Tools of the Trade

I have a serious affection for office supplies. Not necessarily paper clips and file folders, but things like notebooks, post-its, pens and pencils. I love the various sizes, shapes, colors. I love to stand in the aisle at the store and just look.

Because when I look at all that "stuff", I see possibilities. Blank pages are waiting to be filled. Post-it notes are waiting for me to jot down story ideas or "addendums", then affix them to an easy-to-see place. Pens and pencils are waiting to be used up as I plot and plan.

Sure, I use a computer for my writing. I don't know anyone who doesn't. But there's something about being able to put my "hands" on a story idea... something about being able to flip the pages in a notebook and read and re-read about the characters and ideas and plotlines I've sketched out. Which is why I keep a notebook for each book I'm working on. The notes inside it start off very organized and easy to understand, but as the story develops and changes, my notes become kind of random and sporadic, scribbled furiously wherever there's a blank spot.

Some things stick around until I check them off the list. Others get vetoed completely. And I love it! I love looking through the notebook and seeing this crazy stream of consciousness that becomes my book. (Or looking back on the notebooks that have already become a book!)

It's a physical reminder that I've got something really cool going on in my head. And, for me, it's a great way to keep my thoughts organized and together. It's also a sentimental reminder - left behind after the book is finished - of the story and characters I loved and spent so much time with.

Happy writing and reading everyone! Have a great week!


  1. Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I love pens, notebooks, neat little journals. FYI, It was a real struggle to give that post-it handbag away at the meeting. I was actually proud of myself that I did tho. I don't need any more stuff cluttering my overloaded desk.
    Great post.

  2. Highlighters! They are a girl's real best friend. Not to take anything away from diamonds, but I love to see colors (with meaning, of course) so pretty on my pages. Great post!

  3. Amy:
    I'm addicted to office supplies too. I just ordered a filing system I can hang on the back of my office door. And have a basket of post-it notes, I never throw notebooks away until the last piece of paper has been used. And the inventor of the hard bound journal had me in mind.
    I asked for a gift certificate from office depot for Christmas and no one got me one. (Darn it!!)
    I even like the smell of paper.
    Three ring binders clutter the top of every book case. I organize everything in them. I probably have a fortune invested in just those.
    Oh no, I feel an index card desire coming on.
    I better go.
    Love the blog.

  4. Couldn't agree more! My husband thinks I'm crazy that I get excited when school starts, not for the school supplies for the kids, but when you can get spiral notebooks and pens in massive quantities for so very little- for yourself...its the way I used to feel in the Barbie doll aisle.

    It fills me with a kind of giddiness, cause I see the possibilities hubby doesn't.

  5. I LOVE notebooks and pens and binders and the tab dividers! The computer can't replace writing for me - sure they're essential for editing and printing and publishing but for the actual, first draft writing - spiral notebooks all the way, baby!

    Great Post!

  6. Sherry - I forgot about highlighters! YES... I love them! The latest thing I've found them handy for are the "final editing" of a MS. When I finished my last MS, I wanted to do one last "read through" before I started submitting. So, I got a package of highlighters with 5 different colors. As I read through my MS doing line-edits and such, I used the highlighters to mark "sensory detail". I assigned one sense to each color of highlighter. Hearing = green, Sight = yellow, Touch = blue, etc. That way, I could easily see where I was lacking in sensory details and look to find ways to improve that!