Saturday, 18 April 2009

Writing tools: what's essential for a writer?

Lately in the Guardian Saturday Review Section they've run a series of pictures of writers' and artists rooms with explanations from the writer about the room and what's in it.

Every week it fascinates me to see how varied the rooms are; as varied as the writers and artists featured. Part of writing is creating the atmosphere in which we write. For foreign reporters that means writing on the hoof and at speed; they don't have the luxury of "creating ambience".

For most of us it can be created over time and I believe it's a tool that can enhance your writing.

Often tools are thought of as things like dictionaries, thesauruses and the like, on of off-line. Tools that help us search for that exact word or phrase we think will make the difference. And depending what you're writing there may also be research sources for your current project.

If I took a photograph of my working space it would be on the extreme end of the crowded room spectrum. I don't gaze out across lush green meadows or a beautiful ocean. On the contrary I stare at a wall only covered in inspiring quotes and notes about current projects.

It works for me because I could allow myself to be distracted if I had a wonderful view. But your space should support you like the other tools you use.

But the most important tool I think any writer should cultivate is mindset. It isn't always thought about as a tool but your attitude to your writing should be as positive a help as all the other tools at your disposal.

Inspiring views are fine but it's more important to learn to be inspired whatever the view and cultivating a positive mindset is part of that. Part of learning to write to deadlines is to force the inspiration and ideas to come when you need them.

When clients demand 24 hour turn around times then you can't wait. So make yourself write regardless of the setting and the view. Make the words come at your command; decide what fires you up to write at your most powerful and passionate and use it as a conscious tool.

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