Writing in the 21st Century requires so much more than paper and pencils. Each writer has their own necessities which almost always include some sort of munchable and drinkable. Despite the obvious need for sustenance, one might ask what are the required working materials for a modern day scribe?
Computer- this tool is required for the actual construction of literary greatness, the caliber of which will change the history of publishing and bestseller’s lists for eternity. With the limits of typewriters, (do they still make those?) authors must upgrade if they want to remain competitive.
Paper- must be blank on at least one side for printing your fine, history-making best seller upon. Be sure to use a good marker (you know one that won’t bleed through) to X out your kid’s homework on the other side since you ran out of printer paper again.
Internet- The Swiss Army knife of writing. Permits a Google search at a moment’s notice, can carry on no less than four Facebook chats about how you aren’t getting your work done fast enough for that deadline next week and follow five Twitter conversations about how to write “Hit Lit” so you can make more money than Twilight and retire to Fiji while you are still a smokin’ hottie, all while writing a blog post about writer’s block.
Music- For listening to that carefully crafted mood-setting playlist. You will also need knowledge for building new ones. This will eliminate the risk of finding yourself without means to set the appropriate mood and tone when no teenagers happen to be nearby.
Pens- of various colors so when you revise and write all over that heartfelt manuscript the edits look like a rainbow and therefore make you smile instead of feeling convinced your life’s work permanently belongs in a slush pile.
Caffeine- Seriously? I'm not even going to insult you with an explanation!
Tissue - THE most important supply for a writer. Why tissue? Tissue for those dark, private moments when you open those letters from publishers or contests knowing it will be yet another “thank you, but...” letter. Because, even though you’ve heard, “If you haven’t received at least three rejection letters this week, you aren’t trying hard enough,” you still don’t want to add another one to your collection.
Tissues for those moments when you are sitting at your computer, bundled up in blankets with your hot tea or coffee, waiting to die from the Avian Flu you probably caught from that snot-covered kid at the grocery store last week. But there you sit anyway, writing—and, constantly wiping and blowing your bright red nose, hoping you finish before death comes calling.
And tissues for those scenes that sneak up on you. The ones that make you ache with anxiety or tremble in fear as if you were your character. Scenes that make you sob with happiness, blurring the screen as you continue to type. Scenes, so heart-wrenching they haunt you until finally images explode into words, bringing with them so much relief that tears flow silently as you sit oblivious to the world around you.
Finally, we need tissues for those moments when all our sacrifice, all our fretting and editing, all our hand cramps and caffeine buzzes come to fruition. We need tissues because, if we did it just right, our work, our words, our worlds, touch somebody’s soul— making a difference in someone’s life, making someone smile when they are sad, or making someone weep because they are finally understood. Our writing, can give them the hope that passion and dreams can come true for the "every man". At the very least, we give someone the escape they need on a rainy day. This is why writers need tissues.
I write this blog entry in preparation for what I anticipate will be a very difficult weekend for me. I have been struggling with a key scene in my WIP for over a week now. It is an uncomfortable scene for me to write for a number of reasons (I can’t get into them all now, it will ruin the book.). Each time I sit down, I get anxious, my shoulders twist up into knots and I start editing before I even type. This has created one crabby and frustrated Christine. Therefore, this weekend, I will need all of the above—especially tissue—because I am not leaving my writing space until the scene is finished! No matter what! So someone—PLEASE—bring me a fresh supply of caffeine sometime Sunday morning. Thank you!!!
Help me out! Just in case my weekend lock-in doesn't work: How do you make it through a scene that is difficult (for whatever reason) for you to write?