A Writer's Checklist

I like to think I'm fairly minimalist when it comes to my requirements for writing. As an example, if you've seen the About tab, you'll probably notice the picture of me sitting on a giant, wet rock, with the Pacific ocean less than five feet away. All I had that day was a fleece, a laptop, and a spectacular view of nature, and I was still able to write several thousand words more than my usual limit.

That said, there are a few things I like to have around when I'm writing. They make life easier, help me focus, or keep my imagination sparked. Here is a short list of my favorite products and services for writers.

1. The Tech

     Climbing on rocks with a heavy, sophisticated laptop isn't always the best idea, especially if you're worried about dropping it in the ocean and losing your data forever. I prefer a small, lightweight computer that still does (almost) everything I need, runs apps from the Play Store, and isn't terribly expensive to replace. It also folds back into a tablet, which is perfect for reading, and has a bright screen that is easily legible even in bright light.
You can check it out here.

Asus Chromebook Flip (10.1")

     As a writer, I also listen to a lot of music, and I'm ridiculously picky about sound quality. There are two great options here. I prefer earbuds, which are lightweight and portable. This pair, by Senzer, is my personal favorite. They have amazing sound quality with noise reduction, feel comfortable, and don't fall out of your ears. They also have an in-line mic with volume controls. You can find them here.

Senzer H3 Wired Earbuds

     If you prefer over-ear, you can't go wrong with Sony noise-cancelling headphones. They're perfect for travelling on the plane (or in the car), dramatically cancelling outside noise so you can hear your music without deafening yourself. You can find them here.

Sony Noise-Cancelling Wired Headphones

     And finally, we have my favorite device, which I use every day and take with me everywhere. It's a Kindle Paperwhite, available for as low as $79.99 from Amazon (and cheaper during sales). I love my Kindle because I can take my whole library wherever I go, and I don't have to worry about the eye strain caused by a computer screen. You can email documents directly to your Kindle, take notes, and highlight, which makes it perfect for editing and previewing how your book will appear to actual readers. You can check it out here.

Kindle Paperwhite

2. The Paper (does anyone remember what that is?)

     I think it's a good idea to keep a backup of your basic ideas somewhere outside cyberspace, which we all know is prone to sudden disaster. There's no better place than a journal, especially one that inspires you simply by looking so beautiful. Here two of my favorites:

RusticTown Handmade Leather Journal (available here)

Sovreign-Gear Leather Journal (available here)

     You'll also need good writing tools if you plan to write anything by hand. I use Blackwing pencils for school, art, and everything in between. They sharpen easily, and you can easily change the erasers. They also come in colors. You can find the regular pencils here or the colored version here.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils

     Finally, nothing is more satisfying than writing in your favorite journal with a calligraphy pen. You can even buy calligraphy markers that look similar but don't require you to use liquid ink (perfect if you don't want to make a mess).

3. The Music

     Everyone has different opinions about what music is best for writing. Personally, I favor a minimalist style, with one or at most three instruments and no vocals. One of my all-time favorite composers is Ludovico Einaudi. His music is relaxing, sometimes peaceful, sometimes dramatic, and sometimes downright sad. You can listen on YouTube here, and purchase his music on a CD here.

     Some of my other favorites include:

  • Birden (Kanno Youko, from Terror in Resonance)
  • Lost Within (A. Himitsu)
  • Week No. 4 (Fabrizio Paterlini)
  • Transcend (Philip Wesley)
  • Outbreaker (Hinkink - electronica for a more cheerful scene)

4. The Online Community

     There are plenty of places to go online for inspiration, challenges, and community. Most of them are well known, but here is a list of my favorites:

  • Wattpad (Read all kinds of stories from amateur and professional authors around the world.)
  • NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, during which you can set your own goals or aim for the 50,000 word challenge.)
  • FakeNameGenerator.com (Not only does it give you a name, but you'll also see physical characteristics, employment, address, and many other fun details.)
  • Goodreads (Share book recommendations, create an author profile, and host Ask the Author sessions.)
  • TheBookCon.com (This is an annual convention where readers gather to meet authors and have books signed. It's definitely aimed at modern, pop culture-themed literature.)
  • Critique Circle (This is a site for writers to interact, ask questions, and critique each other's writing. It also offers a fun Grammar Rule/Quote/Word/Tip of the Day feature in the About tab.)

     Be careful when looking for online writing competitions. I once nearly entered a research paper competition, only to discover that the site was actually created for students to pay for someone else to write their college essays (presumably sourced at least partly from the competition).

     There's just one more thing I believe every author needs, and that is ...

Nutella Tubs (105 oz. each, quite literally available right here!)
     Yes, it's true - apparently you can buy it in huge buckets and have it delivered right to your door! What did we do without the Internet?