Things new writers shouldn’t buy

There are a lot of things you probably shouldn’t buy.  Cloths you don’t fit into, caffeine free coffee, nick -knacks, crappy souvenirs.  But there are some things that writers, especially new writers who are generally broke, should just never, ever buy.

1. Ninty five percent of “here’s how to write a book”, books.

There are exceptions to this.  I read On Writing by Stephen King when I was just thinking I might want to be a writer, and it was a real inspiration.  (Even if he is a filthy pantser and that’s why your endings always suck so hard, Stephen!)  But for the most part, writing guidebooks are not going to help you.  Practice will help you, and writing prompts.  Reading a book about writing is probably not going to help you.

2. Any books of writing prompts.

Why?  There are way too many available for free online.  I give you one free every week, for one thing, and if that’s not enough, just type ‘writing prompts’ into Google.  You’ll be set for life.

3. Expensive writing equipment.

Understand that there is a difference between a good pen and a pen you spent a lot of money on.  Same goes for paper, and notebooks.  Buy what is comfortable to use and makes you smile.  But don’t invest in a Monte Blac just yet, is what I’m saying.

I’d also advise against buying pretty notebooks or journals.  It makes you more likely to get stage fright thinking that you must write pretty words..

4. Expensive writing software.

You know what works really great?  Open Office.  It’s compatible with every other system.  It’s also totally free.  If you don’t like that , it’s only because you haven’t tried it yet, but you really can just use Microsoft if you must.  I promise, editors don’t give special consideration to manuscripts written on Scrivner.

5. A desk, unless you’ve already got one.

Or any other big office furniture.  You can write just fine on whatever flat surface you’ve got.  Though I will say that having a writing space is a good idea.  Somewhere that you know your stuff won’t get messed with and you can keep extra supplies in relative safety from paper poachers. (My kids are guilty of this.)  But don’t feel like you’ve got to break the bank over it.  A folding card table from Wal-Mart does the job just fine.

6.  The notion that you aren’t getting anywhere.

Finally, don’t buy into the notion that you’re going to be a struggling writer forever.  You’re either going to put in the work and dedication that leads to a successful career, or you’re not going to put the work in, get bored, and start collecting stamps.  Either way, you won’t be a struggling writer forever.


notebooks, and anything


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