This is what my work space looks like on any given day. Wait, I take that back, I did straighten up the papers before I took the picture…
My "top ten must haves" for being creative and getting the work done! They're in no particular order, these are just what I have surrounding me and what helps me be productive.
1. PENS! I just did a quick count to find that I currently have 18 pens in my drawer and on my desk… I feel like there are some missing.
Pens are an essential. Even with a computer, I'm old school when it comes to writing and I need lots of color variety for my ideas! Maybe I want to write in green or yellow or pink or purple! The list goes on, and yes, I do have all of those colors!
2. PAPER! Okay, this is obvious. Even before I started really getting into my writing a few years ago, I needed notebooks around me. (I was just at Walmart the other day and bought 8 more notebooks because they were only a quarter… I have a serious problem.) I think writing has always been a part of me so having a blank piece of paper meant something to me. (Want to know a weird secret about me? If you open any of my notebooks, you will find that the very first page is never written on, it's completely blank. I have no idea why, but I can't bring myself to ruin the first page of a notebook. It's as if nothing can be important enough to put there so I need to leave it blank. Also, I have no idea what happened to the first page of my notebook on the bottom…)
I have a notebook dedicated to every book I currently have written, or am writing. I carried a white and gold notebook that said, 'joyful' around for months while I was working on Finding Home in Redemption. Redeeming the Darkness, book two, is a white notebook with pink polkadots. Those were the notebooks that spoke to me when I started the stories and so they became attached to my hip until the books were complete.
I need printer paper, too! Not because I print anything, because I rarely do, but I need to make charts. Lists. Plans. Rough ideas. Printer paper is usually what I use to jot down my ideas before I make a decision and put it in the notebook. A rough draft for my rough draft.
3. "DIFFERENT WAYS TO SAY" SHEETS! Who wants to read, "said and laughed" eight million times in a book? Not me. Although I rarely use them, I keep them around because I don't want to get in a pinch where said or laughed isn't the right word. I want a variety, but not too much variety. Yes, those words can be overused if you use them every other sentence, but then again, no one wants to read guffawed every time someone lets out a laugh, either. Speaking from a reader's point-of-view, said and laughed never bothers me much, unless it's used on every, single line. Trying to find a happy medium with the number of times I use these words, and adding a few more versions of it, is always easier when you have a handy sheet!
4. & 5. BINDERS & POST-ITS. I don't even know why I have them, but I need binders and folders and post-its. Like, who wants to work in a space without this stuff?
I do use my post-it notes quite a bit, but my binders haven't been used since I was writing a story in high school. (No, no one will ever see that story because can you say, embarrassing?)
6. INSPIRATIONAL SCRIPTURES AND QUOTES. Who isn't in need of inspiration? I always am! Scripture is where I find a lot of my encouragement. Unconditional love is everywhere in the Bible and I'm a romance writer… Its kind of perfect. My ultimate favorite will always be, 1 Peter 2:9.
I have quite a few scriptures posted around my desk, but I also have some quotes from people that I draw inspiration from. Pinterest is amazing for that, too! (You can always follow me at whitneymorganbooks to see what I'm up to on there!)
7. COFFEE OR SODA! Now, let me make things perfectly clear; I typically hate coffee. My husband loves it so every now and then, you'll find me drinking one. My "coffee" can hardly be considered coffee, though, because I think I put more creamer, sugar, milk, and other products than I do the actual beverage.
Soda? I cannot and will not live without it. There was a period of time a few years ago that my cousin and I let each other know when there were amazing deals on 12-packs of coke because we were obsessed. I'm getting more into Coke Zero right now, just for the fact that I'd really like TRY to get a little healthier with my choices. (Picture me lying on the ground, crying.)
8. SUNLIGHT! I have tried and failed to write at night. Less distractions and just me and the computer screen sounds ideal, but I can't do it. I need actual sunlight to be productive and this is probably one of the most inconvenient things I've understood about myself as a writer. I wish I could write anywhere and anytime, but for me, it's just not happening. The crazy thing is I can even bang out a few chapters in the pouring rain on a dreary day. Maybe it's the thought that my writing would be taking place between regular business hours, but whatever it is, I just can't produce anything noteworthy after dark.
9. AIR CONDITIONING! Freezing. Blizzard. Antarctica. These are just a few words I think of when I'm at home. It's absolutely wonderful. It could be almost a hundred degrees outside and my mom and friends will come over in hoodies because they know we like to keep it pretty cold here. Maybe it's because I spent three years getting massive hives every time my body temperature would go up, so I grew to HATE the heat, but even when it's winter, it's going to be cold in my house, too. (Speaking of which, it's starting to feel a little too hot right now… BRB.)
10. COMPUTER! Lastly, I need my computer and the writing apps I've stumbled across in the past couple of years. Scrivener, Ulysses and Manuscript have been priceless to me. Manuscript was the first app I ever downloaded and, while I loved it then, I probably haven't used it in six months or more. It's completely relevant, but I tend to use the other apps more.
Ulysses was the second program I found, and to this day, I love it so much! It is simple and exactly what I wanted.
Scrivener is my most recent find and there are things I do and don't love about it. The app is pretty in depth with all of the things it can do, and while that's absolutely fabulous in a lot of aspects, I'm not the most computer savvy person on the planet. I need simplicity, and for me, that's Ulysses.
These are the things that I really can't function without when I sit down to write. Whether it's a song, poem, short story or my next novel, I need these items with me. If you're a writer, what kinds of things do you typically need surrounding you? Let me know in the comments!