20 Tools Every Writer Needs


by ARHuelsenbeck


Are you ready to get serious about your writing? Set yourself up for success by stocking up on the things you’ll need:

  1. A quiet area you can set up as your writing space. For most people, a writer’s study is a luxury. Four of my five children had to grow up and move out before I had a room of my own. But if you don’t have a whole room to yourself, claim a corner somewhere.
  2. A desk and chair, preferably a comfortable one. Desks are expensive, but you may be able to find a reasonably priced one at a garage sale or thrift store. Or maybe you can repurpose a discarded table. If you don’t even have a corner to call your own, the table in the kitchen or dining room may have to do.
  3. A lamp or good overhead lighting.
  4. A bookshelf.
  5. A computer equipped with Microsoft Word, and a printer.
  6. Lots of printer paper and printer cartridges.
  7. Optional: writing software. I’m learning how to use Scrivener for my novels. If you’re writing plays or scripts, it is good to have software that will automatically format for you.
  8. Notebook(s). Jot down all your brilliant ideas.
  9. Pens and pencils. I prefer pens that flow really well (like uni-balls, rather than the economical stick pens), and mechanical pencils (so you don’t have to sharpen them). I like lots of different color inks (Ink Joys!), so I can color-code, or at least use a color that suits me at the moment.
  10. Dictionary and thesaurus. (Yeah, you can find these online, but sometimes it’s good to have the paper kind.)
  11. A good book on writing. Here are some of my favorites and one more.
  12. Sticky notes and notepads or scrap paper.
  13. Paper clips. Scissors and tape (sometimes I physically like to cut and paste my manuscripts).
  14. Envelopes (all sizes) and stamps. There are still a few publications that don’t accept electronic submissions.
  15. Telephone (cell or landline). Not that you want the distraction, but so you don’t have to get up to answer it.
  16. A coffee mug for your favorite beverage, whatever that might be.
  17. A stash of cough drops, so you don’t have to get up to get one.
  18. A subscription to Writer’s Digest and/or Poets and Writers (or bookmark their websites).
  19. An inspirational poster or embroidery. Here’s one you can print out.
  20. A CD player so you can play your favorite background music. (Or you can play music from your iTunes library or your streaming service, but I prefer to rotate through about 15 of my favorite CDs.)

Once you’ve assembled all these tools, you’re ready. Sit down, think “What if…?”, and begin.




Guest post contributed by ARHuelsenbeck. Former elementary general music teacher ARHuelsenbeck blogs about the arts and the creative process at ARHtistic License. She is currently writing a YA mystical fantasy and a Bible study guide, and submitting a poetry chapbook, with mystery and MG drafts waiting in the wings. You can see some of her artwork, photography, and quilts on Instagram.

18 thoughts on “20 Tools Every Writer Needs

    1. Writing by hand! Do you at least have a good pen that flows well and doesn’t smear? You don’t want anything to impede the stream of words.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I often use a pencil for writing unless I’m confident in the topic. Right now, one book is in a journal with a leather type cover and erasing or making changes don’t leave the paper ragged but I do use white eraser pencil tops. It is the most organic way to stay close to the characters. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Enjoyed this. But some of it’s so personal. For me, never any music or radio. I need no distractions to concentrate properly. And I think the poster would be another ‘no’. I agree absolutely you need to settle yourself in the most conducive atmosphere you can manage. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this! I just recently set up a writing spot of my own…an unused desk and an old chair with a lot of personal history. I’ve got two photos from the beach on the desk because looking at them makes me happy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a large postcard of Michelangelo’s David that a friend sent me when she was in Florence. And another from the Metropolitan Museum of Art showing “The Unicorn in Captivity.” And a birthday card my husband gave me of a little boy singing his heart out (who coincidentally looked just like one of my students. And the poster mentioned in #19. All hang above my desk.

      Liked by 1 person

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