Creating Your Writer’s Toolkit: Find Focus and Creativity In Your Work

A writer's toolkit: a notebook, inspiration sticks, and a pen.

"Write something you are passionate about. Your passion will carry you through the ups and downs of the process" — Bill Higgs, Author

Writing is often a labor of love. Yes, there are ups and downs, but there is no high quite like finishing a draft and seeing all of your work compiled into a neat, complete package (even if the process was kind of a drag). 

For a lot of writers, getting started is the toughest part. Blank pages can be extremely intimidating and imposter syndrome especially likes to rear its head when you’re working on something as intimate and personal as writing can be. That’s when a writer’s toolkit comes into place. 

Having the right tools to get you started can make a huge difference when you’re sitting at your desk staring at a page trying to figure out how to just start. (Pro tip: sometimes it’s just a brain dump. You can always edit later.)

The best writers know that a tool kit consists of both physical tools and emotional ones, like: 

  • Inspiration: Whether it’s an author, journalist or subject matter, have something you can go to and feel inspired - that will be the biggest boost 
  • A sounding board: Somebody who you trust will be a big help when it comes to making writing decisions. 
  • Ritual: Maybe it’s brainstorming in your favorite park or making a cup of tea before you sit down to write. Rituals can help set the tone, so find one that works. 

As for the physical tools, here are a few essentials that the writers of Ink+Volt find to be true helpers in the writing process.

1. A notebook to take anywhere

Creativity can strike at any time! Whether you’re traveling the world or running errands around town, you never know what might inspire your next writing project. That’s why having a notebook on hand is a must for any writer. 

Choose a notebook that can fit into just about any bag or backpack, that way you can jot notes down as they come to you and you’ll be encouraged to brainstorm anywhere. Looks are important too. You want a notebook where you can journal or plan and feel good as your pen glides across the page. 

A spiral notebook is great for people who are on the move. Being able to swing pages to the back and write on one surface without breaking the binding makes jotting down a note in your car or on the sidewalk so much easier.

You may even want to stick notebooks in a few other places too, like your bedside table so you won’t forget that genius idea in the middle of the night.

2. Your trusty pen

There are many stages in writing. And while many of them take place on the computer, it’s those early stages when you’re first mapping it all out that can be the most exciting. A blank page is full of possibilities, and a good pen will get you started.

When the inspiration is hot and you have a lot to jot down, reach for something light and comfortable to hold. Ballpoint pens are the easiest to keep in your desk and bag, so you’ll always want to have one in those place. Heftier projects require something with a little more gravitas, so keep a fountain pen with a fine steel nib in your desk drawer for notes and ideas that feel extra significant.

3. Desk organization trays

The creative process is often messy, and unfortunately that sometimes means the workspace follows suit. 

A clear desk can make all the difference when it comes to feeling calm and focused, and a tray, catchall, or pen holder will help you easily corral the clutter. Keep track of all those desk accessories like paper clips, whiteboard markers, sticky notes, and more so they’re easy to grab when you need them the most.

4. A goal planner

Whether it’s a fiction novel, an investigative story, or technical writing, some projects require lots of preparation. It’s good to have a way to keep it all in perspective and in one place. After all, writing (as creative and unbridled as it can be) requires a lot of dedication and organization.

We love the 6-Month Undated Goal Planner because it helps you create a timeline, set weekly goals, and keep track of different tasks in one place. It’s like your own personal working blueprint for your project or goal. It’s also a great tool writers can use to keep themselves accountable because you can easily track progress along the way.

5. An hourglass that limits distractions

It can take almost half an hour to refocus after a distraction, and with buzzing phones and constant email notifications, sometimes you need to just set the tech aside and concentrate on the page. For those hard-to-focus days, set up a good old fashioned hourglass

It will serve two purposes: first, it’ll encourage you to get to work. There’s nothing like a little pressure to get the creative juices flowing, and dedicating 15 or 30 minutes to work can be the kickstart you need.

Second, you won’t be tempted to reach for your phone and check your notifications when you reach a lull in your work. It's just you and the words.

6. Ink+Volt Dashboard Deskpad

Very seldom is writing just putting words on a page. It often takes a lot of planning, organization, and time to accomplish anything substantial. The Ink+Volt Dashboard Deskpad works great for writers of all kinds. With six focus areas, the notepad has enough space for even the busiest writers, and a weekly calendar helps you remember all of those big deadlines. This is a planner’s dream tool. 

Freelancers can see all of their clients and tasks on a page, while longform writers can look at chapters or sections. Even those in the research phase of writing can use the dashboard to make sure they’re covering all of their bases. 

7. Stationary for everyday writing

It’s no secret that writers are some of the best letter writers. There’s just something about a quick note that’s so romantic. And in the height of technology, who doesn’t like receiving a handwritten letter? It can be one of the most thoughtful gestures.

To finish off your toolkit, stock your desk with blank cards, envelopes and stamps for those occasions when only a handwritten note will do.
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