Let’s talk about writing tools.
There are eleventy billion products out there that will attempt to convince you that you need them to write. Software. Notebooks. Workshops and courses. Special pens that make coffee and are also vibrators.* Some of these things might help some people. But, aside from things to write with and on, there are only two tools you really need when it comes to writing, and both of them are mental.
Are you ready?
Your two tools are: the magic wand and the sledgehammer.
The magic wand** is your creativity and wonder. It has a sign that says Ideas come from right fucking here, asshole.*** This is the thing that shows you all those possibilities. Everything you can possibly create comes from here.
But the magic wand, for all its power, is useless on its own. It’s fun, sure. It always keeps you entertained. But it’s incapable of making anything.
For that you need the sledgehammer.
The sledgehammer doesn’t give a shit about magic. It’s about results. It takes the ideas and makes something out of them. Stories, mostly. Every time you sit down to grind out the word count, that’s the sledgehammer at work.
And, like the magic wand, it is also useless on its own. With no magic, your writing will lack life. Ever read a story that felt like a DVR programming manual? That’s a sledgehammer with no magic wand. The story gets finished, but you’re left wondering why you bothered in the first place.
Here’s another way to break it down:
Magic Wand: Holy shit, check out this dinosaur ninja I just thought up, it has lasers and claws and is also a princess, oh my god, hahahahahah
Sledgehammer: Turn on the computer. Let’s figure out how to make this work. Oh, and you’ve got 1000 words to go today.
Of course, they don’t always work this well together. Sometimes the magic wand gives you samurai unicorns and the sledgehammer thinks that’s stupid. And sometimes the sledgehammer builds something that the magic wand thinks is booooooorrrrrring. They fight. They work at cross purposes. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like they’ll ever get it together. But, like the odd pairing in every buddy cop movie, if you keep throwing them into ridiculous situations, they eventually figure out that they work better together.
So strengthen both. Absorb the weirdness that the magic wand runs on. Hone your practical skills so the sledgehammer is easier to lift. With those two in your toolbox, you’ll be amazed at what you make.
*Could someone invent this real quick?
**Bonus fact: The Husband used to have a magic wand at his place of work, for customers who demanded the impossible. When new regulations required that everything be labelled, he even labelled it ‘magic wand’.
***Magic does not equal nice.