Welcome to Our Write Mind. I hope you will explore the various pages. I would love to hear from you and am curious about what you would like to see discussed or what you would find helpful to you as a writer. My goal is to have new material available weekly. My best wishes to you as we explore the writing profession. Dara

Saturday, March 31, 2007

All the Extras

Let's talk about all of the writing extras we want. I suggest you make a wish list. When people ask what they can get you for a gift for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Suggest they look at your wish list, or donate money toward its purchase.

Business cards and a professional letterhead
You can design a letterhead at no cost on your computer, and save it as a file to use for whatever correspondence needs arrive. You can also have it printed at a local print shop if you prefer, include your name, address, phone, fax and e-mail. Avoid cute logos like pens, quills or parchments, and don't use a title, like author or freelance writer on your stationary, these are signs of an amateur. I recommend using a linen or parchment stock in a neutral color such as ivory or gray for letters, but not for manuscripts.

You can design and print your own business cards at home as well. Just make certain they look professional and are printed on a quality card stock. I now have some of my cards professionally printed, but I still print cards that I include with my books, or hand out at personal appearances and events at home.

A fax machine
Some editors prefer the ability to fax contracts or galley proofs of your article to you. Being able to receive and send faxes can save time in correspondence and at times your sanity. A fax is also a good way to send an editor last-minute changes or materials. Never fax queries or manuscripts, unless the publication's guidelines specifically states they accept them.

A copier
Do you find you are constantly running someplace to copy contracts, clips, correspondence, and any number of other things. By having my own copy machine I save valuable time, money and energy.

You might want to invest in an all in one machine. You can purchase one for about $150. In the last seven years, I have gone through three Hewlett-Packard machines that have printing, copying, fax, and some even have scanning capabilities. Not because they are of poor quality, but because I flat wore them out. No need to worry about repair, it cost more to repair a printer than it does to buy a new one. My HPs have easily paid for themselves within a couple of months. They are also a tax deduction. I recommend you research the machine which works best for you.

An external hard drive
This is the most efficient way to back up your files, particularly if you have a lot of them. They can be purchased with variable memory size options and you can upgrade within reason for more memory.

A flash stick or jump drive
These are similar, and are inexpensive alternatives for smaller and more regular backups. They are small thumb sized devices which come with a wide range of memory storage. Each one works from a USB port, and I've found them extremely helpful in file maintenance.

A label-maker
There's really no easy way to print single labels or envelopes on a printer without a hassle, and unless you have easy access to a typewriter (what's that?) it's a pain to do it. There is a handy new tool which lets you print mailing labels with the touch of a button... just paste the address for a letter into the labelmaker window, and viola it's done.

A scanner
This is the easiest way to convert images and copied documents to electronic files.

Just remember this is a wish list. You can always leave the list out or circle photos in your office supply catalog as subtle hints.

My next big wish on my list is a laser printer, but the one I want is pricey; so I have to get busy writing, or gets lots of birthday and Christmas money.

Still in our write mind,