Top Ten Tools for Writers
#1 Something to Write With
For years, I used lap tops of various sizes. As I aged, I realized that my eyes needed an extra-large screen. And so I switched from laptops to an Apple desktop with a 26 inch screen...I agonized over this purchase for a long time because it was an expensive investment. But, after I crashed three PC's in one year before I switched to this computer two years ago...it was well worth it.
#2 Something to Write On
This summer it was so hot in my office, that I moved my bedroom and writing space downstairs to the walk-out basement where it was at least ten degrees cooler. I bought this 'desk' at our local thrift store for $35 on their 30%-off sale day. Of course, I now love it more than the $200 desk in my office, that I bought at Habitat for Humanity, our other thrift store in town. (I'm big on thrift stores).
Which is simply to prove, that you don't need fancy office furniture, just a good sturdy table.
#3 Space to Write
When I moved into our walk-out basement for the summer, I positioned my table and chair and computer in a space that would afford me a nice view of the mountains from the windows in front of me.
However, this space is exactly 5 X 6 feet, wedged between a post on the right and a wall on the left. And I love it just as much as my office upstairs. Because this is our basement, it doesn't get a lot of traffic, so I have the solitude that I need to write. The point is, you don't need an 'office', but you do need quiet. And a space to call your own.
#4 Expand Your Horizons
Read. Read. Read. I am a huge fan of our local library. I go there at least once a week to check out books. I read fiction across genres, so that I can learn from other authors. I also read non-fiction, particularly books on marketing, because as an indie-author, I'm in charge of everything!
The two things I could not live without are my Bible and my journals. I need to read the Bible for inspiration and encouragement. This year I am working my way through the Daily Walk Bible.
I write in my journal to have a place to flesh out new goals, express my deepest feelings, and vent. I am a huge fan of Morning Pages (Julia Cameron's idea of writing three pages freehand first thing in the morning).
#6 Building Your Community
Whether you choose Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or any other social platform, you need to reach out to other authors and readers to develop a community of support, marketing, and social outlet.
Through these online resources I have met and learned from several other authors and experts in how to reach new readers. Best of all, for new authors, is that many of these resources, in the form of newsletters, are absolutely free.
Reading is a great way to find inspiration. Yet, I have not found a comparable outlet to enjoying the beauty of nature. Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or in the woods, try to find time each week to get out and find visual beauty and inspiration outside your usual 'office' environment. This will do wonders to give your mind a fresh perspective and will help you to see your story from a new angle.
# 8 Exercise
Find something that will get you outside or into a gym and away from sitting at your desk all day. Yes, you need to work consistently at your writing. But for the sake of your health and your wellbeing, you need physical exercise to keep not only your body in shape, but also, your mind. For me, that means taking the dogs to our local off-leash dog park for a mile or two walk.
The absolutely best way to improve as a writer (going hand in hand with read. read. read.) is to write. write. write. I will wager that rather than twenty pages in one day, once a month.....one page a day for twenty consecutive days will lead to greater growth as a writer. Think of a toddler learning to walk...they master the mechanics through repetition. The same goes for writing or any other art form.
If you want to write your novel, don't wait for Nanowrimo to crank out 50,000 words in a month. Make time to write starting now, even if it's just a page a day.
Find your group of friends or family who will encourage and inspire you to keep moving forward each day. Writing and publishing is sometimes made up of such small incremental steps that it's hard to measure your progress. That's when you need friends and family who will pay you on the back and let you know that you're on your way.