To write, all you need is a pen and paper?
Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Well, not quite. At least, not for me. Here are a few of my essential writing tools and related products that I've found and have loved while writing.
35 Going on 80
When I began writing my first novel, I had forfeited my desk to my husband who was working all day. Most of us during quarantine were thrust home without any real desk set-up. So, I was writing anywhere that I could keep my two toddler daughters in eyeshot. The couch, kitchen table, outdoor table, a park bench, etc. Well, after writing about 9-10 pages a day for a few months straight--my awful posture really started to take a toll on my back. I was sitting at places too high so my shoulders were hunched up. After a few weeks of physical therapy, we set-up an ergonomically compliant desk and bought a new desk chair and my back was happy again. Can we write anywhere? Sure. But, I don't recommend it for long-distance writing. I also love these ergonomic tips for writers.
Writers Need a Tool
The laptop that I owned was very old. It was time to upgrade. So, I made the investment to a MacBook Pro. It was my first time owning a Mac and I am not looking back. Any tool will do, really. There are great reviews for laptops specifically for writers out there. Figure out which features are most important to you. I wish I was a paper and pen girl, but my daughters tend to color on any papers lying around. I am 5'9", so I also use a laptop stand to elevate my laptop so my neck isn't strained looking down, and pair it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. This adapter works great for all of the things that need to be plugged into my Mac.
A Digital Scribe
Throughout my career, I was writing papers and blog posts in Word but I wanted something a little more official when I began writing my first novel and I came across Scrivener. I love it because I can add my research, character development, notes, drafts and it formats everything easily for you. It also has template pages easily stored and I can archive my writing all within the same document to refer back to, if needed.
Block the Noise
Kristin is my name and distraction is my game. I was diagnosed with ADD years ago, so I typically take medicine for it. But, couple my distracted tendencies with two toddlers at home during the pandemic running around joyful and wild (which I encourage) it can be very difficult to concentrate. My AirPods Pro have been a lifesaver for me when I need to throw on the noise cancelling, hope my kids don't kill one another, and focus.
I am very sensory-driven, so sometimes music or sounds really help get me in the right headspace for writing a particular feeling that I need to tap into when I'm writing. The Calm app has soothing soundscapes when I want to feel like I am in the forrest. Pandora has been useful because I like to play the Classical at Work station when I just need some noise to help distract my distractions. Music has been really helpful when I've needed to write a romance scene, I throw on some love songs. Or for an action scene, I'll put on hard rock. I love how powerful and soothing music is.
I like my huge and heavy Hydro Flask with Ulla smart hydration reminder. I tend to feel sluggish if I am dehydrated which can cause brain fog and hinder my writing. So, I like to keep this big 32oz bottle filled next to my laptop. The Ulla lights up every thirty minutes, reminding me to drink.
I've only been drinking coffee for a year. I was always more of a tea or one latte per day drinker. But when the pandemic hit, I switched to coffee with oat milk. My girls are early risers and tend to get us up at 5:30am so I get them set-up with cartoons and milk, I grab some coffee in my 14oz. Yeti rambler mug and begin my morning by writing. I personally love Compass Coffee. It's roasted and sold right in DC where we live, and their Cardinal and Horizon blends are so smooth and delicious.
Feel the Heat
My hands and feet are always freezing. These little icicle fingers have been pounding the keyboard, but then I found some fingerless gloves and a heated mouse pad and I am much happier. I also keep a portable heater nearby. I am fully aware how ridiculous I look. I like to apply cuticle oil and lip repair throughout the day to stay moisturized.
Keep It Cozy
I found this incredibly soft blanket scarf at Target and I keep it folded over my chair behind me. When I get cold, I throw it on. I also love my oversized Pendleton cardigan. They also make the most amazing socks. And in case you're seeing a pattern and are wondering, yes, the heat is working in our house.
Diffuse the Stress
Again, I am big on sensory stimulation. I invested in a Vitruvi stone diffuser and I add different essential oils depending on my mood. I especially love their Boost blended oil that has juniper, bergamot, grapefruit and lime. It smells like sunshine.
Sometimes I need a little sustenance in the afternoons. I came across these Dang bars that are dang delicious and also low in sugar.
Do you all have anything that you swear by when you're writing? Do you like to keep it simple or do you have some favorite tools or products that help keep you focused and content while you write? Please share below.