Tools of the trade


When it comes to writing, environment plays a pretty big role. Everything from your computer to the chair you sit in all contribute to the content you put out. Everyone works differently and I have certain things I have going on while the thoughts flow to my keyboard.

1. Music. Music is essential to my writing. Even in college, I would always have music on as I wrote. I know many people who cannot write when there is noise but I am the exact opposite. Usually I will put on a certain artist that will help inspire me and keep me going. There are other times when I need music that sounds a certain way such as classical or R&B.

Most helpful music: The Smashing Pumpkins, U2, John Legend, Dave Matthews Band.

2. Drinks. For some reason when I write, I need a cup on my desk at all times. I have found that my kitchen being near my desk is extremely convenient. 95% of the time when I write I have a glass of soda or cup of coffee next to me. I have a Senseo coffee maker that brews a cup in a minute and a half, which means I’m never gone from my keyboard for more than 2 minutes for a bathroom & drink refill break.

Best drinks: coffee, pomegranate juice, Pepsi / Diet Pepsi.

3. No bullshit. Computers are great but also a burden. Thirty years ago when someone used a typewriter there wasn’t an AIM message popping up in the middle of a sentence. I’ve found that the internet needs to be turned off while writing. I keep two programs open: Pages and iTunes. Nothing else. Once I’m three sentences into writing, I am in a groove and do not want to be disturbed.

4. Literary References. I work on a Mac. Yes it’s better than a PC. Now that we’re past that let me tell you that if you write on a Mac, the best tools for you is the Dictionary Dashboard widget. This allows you to search any word in a dictionary and thesaurus without going online. It helps from you getting sidetracked. I look something up within a few seconds and get right back into writing. If you’re on a PC, keep (hopefully you’re using) Firefox open with three tabs:,, These are the three sites you need. Nothing else. When not in use, keep it minimized to reduce temptation to surf the ‘net.

These are just a few things that I do to write and they help with my environment tons. I bang out more work in this setting than in any other. In the future, I’ll post more tips.

How do you write?


  1. I can’t listen to music when I write. I try, don’t get me wrong. But I start dancing in the middle of writing. Listening to music as I write is just another form of procrastination for me.

    There is a theory that writing with music on helps with the pacing of the story.

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