A Literary Blog

Tools for A Writer

Two weeks ago, my old computer packed up on me and while I was trying to resolve issues on my extended warranty plan, I realized I couldn’t do without a computer until the repair was done. So I went to the store and in the process of checking out a new computer, it dawned on me just how integral the computer had become to my writing. As I reflected on upon this issue, I came up with this list of things that tend to make a writer’s life:

A Pen: That should be the most obvious isn’t it? Well i find that a lot of people go out of the house without thinking of carrying a pen. After all, most places you go, it is likely that there will be someone to lend you a pen. I say most places because if you go rowing on a boat and find inspiration in the middle of nowhere or when you go camping, there just might be no one in your vicinity with a pen in that case, it pas to carry our one. Well, I find that having a wallet with a pen slot has been a huge help to me since it’s quite unlikely that I would leave home without my wallet. I keep a pen stuck in that slot all the time so anywhere I need it, I am sure to find a pen.  I also found a journal at the book store that has the same pen slot so if the wallet is not your thing, this journal would be perfect for you especially if you are one of those writers that carry a journal with you.

Paper: Next to the pen, I’d say the basic tool for the writer is a pen. In fact it is recommended that writers are carry a journal with them all the time so that they can record ideas and inspiration on the spot.  Some even say to put a journal under your pillow or on your nightstand for this same reason.  While the later is a norm for me, I find it easier to fold a piece of paper in my wallet and throw a post-it pack in the side pockets of my pocketbook for my notes when I am outside the house.  These are much easier to carry around- not as bulky as a journal. I divide the paper into sections with my pen and try to maximize use by categorizing information in the sections and when I get home I can just punch holes in the paper and put it in my ideas folder.  And just in case, I run out of paper, I find that keeping the receipts I receive from my errands in my handbag comes in handy and there is always something to write on. But now that receipts are also getting printed on the back, I’m looking out for other alternatives. I guess I have to try harder at replacing that piece of paper in the wallet as soon as I exhaust the available space on it.

Netbooks: For the simple reason that it saves me time, I love to have my computer.  I can type directly into my word processing program, rather than writing on paper first and then typing later. With the introduction of the new Netbooks, I think writers have found an indispensable companion.  Netbooks are so portable, you can throw your computer in your pocketbook and type anywhere you want. Check out the specifications when buying though so you make sure it will serve all your needs before you purchase one.

Internet enabled Phone: I love the iPhone.  Sometimes when I’m out of paper, I pop out my phone and click on the notes app. Voila! I’m ready to type in my ideas and when I am done, I simply email it to myself and when I get home, I open the mail, copy the text and paste into Microsoft word. I can also save and edit my notes, take a voice memo, do online research same and cut and paste relevant text. It’s like having a mini computer at my fingertips. I’m told some other phones have similar capabilities I recommend  the iPhone  because I use one. If you are out to check a phone, compare before you buy. 

Thesaurus: Well, no writer should be without a thesaurus.  As a writer, you may often find it necessary to find the exact word that convey your exact meaning to your reader; sometimes, it’s the need to be more descriptive. Indeed depending on your choice of word, you can evoke different reactions from your readers. Finding the the right word is where a thesaurus comes in handy – a tool for finding alternate word choices.

Dictionaries: It sure helps when you get stuck on your words to check them out. There are different kinds of dictionary and they all serve different functions:  the regular dictionary  is your source for the meaning of words;  A rhyming dictionary gives you words choices when you are trying to rhyme your lines especially as it often occurs in poetry and children’s books; a quotes dictionary is a database of quotations with author and subject indexes an easy way to find Quotes from famous political leaders, authors, and literature.  and these days, with lots of online dictionaries, finding out the meaning of words can me done with ease. 

A Word processing software:  Microsoft Word is perhaps the most popular word processing software right now.  There is word perfect and some others.  Word processing software makes writing easier. Most include dictionaries, thesaurus, check your spelling and sometimes grammar.


That’s the list, for now. Some of these items like the netbook and the iphone do seem pricey at first but if you are serious about writing and you’d like to be more productive, you really should look into them they save you money and time in the long run. Also like I mentioned earlier, there seem to be other alternatives that can give you the same results. Find those alternative and most importantly you as a writer are creative use those creative juices in you to find your own tools and be a better writer.  Just so you know,   I continue to look out for new things  and new ideas to make writing fun and easy so if you have your recommendations, put in a comment and let me know.

ciao for now.


September 13, 2009 Posted by | recommendations, Tomi | , , , , , | 2 Comments