Towards the end of this week, my biannual writing group returns for the spring. That weekly sojourn for a few weeks to recharge the writer and see what we can do. In addition to that, this month marks the first time I’m embarking on Camp Nanowrimo, the summer camp version of November’s event. This is a little different, a little more at ease. I was invited to a cabin in Tennessee, so I thought I’ve never been to Tennessee, why not. (Just a quick note: the cabins are virtual – it’s a chat room with a few like-minded writers.Unfortunately, I won’t be traveling to Tennessee.) It will give me the impetus to do more with my Wales book, maybe get an outline or an ongoing theme, but definitely something.
With these two embarkments and my commitment to this site, I need to get my writing tools in order so that they can easily be adapted to any environment: home, library, coffee shop, cabin in the woods.
In the past I’ve used a first aid kit that I’ve gotten for free at Target. They usually have them readily available in the spring, and are often on sale – buy three items, get the kit for free. It’s a good deal, and if you actually pay for the kit, it’s not more than $6.
Currently, I’m using a slightly bigger version – this one is a Bible case. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the religion section of any bookstore. They’re large enough to fit a Bible, a notebook for Bible study, pens, etc. The one I use, I found at a bargain warehouse for $6.99. It fits everything I need, and it’s small enough that I can toss it into a tote bag to go wherever I need to. It also has a handle like a handbag, so it can be carried on its own.
None of the bags, or writing tool kits need to cost a small fortune if you know what you need ahead of time and can search for your most important specifications.
And, of course, you can reuse something you already have hidden in your closet.
The basic layout of my tool kit is that it zips around, and has one flat pocket on the outside back. Inside, I can open it to lay flat. On both sides is a slip pocket. In the center spine is an attached fabric bookmark. It is religious in nature, but if that bothers you, it can be removed with scissors. On the right side of mine, over the slip pocket, is a clear half pocket and four loops for writing instruments.
Depending on how large your items are, you might be able to fit a cell phone and very flat wallet inside. That way, you only need to carry the case. I usually can’t do that, but one day, maybe.
What do I carry to make my case a writer’s tool kit?
1. Planner/Calendar. I tried having a separate blog/writing planner from my appointment/daily calendar, but it was too much to juggle and keep track of mentally. What I do now is use the monthly calendar in the planner for appointments, school schedules, work, birthdays, etc. I then use the weekly sections to plan out my blog and other writing. I slide this into the right slip pocket.
2. Pen. In this case, I carry four pens: a gel pen, a ballpoint, a mechanical pencil, and a highlighter. (For you eagle-eyes, the pencil is missing from the picture.)
3. Notebook. I will jot down first drafts and keep track of little notes if I can’t get them in my kindle or sometimes it’s just easier to work with a pen and paper than Kindle and keyboard.
4. Bluetooth keyboard. Mine is from Amazon and is a perfect size for my Kindle. The keyboard slips into the pocket on the left.
5. A small sized pocket folder for loose paper items and loose leaf paper to write down first drafts or notes. (I had to make this one for the size I needed – about half the size of a regular pocket folder.)
6. Magnetic bookmarks attached to the clear slip pocket for when they’re needed.
7. Post-it notes.
8. Correction tape.
9. Ear buds.
10. I could fit my Kindle in here, but I carry that in my purse since it goes with me everywhere and I use it for everything.
11. I also slip a couple of tea bags in, just in case. They are usually in their own wrappers so I don’t have to worry about them breaking open and spilling (like Twinings or Stash).
Have I forgotten anything that you writers carry with you that you consider essential?