4 Things Every Writer Needs

The beautiful thing about writing is that it’s not like other hobbies or professions, requiring money investments or clothing that isn’t your pajamas.  You can write anywhere, any time, and you don’t have to buy materials or work clothes.

There are, however, some things writers do need:

1.  Writer’s Journal

A writer’s journal is a place to record ideas, snippets of information, character descriptions, plot twists, title ideas, or whatever relates to your writing.  If you write fiction and nonfiction, you may want to have separate notebooks for each one, if that works for you.  Either way, carry your writer’s journal with you — stash it in a purse/backpack/laptop carrier when you’re on the go.  Don’t use your writer’s journal for anything but writing-related notes.

2.  A Sacred Space

Virginia Woolf wasn’t the first writer to dream of “A Room of One’s Own” and she certainly wasn’t the last.  For most writers, having an office would be a dream.  Some of us are lucky enough to have a room to ourselves, while some are lucky to have space on the kitchen table to write.  Whatever your individual circumstances may be, make some space sacred for your writing.  This can be a room, a corner, or even just a drawer or a file on a shared computer.  This sacred space is for your writing and your writing only.  This has two benefits: first, it helps keep you organized, and second, it shows you take your writing seriously, to yourself and to others.

3.  A Reading List

Writers write, but they also read.  Read avidly, in the areas you like to write as well as others.  Reading helps make you a better writer and keeps your imagination limber.  All writers should have a running list of “to read” titles, in their heads or on paper.  I tend to add titles to my Amazon Wishlist as I hear about them, and just pick and choose from that coming shopping time 🙂

4.  Other Writers

There is no substitute for a good writing friend, even if you only know him/her as a screen name.  Writers need other writers for support, motivation, critiques, and for the simple fact that we can be a weird, under-appreciated breed.  We need solidarity, we need a support system, and we need someone to tell us when to get our heads out of our butts just do the revision already.  A writer without a few other writers to hang out with, even casually, is a pod with only one pea.

In that vein, here are my recommendations for the best writing communities online:

National Novel Writing Month


The Scriptorium Webzine

Writer’s Cafe: The Online Writing Community


8 thoughts on “4 Things Every Writer Needs

  1. I completely agree. I keep a journal with me in my bag at all times and I’m always scribbling furiously in it. Every bit of random trivia or any random idea that pops into my head goes into the book. I also keep a wire-bound sketchbook with me to sketch any ideas I get. The two books often cross over.

  2. I was happy to read your short article. That’s something I need to work on, keeping it short and sweet and still something interesting people want to read. I’m glad to have a space of my own, if I can just create one of those invisible shields to keep my husband and children out of it. Oh well, they are inspiration for writing too, I suppose! Thanks for the article. It’s great to know what other writers are doing.

    1. Katherine Paterson said the same thing once: “As I look at my writing, it seems to me that the very persons who took away my time and space are the ones who have given me something to say.”

      It’s frustrating but something to remember!

  3. Wonderful list and very inspiring. I love the last two in particular. Reading really does foster the writer within. The only way to find your own voice is to decide what you like and don’t like as a reader. And writing does indeed take a village. We like to think we’re loners, but there’s nothing like a group of other writers to keep you from giving up. 🙂

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