s a diploma, a medal from a marathon you ran, or a picture of your fully-grown, self-functioning children. You’ve already accomplished great things—writing a book is going to be the next one!
You've found your flow, you have all the things you need. So, what's next? Get to writing! If you are looking for some more tips on how you can hone your craft, check out 6 Tips to Make Your Book a Page-Turner.
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