“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Ben Franklin
Maybe an hour is a stretch, but I do believe there is a lot of truth in that quote, especially when it comes to daily writing. Over the last year I found many opportunities to procrastinate from my writing schedule. Some days my lack of preparation added to this and caused me wasted time, energy, more gas, money, and late assignments.
This year I used the time after Christmas to think about my writing life for the coming year. I read about setting an intention for the new year from Rose Molinary over at Mamiverse. After I went through her simple exercise I came up with my intention for the year: Create. There are several words to add to this intention, like “Create joy…space…comfort…revisions…manuscripts…query letters…published novels.”
After a few minutes of intentional dreaming I looked at my work space and decided I needed to make a few changes. I want to bring more comfort for daily writing sessions and at the same time stop the time wasters which delay my writing. I found the following changes to my writing space useful. (The laptop, computer, or netbook is a given as is a computer desk).
1-Notebooks, pens, large post-its, index cards, pushpins: A 100 page or more spiral bound notebook for each manuscript you’re writing. Buy three or four at a time. Make sure it lays flat. If there are pocket holders inside all the better for notes or torn out pages from somewhere else. Use one notebook for ideas and writing tips or resources, one to take to writing classes or critique groups, one to journal scenes, and one to use when you begin to revise your manuscript.
Use colorful, large sticky notes (3×3) to remind you of items you don’t want to forget during that writing session. Stick notes on your laptop, printer, desk, binder, notebook or forehead. Use index cards to write down each scene, number them and kept them bundled with a rubber band. Pushpins are useful to stick photos, inspirational quotes, and index cards on your writing wall or bulletin board.
2-Wireless mouse and/or keyboard: get comfortable, you are in it for the long haul. Many of these are now on sale.
3- The Chicago Manual of Style, and/or Strunk and White. Add a dictionary and Thesaurus if you find it faster than searching for a term online.
4-A sturdy comfortable chair. Spring for an ergonomic chair but if not use a comfortable chair with a pillow for your back if there is no lumbar support. If you have a wireless keyboard you can switch to a recliner if you want. For an indepth article on how to ergonomically optimize your workplace read this article by Lifehacker
. I didn’t know the pinch in my shoulders came from having my laptop below the correct eye level.
5-Printer paper: Two reams minimum. One quality type for printed manuscript to agent and one economy one for drafts and to print your stuff for critiques or writing class. If you find a sale on paper buy more.
6-Ink Cartridges: Use a printer like HP or Epson that takes refillable ink. This has been a big expensive for me this year and I’m now using another printer. Walgreen’s and Costco have frequent specials throughout the year for refills at $8-12 dollars. That beats non refillable ink cartridges of $26-30 each. If you’re printing out pages for critique groups and drafts you’ll save a bundle when you have refillable ink cartridges.
7-Bulletin board and/or white board. These are available at craft stores and most any large department store. Those fabric covered boards work just as well. You just need a place to pin up inspirational quotes, writing projects, favorite motivational photos, index cards, etc.
8-Three ring binders: At least 2 inch ring size. You need something to hold your printed pages during your revisions.
9-Color folders: use them to hold your printed drafts, writing resources, critiques, edited material, notes, the receipts you’ve spent on your writing. Label them and keep these near your writing area. Use them at the end of the day to file research notes or reminders.
10-Large coffee/tea mug and coaster. If you’re a heavy drinker, look for a carafe to keep your beverage hot or cold. It can hold whatever beverage suits you. No more extra trips to the kitchen for refills. Liquor is not recommended or you may fall off your ergonomically correct chair.
Maybe you have some favorite preparation items to share? I need all the help I can get.
Now get thee to the Dollar Store or Staples and get yourself prepared for a great year of creating and writing.