2 New Things To Help Me Write


Did it work?  Did I lure you in by using a number in the title again?  Don’t worry, no clickbait here, I did actually buy 2 new things to help me write, and I love them dearly.

As writers we have no dress code, no mandatory equipment (except something to write with), no security clearance, no global headquarters to clock into every day, no colleagues waiting by our desk to welcome us in the morning… nothing but ourselves, our ideas, our skill, and the drive and discipline it takes to sit down and work every day on our stories and ourselves.

I find that daunting.

Some few of us have figured out that small things, either rituals or objects, can help signal to our brains that it’s time to work.  Some authors don’t use any signals at all – they can just sit down and write – but alas I am not one of them.  When the hours of the day stretch ahead and seem so amazingly open it’s easy to procrastinate or tell myself that it’s okay to goof off for a few hours if I don’t “feel like” working just yet.  But then 3 o’clock rolls around and the dread of having to work into the evening and night whispers that “maybe it’s okay” to start fresh tomorrow.  It’s not.

So I’m taking all the help I can get to stay on track!

For some people it’s a cup of coffee, for others a special desk, and for others it’s a specific kind of music.  For me Green Tea helps, but I drink it all the time so it doesn’t necessarily scream to me that it’s time to write.  My desk is lovely but I do other work here, too.  And I am constantly listening to music so that’s out.

The first thing that helps me write was actually a present from my amazing girlfriend.  Computer glasses!

I have to admit that I made fun of these blue-light blocking glasses for a really long time.  I didn’t think they were anything more than a gimmick (jury is still out on that one) to make money from hipsters who don’t need glasses but want to look smart.  Then I spoke to a friend at work a few months ago who had really bad migraines and was prescribed these glasses by his doctor.  Voila, his headaches went away.

I thought: Hey.  I, too, sometimes battle headaches from staring at the screen literally all day.  And even more importantly, I, too, like to look smart!

Sara agreed that it’s better not to have headaches, and that I looked a little too stupid to be an author and needed something to fix up my look.  A few weeks later, on my first day of writing full time, she had a present for me.


I can’t say definitively if they help with my headaches because I only get them once a week or so (which is normal for a person my age who drinks and goes out), but I can definitively say that I like the way I feel when I wear them.  “Look good, feel good, play (read: write) good” – Every Famous Sports Athlete Ever.

They’re also a really important signal for me that it’s time to write.  They’ve been my uniform for the last few months, subconsciously telling my brain and body that it’s time to work, not procrastinate.  Instead of putting on a suit and going to the office, or putting on a cape and flying toward danger, I put on glasses that I don’t need to sit in front of a computer screen and make stuff up.  Who is contributing the most to society in that situation?  Nobody knows, it’s too close to call.

The second thing that helps me write was a present to myself from myself, and I got it for absolutely no reason other than that I have poor impulse control (apparently).

I bought a Cross Classic Century Satin Chrome BallPoint Pen.  It was $15.39 on Amazon Prime.  Is that a crazy amount of money?  No, not really.  But still, considering that you can get about 3,000 pens for like a dollar these days it felt like a splurge.  Yolo, I guess.

image2-2Did I need this pen?  Absolutely not.  Am I happy I bought the pen?  Absolutely.

I’ve never actually used a good pen before and the experience has been great – I won’t bore you by delving into a deep self-indulgent wholly-unnecessary and annoying showcase of description (Wow, the pen just glides across the paper like the finest of brushes, the ink a beautiful glossy black that reminds me of the night sky, it gives my words the weight of the thousands of other authors who have gone before me.  Barf.)  Even though I do 96% of all my writing on the computer, I do journal every morning and take a lot of editing/revision notes by hand in a Moleskin journal while reading on an iPad (the thick paper has a creamy satin texture that makes you hark back to the times when… Barf).

So yeah, I get a fair amount of use out of the pen, and I like it.  Anything to keep me happy.

So there it is, two new things that have helped me write!  I just need to buy 1,000,000 more writing aids and then I’ll finally be a bestseller author, right? … Right?

But to be real for a second after a relatively lighthearted post, you really do only need your brain and a sense of discipline to do whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s writing or something else.  The harder the thing you’re trying to accomplish, the more discipline you need – it may feel like you’re going nowhere for a while, but you are, and it’s only once you get there that you realize it.  So feel free to eschew any and all props/devices and just go for it!

That being said…

What kind of stuff do you use to help you write?  Any guilty purchases that aren’t necessary like luxurious pens?  Do you use coffee, music, a special desk to signal to yourself that it’s time to get to work?

23 comments on “2 New Things To Help Me Write”

  1. I have a small white board and each morning (or sometimes the night before) I write out my to do list. It really helps if I put “write” on there because I hate it when everything isn’t checked off by the end of the day! I also created a page in my bujo to track my writing, usually by time right now. With school out parenting is priority but I want to keep going forward at least a little most days until school starts back up.

    Maybe I need to buy myself a really cool pen. Does it bleed through regular notebook paper? I keep my journal in an old-school composition book.

    Oddly I too just started wearing new reading glasses that have the blue light blocking thing. I had a visit to the eye doctor and he recommended them. I hadn’t thought about using them as a writing cue, very interesting!

    1. The pen actually bleeds less if anything – it blots far less than a regular pen, which is great for me because I’m a lefty so prone to smudges. So funny you got the same kind of blue light lenses too!

      I like the white board – I use to-do lists also, I just put them in a productivity journal or my phone. Far less visually appealing than a whiteboard unfortunately :-(.

  2. I love my Spotify list. Every time I put it in and turn it on, it’s my signal that it’s time to write.

  3. You liked my post that was about the same issue, how to write!? and I am struggling with that, sometimes music helps but sometimes nothing…

  4. Yep, last October I bought a nice Sauder Carson, solid wood desk with metal touches (rustic and industrial at the same time). Now I feel like I can write/work; the card table I was using just wasn’t inspiring me to do anything but check emails. THIS is a writer’s desk!

  5. Used to live in a one bedroom apartment. My desktop computer was on a small metal stand bought to fill that purpose, and located at the end of my bed. I had always wanted an office. So when I decided to move, I found a two bedroom apartment. Then found a beautiful hand made wood desk on Craigslist. It straddles the corner of my office, has both open and closed shelves, drawers for paper and all my needed office supplies. It’s beautiful and screams “Work Zone.” I have two huge file cabinets in what should be the closet, and a drawing board on another wall. No one, including me, ever mistakes this room for anything but what it is. I do a lot of digital art and the desk has a side extension that holds my printer, and even more drawers. My only wish is that I had done this long, long ago.


    1. The drawing board sounds really nice – I’m definitely missing something like that in here. I’ll have to look into it. Your office sounds like an amazing place to work! I especially love the handmade desk – the perfect thing to anchor an artist’s room

  6. Ha ha – love this. I’m being quite bad today procrastinating and back-reading your blogs that I’ve missed… but I have just always tried to stick to a normal working day schedule to keep me on track while working at home. Oh, and I also use my dog. 🙂 His regular walk times when I used to work at a local newspaper were 7am before work and then around 6pm after work. When I went freelance as a copywriter (and author) I stuck to that routine – once the morning dog walking was over it was time to sit at the desk and work. In the evening, dog-walking time signalled the end of the working day. (Of course, I often scribble book writing and short stories at night but while that’s still technically work, it’s the copywriting that pays the bills so I still view my prose writing as being something I mostly do in my spare time). Keeping to office hours at home definitely helps keep me on track though. And on days when work is a bit slower, or I’ve gotten through my to-do list, I don’t beat myself up about taking some time to read books, write fiction or read blogs, lol. There have to be perks to being your own boss! Good luck with the writing. 🙂

    1. I use my dog, too! My girlfriend walks her in the morning, and when she gets back I know it’s time to work. Then when it’s time to walk her at noon it’s my break/lunch time, then the evening walk signals the end of the work day. So funny – she doesn’t even know how much she’s helping me!

      And thank you for the well-wishes!

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