Monday, June 17, 2013

Toolbox for the Creative

The Writer's/Artist's Toolbox
I recently read an article online about having a "toolbox" handy.  It was full of amazing and very helpful links and tips.  Well that got me to thinking... What is in MY toolbox?  What does a writer/artist NEED?

A notebook/sketchbook- this is essential, of course, and really shouldn't need stating, but we're starting with the basics.  keep this handy at all times.  Both if you must.  I'm looking for the perfect combo of a sketchbook/journal to use... The search continues.  I also keep a sketch pad and pen in every room (yes, even the bathroom!)  As for me, I have a terrible memory and if I don't jot things down when they pop into my head, they'll be forever lost.

Pens & pencils - Again, obvious, and they go with the first item, but just having one single pen or pencil on hand is like only ever eating vanilla ice cream.  Sure, it's great, but it makes a better foundation to add lots of other goodies.  I like to have variety because I never know when inspiration will strike for a good sketch/doodle/etc.  Inspiration for a good doodle?  Oh, you bet!  A good doodle can be a great catalyst for just about anything... The shapes, colors, style... You just never know.  And sometimes I do a quick doodle just to relax my mind. 

Camera/camera phone - personally, I carry both about 99% of the time (yes, my purse is huge and heavy, but I never know what I'll come across and what I'll need) and I've begun a collection of some amazing photos... Sunsets, sun rises, animals, bugs, flowers and other plants, etc.  And one of the best thing to photograph is textures.  You can use these for your art, book covers, crafts, and much more.  Start noticing the world around you and capture it!

Recording device - If you're driving or have your hands full, but need to get an idea out before you forget it, then a recording device is a must.  I believe many of the cell phones nowadays have some way of recording your voice.  If yours doesn't, then call yourself and leave yourself a voice-mail.  Leaving yourself a voice-mail is a great tool, especially for work the next day.  When I would leave work and remember something important that I would need to do the next day, I would call my extension and leave myself a message.  Then I was able to "forget it" for the evening and relax without worrying all night.  And there are also plenty of Apps for recording devices on your smartphone, if you have one.  Some are even free.

A good writing application - And I don't mean an "App" on your phone.  I mean something along the lines of Microsoft Word, WriteWay, Scriviner, or something as simple as Notepad.  Personally, I use WriteWay, but I've heard many good things about Scrivener as well.  I used to use Word until I came across WriteWay.  What I like about something like WriteWay or Scrivener is that they allow you to break up your story into sections, so you're not scrolling down and down and down, for infinity, just to find one small scene.  Sure, you can use Ctrl "F" but it can become quite a hassle if you're looking for something vague.

A great imagination and a sense of wonder - You need to have curiosity and the ability to look outside the box, maybe even throw out the box completely.  Ask lots of questions especially "What if?"  That question is a great catalyst for any story of any genre.  What if?  Take something ordinary and ask yourself the question, "What if...?" and see where it takes you.  What if my cat had special powers?  What if the South had won the war?  What if you had done this over that?  And be sure to search out the beauty in even the most ordinary items.  I've seen some of the most amazing photography and art pieces of some of the most mundane objects.  Don't just look at the lighting, but look at the shadows as well.  Negative space is one of the best artistic tools we can use.

 So, what's in your toolbox?

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