Friday, September 23, 2011

What Does a Writer Need?

I’m in the process of clearing 30 years of accumulated essentials. Besides all the accumulation related to family and friends, I have acquired books, paper, pens, inkjet cartridges, pencils, notebooks, files and their cabinets, envelopes to send manuscripts, envelopes for the return of manuscripts, floppy disks, external hard drives, thumb drives, cameras and their batteries, photographs on paper and on disks, computer and laptop, printers and scanners, desks, office chairs, briefcases and laptop bags as well as boxes and boxes of manuscripts. All of the above is related to my writing.

With just 7 days remaining before I have to condense my life and work into two suitcases and a carry-on bag, what do I really need to keep working for the next three months while I wait for all of the above to arrive at my next hometown? <b> </b><!--more-->

My Essential Notebooks
I already know that I have a writing desk waiting for me, as well as a bookcase that will hold approximately 1/4th of the books I am shipping. So, in order of priority, these are my essentials:

  1. Current work with any associated notebooks all scanned to the laptop (see below).
  2. Laptop with all typescripts and scanned material (see above) saved in at least three different places (including cloud storage) in case of loss.
  3. My three favorite writing implements with all the ink cartridges I have in stock.

There is one other most critical something else, but I’m a bit short of that right now.

What are your essential ingredients for your work? Do you have any suggestions that will help me keep working while all around me goes astray? What should I leave behind?

All ideas grateful received.


Carolyn Brown said...

Oh, my! I hate moving! When we moved into this house we are in now, we had moved 21 times in thirteen years. Then Husband retired from teaching in Oklahoma and we kept this house and rented one in Texas where we went until he could really retire. Three moves there until we came back home. So bless your heart!
On the writing business, I could probably be in good shape with my lap top and tote bag. Take what you need for the WIP. The rest can wait! At least that's my advice for the could change tomorrow! LOL
Good luck!

Gina/Katherine said...

Where's your inspiration? I use music, but I know other writers who have either a little toy on their desk they play with, a photo (or bunch of photos) that encompasses their current story, or some other geegaw to get the creative juices flowing.

Sandy Cody said...

Provocative post, Leigh. I've read it several times and keep coming back, asking myself the question you've raised. What do I really need to keep writing while everything around me goes astray? I think that's something every writer faces every day, whether we're in the midst of a huge move like you or whether, like me, we're sitting in the same spot we've occupied for years and dealing with all the tiny details of our lives. I've finally come to the conclusion ... and, yes, I know it's taken me far too many words to get here ... what I really need is a story to tell and burning commitment to that story.

Good luck with your move. Safe trip and all that. Maybe you need to give yourself a little breathing space. Just a little ... then hurry back to your writing.

Jayne Ormerod... said...

Three takes planning! I don't envy you the upheavel in your life. I find I can only write in my own space, so I can't imagine getting any writing done so I'd probably take tons of books to read for inspiration while in transitionl And Diet Coke. I can't write without my DC fix. :)

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...

That's a lot of moving around! My mother chased my dad all over the US during WWII - with five kids in tow - so what have I got to worry about!? Laptop, WIP and tote bag, got it.

I stare straight ahead! Blank wall - sometimes a blank mind as well! Reflections in my laptop screen help. The best is walking in fresh air and seeing something quite normal that is actually extraordinary.

I think time is another critical element - time to think, daydream, stare, ponder and wonder. If all else goes awry, a few moments to regroup gets the stars alined. But you are right about commitment to the story - that is the ultimate requirement.

I need peace but I can write anywhere, anytime. I don't have to be comfortable either, just the space/time continuum. My stimulant of choice is coffee - filter or cafetiere.

Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I'm back to packing for the first stage move to the Piper's Mill. We'll see how life from a suitcase works!

Caitlin said...

Oh man, that's a tough one. You've seemed to cover your bases pretty well! Good luck with your move, I hope everything goes smoothly.

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...


Thank you for the hopeful wishes! I tend to think of myself as 'chaos incarnate' but I uprooted my life to get here, I suppose I can uproot to get home. This time, though, I have a hyphenated extension to keep in tow - my husband!

Beate Boeker said...

I need to have a big pot of tea by my side when writing, so make sure you pack everything you need to create your favorite drink! :-)

I love to move; I just hate the costs that are involved.

Good luck in developing new roots, both to you and your husband!