20 Tools Every Writer Needs

3 min readJan 16, 2018

Is 2018 the year you finally get serious about writing? Set yourself up for success by stocking up on the things you’ll need:

  1. A quiet area you can set up as your writing space. For most people, a writer’s study is a luxury. Four of my five children had to grow up and move out before I had a room of my own. But if you don’t have a whole room to yourself, claim a corner somewhere.
  2. A desk and chair, preferably a comfortable one. Desks are expensive, but you may be able to find a reasonably priced one at a garage sale or thrift store. Or maybe you can repurpose a discarded table. If you don’t even have a corner to call your own, the table in the kitchen or dining room may have to do.
  3. A lamp or good overhead lighting.
  4. A bookshelf.

5. A computer equipped with Microsoft Word, and a printer.

6. Lots of printer paper and printer cartridges.

7. Optional: writing software. I’m learning how to use Scrivener for my novels. If you’re writing plays or scripts, it is good to have software that will automatically format for you.

8. Notebook(s). Jot down all your brilliant ideas.

9. Pens and pencils. I prefer pens that flow really well (like uni-balls, rather than the economical stick pens), and mechanical pencils (so you don’t have to sharpen them). I like lots of different color inks (Ink Joys!), so I can color-code, or at least use a color that suits me at the moment.

10. Dictionary and thesaurus. (Yeah, you can find these online, but sometimes it’s good to have the paper kind.)

11. A good book on writing. Here are some of my favorites and one more.

12. Sticky notes and notepads or scrap paper.

13. Paper clips. Scissors and tape (sometimes I physically like to cut and paste my manuscripts).

14. Envelopes (all sizes) and stamps. There are still a few publications that don’t accept electronic submissions.

15. Telephone (cell or landline). Not that you want the distraction, but so you don’t have to get up to answer it.

16. A coffee mug for your favorite beverage, whatever that might be.

17. A stash of cough drops, so you don’t have to get up to get one.

18. A subscription to Writer’s Digest or Poets and Writers (or bookmark their websites).

19. An inspirational poster or embroidery. Here’s one you can print out.

20. A CD player so you can play your favorite background music. (Or you can play music from your iTunes library or your streaming service, but I prefer to rotate through about 15 of my favorite CDs.)

Once you’ve assembled all these tools, you’re ready to begin. Sit down, think “What if…?”, and begin.

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Originally published at arhtisticlicense.com on January 16, 2018.




Former elementary general music teacher. Wife, mother of 5, grandma of 3. Blogging about the arts and the creative process at https://ARHtisticLicense.com.