For those of you new to the blog, I'm the resident Internet crawler. It's my job to trawl through cyberspace, looking for links related to all things writing related. One way I do this is by inputting various phrases into a Google search and seeing what happens. This week, the search phrase was "ten things a writer". Okay, I know it's not a complete sentence. Grammar was never my strong suit. However, it did result in a few interesting links.
The first two deal with things a writer needs. Tabitha Easley at Associated Content writes about the top 10 desk accessories every writer needs. Some of the items on her list are self-evident: computer, paper, writing utensils. Others are items we ought to think about but don't always because, gee, our computers have spellcheck and grammarcheck. These items include a dictionary or reference books. There's the daily planner, organizing tray, fax, printer, white out or erasers. Then, of course, the ever present cup of hot coffee to help us through those long nights and early mornings as we rush to meet our deadlines.
Then there are the 10 things a writer should never leave home without. No, not a spare pair of clean underwear. Although, my mother would disagree. After all, she comes from the school that you always wear clean underwear that has absolutely no holes in it in case you get hit by a bus and have to go to the hospital. After all, you might just meet Dr. Right if you do and you don't want him to see you wearing tattered underwear. Oops, sorry for that divergence into my subconscious.
Back to the 10 things a writer should never leave home without. This is one list I suggest every writer pay attention to. No matter where you are, you might run into someone who is interested in your work. So be sure to carry these with you -- or at least in your car so you can run out and get it. So, what are these magical items? A business card, copies of your book, promotional material, a pen -- as the author of the article says: "repeat after me, I will never leave home without a pen" -- paper/note pad, cell phone, mini-recorder, PDA or datebook, address book, and most important of all, bring a good attitude with you.
Another list to keep in mind are the 10 things authors should never blog about. We've touched on this before, but it bears repeating because it is easy to forget that once something is on the Internet, it is out there forever. It doesn't matter if you delete your post. Someone has already read it. It's on some server's cache and being propagated even as you congratulate yourself on taking it down before it was read. It's a common sense list that includes: don't rant about your publisher, don't diss your editor, don't moan about how you deserved that award or how much you make. Don't discuss and identify your family and friends without their approval. Take a look at the list, and remember, the Internet can be your friend, but it is also the town gossip. Don't put anything up that you don't want everyone knowing.
Finally, the most important top ten list of all -- 10 Things a Writer's Cat MUST Know. This is more than simply being the cutest cat of all, or the baddest. A writer's cat must get the writer's attention first thing each day, before the human makes it to the computer. Otherwise, all is lost. Once the cat has the writer's attention -- no, wait! Why is my cat looking at me like that? What? I'm not supposed to reveal the secrets....ARGH!!!!
So tell me, what are those items you don't dare leave the house without? For me, it's my EEE, pen, paper, and my cell phone. The items I have to have on my desk are my computer, pen, paper, dictionary, Strunk & White and whatever research books I need for the current project. As for my cat, well, she'll have to tell you what her top 10 things are and, at the moment, she's too busy tormenting the dog.