What’s in Your Writer’s Toolbox?

I need a new computer.

I need a new iPad.

I need the latest version of Scrivener.

I need a house at the beach.

Otherwise, how will I ever write the great American novel?

I can just imagine Margaret Mitchell and Ernest Hemingway rolling their eyes at me.

They didn’t need any of those things to write.

If stories are to be believed, Hemingway probably needed another drink. I could arrange that, but I don’t really want that to be the cause, or the destruction of, my literary greatness.  It’s all about the moderation.

So, really the list above is more about wants than needs.

Truth is, I do need the new computer. My home PC is multiple years old.  It still functions, but I am paranoid enough that I routinely back up files on an external hard drive.  Just in case.

And, while my iPad functions, it is no longer compatible with new versions of the apps that I use.

Hulu, for example. I’ve had to watch this season’s episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale on my phone.  Sure, I could go downstairs and watch it on the smart TV.  But that’s so…far.

And, a few months back I decided to bite the bullet and actually purchase Scrivener for the iPad…not on my version.

Here’s the thing.  Those are all tools.  They’re great tools.  They’re great apps and programs and everything else.

But, they’re not essential for writing.

Well, when you’re handwriting is as bad as mine, something with a keyboard is pretty important.

At the same time, this summer I’ve done some of my best writing with a composition book and one of my favorite Varsity pens.  I carry them with me, and when I find a block of time, I’ll sit down and write a short story.  The rule, or the goal, is to write at least one page. Sometimes two.

I’ll often do it in a bar if I’m by myself or waiting for someone.  Or in a coffee shop.  But those aren’t essential.

What I’m finding is that I’ve got a nice little collection of short stories.  Or their beginnings at least.

It comes down to this. I can write just as well (that doesn’t mean legibly) with a pen and paper as I can with a laptop or an iPad.

While I do have a symbiotic relationship with my phone – after all someone, somewhere, might say something – I don’t need the latest gizmos to write.  I need the discipline to sit down and put one word in front of the other.

The tools are just that.  Tools.  They’re not essential.

It’s a known fact that I can procrastinate just as easily without them.

One day I’ll upgrade the computer, and the iPad, and get the new Scrivener software. But, it is not this day.

  1. Points for the (vague) reference, and
  2. Don’t forget the tip jar is still there.

It’s funny, or is it odd, or is it just normal…that even without these tools, I’m finding, no making more time to write.

It’s what I do.  I’m a writer.  I write things.

Sometimes, good things.

So, tell me in the comments, what’s your must have tool in your writer’s toolbox?

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