Every now and then I take an inventory on the tools that are helpful to me in my writing. Of course, the most important tool is self-discipline, for as John Dufresne says, “The first rule of writing is to sit your butt down and write.” However, I’ve also found these tools most helpful:
1. My Dictionaries. I use two: Miriam-Webster 10th Collegiate Edition and the American Heritage 4th Edition.
2. My Thesaurus: The Synonym Finder. There’s not a thesaurus like it.
3. Magazines: I read these for ideas, inspiration, and writing trends. Currently I subscribe to Poets & Writers, Writer’s Chronicle (this keeps me informed on college trends and the academic side of creative writing) Cowboys & Indians (as it seems more and more of my work is going west, and besides, I just like it) and Oxford American (for the Southerner in me).
4. Fiction and Novel Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest. Don’t know where or to whom to send your work? This is invaluable! I should get a new one each year, but I usually get two years out of an edition. Mine is already dated and needs to be replaced.
5. The Internet. Now, one can obtain instant answers, spelling, information, or directions immediately. Lots of junk, true, but good stuff too.
5. My iBook. My whole life is in my laptop. I would not surrender it during a robbery. It is more portable than a typewriter and I can usually find Wi-Fi free, though that is becoming more difficult. As soon as I’m financially able (yuk, yuk!), I plan on using the AT&T service that enables you to have wireless anywhere you can get a signal for a cell phone.