15 Things Every Writer Needs On Their Desk

Filed in From the Desk of... by on July 22, 2016 20 Comments

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Painters need a canvas, paint, paintbrushes, and a rolling landscape begging to be painted. Musicians need an instrument, quarter notes on sheet music, and an audience to play for. What do writers need to create their artistic medium of choice?

Obviously, a writer needs paper, pen, and an idea. We know it’s not that simple though, right? Writers need inspiration—but how you go about tracking down and bottling that inspiration is different for everyone. Some writers are basic; they need a dictionary and thesaurus for unsticking their brain, and that’s it. Other writers need a desk with a window view, and lots of coffee. Here’s our editors must-haves for creating the ultimate writing environment!

1.) Dictionary and thesaurus

These two resources are beneficial when the word you want is on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t figure it out, or you need to check the correct usage of affect vs. effect—again.

2.) Live plants or fresh flowers

Plants not only help improve indoor air quality, but they can also help decrease stress and increase productivity. If you’re not the green thumb type, try picking up a fresh bouquet from the grocery store. Worst case, you’ll have some pretty flowers on your desk.

3.) Chicago Manual of Style

Considered the industry standard in the book world, the Chicago Manual of Style is one of the best resources for a writer. Not only does it contain all the writing rules you ignored in high school, but it also provides everything you need to know about quoting sources, producing a bibliography and what to expect during the production of a book.

4.) Notebook and favorite writing utensils

You’re going to need empty pages to write down all those brilliant ideas your book isn’t ready for yet. Use a scratch pad or notebook to record a thought or idea you’ll need for a later scene, to draw scenes or characters, or just to doodle when you find yourself stuck.

5.) Elements of Style

This book is a great, pocket-sized reference of all things writing and grammar. It’s a lot less intimidating than the Chicago Manual of Style and you’ll find this quick reference guide is chock full of knowledge.

6.) USB coffee mug warmer

There is nothing worse than taking a sip of coffee you thought would be hot, but is now cold. These amazing USB warmers plug right into your computer and keep your coffee or tea warm until the last drop. Then it’s time to brew more!

7.) Your favorite mug to sit atop your warmer

We all have that favorite coffee mug, right? Maybe it has a funny quote, or you bought it on the best-vacation-ever, or it’s the cat-shaped cup your best friend gave you—your writing desk needs a coffee mug that makes you feel good.

8.) Inspirational photos or quotes

Most of the writers I know can’t write in a closet-of-a-room with bare walls. So add a sign over your computer that says, “Write” in a beautiful font, or print out gorgeous garden photos from Pinterest; either way, find inspirational photos and quotes that lend to your creative vibe.

9.) Desk lamp with daylight bulbs

Good lighting, and the right light bulb, will change your writing process. We love daylight bulbs because they light the room as if the sun is shining through a window.

10.) Goal board for your book

Memo boards are still cool for writers, we promise. Stick your outline up there, along with the main theme of your book. If you’re writing fiction, use it as a place to collect images of what your characters might look like or images of your book’s setting.

11.) Glass of water

It’s not just for athletes. Hydration is always key, no matter what.

12.) Essential oil diffuser and a few essential oils that aid the writing process

Scents can trigger memories. Scent can alter our mood by decreasing stress, or lending to productivity. If you’re feeling uninspired or sleepy, citrus scents are great. Lavender helps with stress, which may come in handy during those tense self-editing moments. Keep a diffuser nearby and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils when you need a boost.

13.) Daily planner

Keep track of your writing schedule and progress in one place. If you write a couple days a week, record your word count at the end of each writing session; you’ll see just how much progress you’re making.

14.) A few of your favorite books

Keep some of your favorite or prettiest books close. The more inspiration you can work into your writing space, the more places you give your eyes to wander and your mind to drift when it’s trying to work out a detail of your book.

15.) Metaphorical trophies

Every writer has a run-in with self-doubt; keep something close that will remind you just how awesome you are, whether it’s a diploma, a medal from a marathon you ran, or a picture of your fully-grown, self-functioning children. You’ve already accomplished great things—writing a book is going to be the next one!

 

Sources:
http://earth911.com/work/5-reasons-to-have-a-plant-at-your-desk/

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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett, Editorial Manager for Xulon Press, has been a freelance editor for nearly half a decade. Before joining the Xulon team in 2010, she worked with several first time authors who wanted to test the waters of self-publishing. Her aim is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands.

Comments (20)

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  1. avatar Rane Tomlinson says:

    Dear Erika,
    Thank you for taking the time to encourage authors. I have written many books over the years and in 2012 I was blessed to publish my first Christian Romance Novel with Xulon Press. Believe me, I had no idea that publishing a small book had so many “arms” but I love it.
    Xulon Press is a great company when an author is considering different publishing companies. They take the time to help each author understand the many procedures and the various “workings” of publishing that authors take for granted.
    I am in the process of editing my second book and look forward to it’s publication with Xulon Press.
    Sincerely,
    Rane Tomlinson

    • Rane, I’m so excited to hear you’re finishing your second book; our team can’t wait to read it! Best of luck during the editing process, and that lavender oil may come in handy if you start to feel overwhelmed.

  2. avatar Marni Tagami says:

    I. LOVE. THESE. IDEAS !!!!!!!!

    Thank you so much!

  3. Love the USB coffee mug warmer! Running back and forth to the microwave wastes so much time 🙂

  4. avatar Rhonda Best says:

    This is so awesome a list. I had an idea about some of them but missed several on the list. I am planning on trying the novel in 3 days contest coming up in September. Thanks for the check list to help me get ready.

  5. avatar Diana Garcia Rangel says:

    I think I just found my 2nd writing home. My first is my writing space. Thank you for providing some great tools and insight for inspiration. As a writer I look for it daily. Working on a book can be somewhat daunting but rewarding at the same time. And the daylight bulbs! Who knew? I’ll be out looking for some today! Thanks again for the great tips. I may be recreating my space a bit.
    Diana

    • Hi Diana, thanks so much for commenting! Those daylight bulbs are a lifesaver. Keep seeking inspiration wherever you look! Let us know if you add anything new to your writing space, and if it helps!

  6. avatar Kimberly Weinrich says:

    Such beautiful ideas! I can’t wait to set up my special place now! Thank you!

  7. avatar Paige Gabhart says:

    I am a composer. Composers don’t need a manuscript with quarter notes. If it only had quarter notes that would be pretty boring. Composers use the musical equialent of Word to write music in the modern age. I have not used manuscrpt paper in years. Also, they don’t necessarily need an insrtument. I can write music without an instrument.

    • avatar Paige Gabhart says:

      I jumped to composer because the musical equivalent of a painter or a writer is a composer, not a musician as you suggested.

  8. And cats, must have cats. They’re footwarmers, lapwarmers, tails function as bookmarks, they offer constructive criticism, and kill flies in the window.

  9. avatar Jenna says:

    I’m polishing up my manuscript… Ready to submit for review. I am glad I chose Xulon as my Publisher. Look forward to reading more helpful tips.

  10. avatar Crystal Miller says:

    I love these ideas and tips.

  11. avatar Lp Johnson says:

    Love this! Sharing it with my followers!

  12. avatar Trudy. Jenkins says:

    I am an aspiring writer. Having a hard time getting started. I do not have my own living space yet. I am determined!! Struggling right now, but still determined. Thanks for the tips!

  13. Love these tips! Thank you!

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