Writing Tips: A Writing Tool Kit That Really Works

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​This is the sort of thing/organizer that I’ve been looking for for what seems like forever. I’m calling it my Writer’s Tool Kit (or Writer’s First Aid Kit), and it’s something that I’ve tried to put together for the last several years. I’ve gone through a plethora of messenger bags, re-purposed makeup bags, pencil cases, pouches, diaper bags, organizers, and all the other items you’d find in the accessory, stationery, and cosmetic departments at a Target or comparable big box store.

I’ve also tried LL Bean, Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, Baggellini, and no-name brands on the internet and so far nothing has worked. 

Oh, it works for a little while, but then I need something extra and the entire thing ends up in a mess on the floor with me wearing my frustration face. Even now, I’ve forgotten my earphones. They must have fallen off of my nightstand, and in my hurry to get out the door I forgot they weren’t in my purse where they usually live.

I have been using a small messenger bag that I found on Amazon, and I really love it. It’s the right size, has a decent number of organizational pockets (although the pencil slip could be longer) and it’s big enough to carry all my needs, whether I want to overstuff it, or to use it simply as an oversized pocketbook for my wallet, Kindle, and cell phone. At the moment, though I’m using a separate purse along with the messenger bag.

One problem with my bag is that there is no padding so consequently my keyboard is not protected. I’ve been using a padded tablet case to carry it and protect it, but it’s hard to get in and out of the center portion of the messenger bag; the zipper isn’t wide enough.

On Pinterest, they keep promoting a pin “just for me” from the Mocchi site. It is exactly what I wanted. Slender, large enough for my Kindle and possibly my keyboard, slip pockets for papers, perhaps a notepad, and zipper pockets for post-it notes and stamps. It even comes in my color: green. On the bad side, it costs around $60 before the tax and the shipping and handling.

That is way out of my league.

And it still wouldn’t be perfect.

That’s the way it’s been every time. Until now.

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50-18 – TV Writers…Writers on TV

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​Before I thought, or accepted that I was a serious writer with something to say, I read ferociously. I also watched television with the same zeal. I could literally sit down and watch the last fifteen minutes of a two hour television movie and be completely engrossed in it. I loved all genres then. We only had six, maybe seven broadcast channels, assuming the winds were right and the aerial was in its proper position. And of course, the only one who knew whether the aerial was positioned right was the aerial itself. It was never in the same position twice.

Our televisions went from huge hunks of furniture to little tiny ones that I could bring to college and get one station in black and white, and now they’ve returned to huge wall hangings, mounted like a movie theatre.

One of the things that never left me from my childhood was noticing and watching all of the writers that appeared on television. I don’t mean the people who wrote the shows or the books that the shows were based on, but the characters who were writers.

I grew up wanting to be a lawyer – slash – private investigator – slash – reporter. I always had a notebook with me, jotting down things I’d see on the street, the way the colors hit the water or the street sign or the sound made when a car drives through a puddle. I don’t know why I needed this information, but I did and I would have it when I did need it.

When I went to my first therapy appointment, I noticed that the therapist had a print of a Renoir hanging on the waiting room wall. In my head, in my best Remington Steele accent, I said, “The wall safe is always behind the Renoir. Where’s the Renoir?”

In the writing in my head, I would insert myself into whatever the storyline was, sometimes more than one, and I would be the journalist or writer, much like Richard Castle who the police or PI couldn’t solve the case without. It gave me the chance to be a recurring, supporting character which is something I probably am in my own real life story, never the main character.

I know a lot of my love for journalism came from the movie, All the President’s Men. I was young and impressionable at a time that journalists were revered, both in real life: Woodward & Bernstein, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and in fiction as well:

Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote

Ian Stark from Stark Raving Mad

Billie Newman from Lou Grant – my favorite of favorites

Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane of the Superman Adventures

Jake Sisko of Deep Space Nine

Ray Romano of Everybody Loves Raymond

Oscar Madison, another sportswriter from The Odd Couple

Murphy Brown – news writer and reporter

Chuck Shurley, aka Carver Edlund of Supernatural

Iris West of The Flash

Todd Manning of One Life to Live

John-Boy Walton of The Waltons

Richard Castle of Castle

Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza of Seinfeld

Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City

Maya of Just Shoot Me

Rob Petrie of The Dick Van Dyke Show 

Phoebe Halliwell of Charmed

And those are just off the top of my head.

Today, I have more respect for the real writers and the current ones who inspire me include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Bernard Cornwell, and Sharon Kay Penman. They are who I go back to time and again because they are just that good. Not to leave out Wil Wheaton who is truly an inspiration and one of the main catalysts to my beginning this blog. Watching him navigate through his own freelance career, adjusting to the markets and changing, rebooting his life, but always writing and contributing; being his own boss, but also his own motivation. Writer and artist, Norman Reedus who inspires me to break out of my comfort zone and experiment with my art. 

To call myself a writer, I belong to a family of writers, both fictional and real, and each one gives me something, and that makes me better.

Don’t Panic

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At some point we are all Arthur Dent. Someone comes along and tells us to don’t panic and of course at that moment we do. And we continue to panic until we realize that all we need is a guide and a towel. And in my case in the picture above, a babelfish.

Count to 42 and enjoy the ride.

Prompt – Pack a Bag

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I’ve been going to town reading a ton of library books. Most recently I finished Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman.

I’m sorry to say that I had never heard of Elizabeth Bisland, whose birthday was a few days ago. It sounds like, as unexpected as her voyage was, she had a much better time.

One of the jabs against Nellie Bly going around the world was that it was impossible for a woman to travel lightly, carrying all kinds of steamer trunks and hat boxes. However Nellie Bly did it, in not only less than eight days, but carrying ONE BAG, a sturdy gripsack (pictured below).

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Photo of Nellie Bly, public domain

Today’s prompt is just that:

you’re traveling around the world, and can only carry one bag*. What would you bring?

*I’ll be as generous as the airlines: one bag (any size but you have to be able to carry and lift it for storage) and one personal bag.

Recs – A Collection of Articles

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I’ve been saving these and thought this snowy week when many are snowbound was a perfect time to share them:

These 48 Trans Women and Men Changed the World

LGBTQ Children in Catholic Families: A Deacon’s View on Holy Family Sunday

8 Ways to Get Rid of Paper Clutter

9 Lists to Keep Updated, And Keep Handy

52 Things, Ideas for Writers 2015

The Playboy Conversation: Patton Oswalt and Wil Wheaton

A Writer’s Toolbox

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Wartime Secrets of the Female Codebreakers of Bletchley Park

Transgender Man has Private Audience with Pope Francis

Most Important Thing on TV this year is this Super Bowl PSA

Simeon, Anna, and Phil and The Many Facets of the Second of February

SCOTUS Decides Vaccine Debate (110 Years Ago)