These tools and resources fall into two categories: necessities and optional extras. The necessities are items we’ll need to acquire before we can go very far in our work, even if this means buying them before we earn any income. The extras are important, but can usually wait until we see a profit.
The first thing we need to establish is a place to write. Each writer is different, some of us need quiet, and others need to work where there is activity and background noise. You may need to experiment to see in which environment you thrive. With the advent of laptops, more writing environments have opened up, libraries, coffee shops, beaches or parks, chose one and write. Many writers have several preferred locations to write or research. I prefer to sit on the little deck off my office with a cup of tea early in the morning, jotting notes from my research. I write better in my office with music geared toward the scene I am writing playing quietly in the background.
Some writers start their careers from a corner of the kitchen table or a spare room, it helps tremendously to have a space, even a small one you can call your own, devoted just to writing. Most writers feel this space requires a door that can be closed against interruptions, distractions, and family and friends. Another advantage of a separate workspace is it usually qualifies for the home office tax deduction.
In your office, you will need some basics:
- A desk or table for your computer
- Good lighting for your computer, reading and work areas
- A flat surface to spread out notes, books, and other materials
- A file cabinet or boxes to file research notes, articles, correspondence, etc.
- A drawer or container to store your writing supplies
- A shelf or book case for reference books
- A chair with good back support
Don’t rush out and buy the mahogany desk, unless you are independent wealthy. I do recommend getting a good chair because hopefully you will be writing a lot. I started out with a salvaged kitchen tabletop laid across two old file cabinets, and a dining room chair. I gradually was able to by a cheap computer desk from a local discount store. Many months later, I purchased an expensive high back swivel chair at a closeout sale at an office supply store. This how I operated for over 20 years.
Six years ago, I did earn enough to buy my two new desks, and a new chair. One desk is for my computer only. A second desk… because I like to spread all of my research, notes, papers, and outline cards out when I am writing. I write my rough drafts in long hand. This allows for room to work. The key is personalization: make the space yours; and make sure your family and friends respect the times you’re working in that space.
I write this not to brag about my office, but to say to start where you are and build as I did.
Heading to organize my cluttered desk,