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There was a moment early in the pandemic when it seemed like everyone was trying to be a baker. And do you remember that carpentry phase when your friends were showing off pieces of furniture they had repurposed? Oh, and how about that artistic stint that fizzled quickly on your timeline? Something about the isolation — Or is it the freedom? The boredom? — that brings out the creativity deep inside us.
Maybe the idea of writing a book came to you one day over the last 12 months. Hell, maybe you’ve been sitting on your masterpiece for the past 12 years. Whatever the length of time that it’s been stewing doesn’t much matter. The only thing that’s important is that you’re ready to roll now. You just need to get your hands on the proper tools for the job.
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Author Carrie Seim has been where you are. A frequent contributor to outlets like The New York Times and Cosmopolitan, Seim decided the time was finally right to get her novel, Horse Girl, out to the world. Though the pandemic slowed the publishing process down some, Seim’s book came out through Penguin Random House in March 2021 to rave reviews.
While talent and determination, of course, were the central forces behind her project getting completed, Seim credits some tangible things for helping make her book-writing dreams come true, too. So, get your pen and pad out for some of her suggestions, along with a few of our favorites, to help you in the journey to tell your story.
1. Stephen King’s On Writing
Stephen King has a way with words. No newsflash there. But did you know that he’s also got a way with words specifically about words? While King classics like Misery and Salem’s Lot have inspired a generation of spine-tingling scribes, it’s his deeply personal On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft that probably should be your starting point in this whole process.
“The only way I dared to begin my novel was with Stephen King’s On Writing watching over me,” says Seim, of the book that’s as much a masterclass in sentence structure as it is a compelling, okay-gonna-read-just-one-more-page recollection of life events that molded King into the person he is today. “I consider it a sacred text. There’s a reason it gets recommended over and over again. What a generous thing for King to gather his genius, tie it up in a bow and share it with us foolish mortals. It’s the best down-to-brass-tacks guide to the craft out there, and it also happens to be an immense pleasure to read.”
2. Pilot G2 Pens
Writing utensils can be deeply personal to a writer. Doesn’t matter if it was gifted to the person or they simply gravitated towards it in the office supply aisle. However the introduction was made, any thoughts of a long-term relationship ultimately come down to look and feel.
Ask 100 authors to name their favorite pen and you’ll likely get 101 answers. Seim loves Sharpie S-Gel pens. We agree, and think their smoothness is nearly unmatched.
Another writing utensil that checks all the functionality boxes: Pilot’s G2 line. The fine 0.7-millimeter lead tip glides across paper without smudging. And though it’s inexpensive, it doesn’t feel cheap in your hands.
If you want to express yourself beyond the everyday black, the G2 also comes in a variety pack with nine other colors. Feeling snazzy at your desk? Go with the G2 Pro, a pen that’s sleek and even a bit stylish with its metallic ombre and matte black design.
3. Moleskine Smart Writing Set Ellipse
Whether you’re penning the next great novel or merely trying to keep your shopping list in order, Moleskine’s Smart Writer is a wise companion. The product takes everything that you love about Moleskine’s famed notebooks (leather-like cover, elastic page-holder, handy internal pocket) and pairs it with a breeze-to-use, Bluetooth-enabled Ellipse pen.
Every word or doodle you make in the 173-page notepad is transferred to your device in real time. And from the app on your device, your work can then be edited or shared as you wish. Ahhh, the joys of brainstorming in the coffeeshop without worrying about notes being ruined or misplaced ever again.
4. Post-It Notes
Classic desk staple Post-It has a few new concoctions that writers will adore. Foil Tabs are spiced-up versions of the traditional ones you’ve always used for easy access to journals or as dividers in folders. These updated tabs provide the same effectiveness, only now they come in metallic shades, they’re thicker and more durable, and are writeable with permanent marker.
Post-It’s new Full Stick Notes are also quite the handy tool for notebooks or outlining on the corkboard. Like with traditional Post-Its, they come in a rainbow of neon colors. But how these notes stick out is that they don’t flap; they’re fully adhesive, laying down almost like a sticker. So, when you need to cover something up or quickly jot down key points, these reminders are up to the task because they never fall off.
5. Oversized Dell Monitor
Notebooks, journals and laptops are all great places to take down thoughts surrounding your memoir. But when it’s time to take your work to the next phase, you may need a bigger platform. You might want to look into an oversized monitor. They literally (and figuratively) let you see what you’re doing so much better.
“One of my best friends,” says Seim, who was also a staff writer on several Nickelodeon shows, “is a TV writer who decided to create a similar ‘writer’s room’ feel when he’s working at home, with his scripts projected on an oversized monitor. Instead of squinting all day into a tiny screen, I like the idea of seeing your ideas — and mistakes — big and bold on a giant, tiltable screen. It’s also helpful for reading scenes out loud, which I think is one of the most crucial steps in the book-writing and editing process.”
We think this 25-inch Dell U2520DR will get the job done. It delivers outstanding color depth and proves extremely nimble, capable of tilting and pivoting to whatever angle is most comfortable during your editing sessions.
Oh, and don’t worry about the Dell monitor being compatible with your MacBook Air. With a USB Type-C cable, the two will easily work in unison, creating the perfect stage for your literary masterpiece to come together.
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