Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Essentials for Writers

Writer's Digest posted Erik Larson's top 10 Essentials for a writer. Find it here. The article is a list of things that Erik, author of In the Garden of Beasts, see as must have items for successful writing. This is just his opinion, but I think its pretty good essentials. Read the article then come back here for my own list of writer essentials.

My top 10 is similar to Erik's.

  1. Coffee. Yes please.
  2. More coffee. I'm a pot a day drinker. I'm better, as this used to be a 2 pot a day thing.
  3. Pretzels. I do like Oreos, but I simply must dunk Oreos in milk when eating them and that can get messy. I'll stick with my pretzel rods thanks.
  4. Goal and deadline. While Erik's points on pace are very good advice for some people, others need those 10 hour writing binges. I know I do. I think a better essential is to have a goal and a time frame in which to meet that goal. The NaNo is perfect for this.
  5. Pick up point. I am slightly OCD about writing. I cannot sleep if I have left off writing in the middle of a scene. And the times that I simply had to do so, I think it is obvious that it isn't from the same writing session. If I absolutely have to leave off writing (for mundane things like sleep and peeing), I prefer to at least have a skeleton of what is bouncing around saying... er, screaming WRITE ME WRITE ME WRITE ME! That way, I have the story on paper until I can get back to it. 
  6. Undisturbed time. This is where those 10 hour writing binges get dashed to hell and back. At the most, I get about an hour of undisturbed time for writing on a typical day. I've considered putting an open/closed sign on my door to let my family know when they can and cannot interrupt me.
  7. A diversion. Erik stresses a physical diversion. I'm not quite so big on physical. Mostly because I am really lazy. But also because I am really uncoordinated and sports equal injury for me. My diversions are word and number puzzles usually. Maybe not always at the computer... they do make books of Sudoku and stuff. 
  8. Reading material. A large open library would be awesome. But not every has the money to accumulate a large number of books. Others don't have the space for the books they would like to accumulate. I like the way the market has started changing to digital. At any point in time, I have access to hundreds of thousands of books through my Kindle. With all the free books available on Amazon alone, one could never find a moment where they are "finished" reading.
  9. A reader. I rely on the outside opinion of a handful of readers to make sure I'm not writing total crap. Some of my readers read for content alone. Some read for grammar, spelling, and revision material. Some read for both. They all serve their purposes. Now is an excellent time to say a huge thank you to Steven, Rene, Raven, Ravena, and Philip. Love you all!
  10. A nook. Erik's point about a fireplace is correct... if we all lived in homes boasting fireplaces. I sat for a moment thinking about all the people I know and have been to their houses. Of them, I know of 4 houses with a fireplace. My grandparents. My ex-boyfriend's mother. My editor. A friend's mother. Of those 4, 1 of the fireplaces is a fully functioning fireplace. 1 definitely does not and will not ever be lit again. The other 2 probably work but I've never seen it. So for someone that doesn't have a fireplace, the essential becomes a nook. A place that is quiet that allows for comfortable positioning to read books, e-readers, laptops, notebooks, etc. My nook right now is my bed, which sits in a corner of my room. From there, I can read any one of the YA books I have picked up recently from the library, my Kindle, Harvey, my never ending stack of notebooks. I can make notes and sketches in addition to leisure reading and research. What I can't do is write productively. I'm too comfortable!
How would you modify this list of essentials?

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS


Steven Thompson said...

Our fireplace is built like gas fireplace but has no gas connection--plus the chimney going up is completely blocked. If it was ever anything other than decoration, it isn't now.

Dee said...

Yea, your fireplace is the one that I thought definitely does not work. :P