essential tools for writers

Five Essentials for the Writer's Toolkit

I want to suggest that to write to your best abilities, it behooves you to construct your own toolbox and then build up enough muscle so you can carry it with you. Then, instead of looking at a hard job and getting discourages, you will perhaps seize the correct tool and get immediately to work.  On Writing, by Stephen King


I may not be a handyman, but I know you can't complete any kind of job around the house without the proper tools.

The same holds true for the writer. No matter how many great, creative ideas you have, you'll never get them onto the page and in front of your reader without the right tools for the job.

Here are the essential items in my writer's tool chest:

  1. Love of Language: Words are the building blocks for everything the writer does. The process of selecting the right ones and placing them in the proper order can be frustrating at times, but writers must be completely enamored with wordplay and willing to dig deeply into the recesses of their vocabulary for that perfect word or turn of phrase.
  2. A Sense of How Language Works: If words are the foundation of the writers craft, then grammar is the cement that holds it all together. This is the weakest spot in my personal tool kit, a place I often need to seek assistance. There's always a copy of this book close at hand when I'm writing.
  3. A Good Library: For research, for inspiration, for general knowledge, writers must read. Having access to books of all kinds is essential.
  4. Physical Tools: Whether it's a computer screen, an electric typewriter, or a legal pad and felt tip pen, writers must have a method of putting their words on the page. Beyond that, they must also develop a system of organization for notes and ideas. Some rely on looseleaf notebooks, index cards taped on the walls, or some of the new computer programs like Evernote and Scrivener.
  5. Faithful Readers: The writer should have at least one or two trusted readers who will support and advise her in the early stages of her work, before the words go out to the millions of people waiting eagerly to read them!

What essentials are in your writers tool kit?