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It’s a tool, like a hammer or an alligator.

11 December 2010

Today’s post is about tools. We all have a certain preferred loadout that we want to have when we sit down to write or make art. For writers, it might be a Moleskine and a Mont Blanc. For photographers, it might be a 1978 Nikon SLR. All of us have an ideal toolkit, however.

But what, my friends, is the most important tool in the box for you? Are you techno-nerdy and need at least a dual-core machine before you can work? Are you totally old-school and prefer hand-cut paper and an inkwell?

I prefer to think of myself as middle-old-school — I use computers, but I only use Notepad to write in. I need to have some noise going, be it music or TV. I prefer to have it semi-dark in the room in which I work, and I definitely like to work without other people around (dogs are OK, provided they’re not being psycho).

But the dealbreaker? The one thing I won’t sit down to write without? Coffee. I can scrawl shit on the backs of napkins with a sharpened piece of coal if I have a steady supply of coffee. It doesn’t even have to be good coffee, though my preference is for Green Mountain Dark Magic Espresso blend served in either of my Las Vegas mugs or my National WWII Museum mug.

What about you, folks? What’s the most important tool for you when you create?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 11 December 2010 1037

    be it my Photography or my writing, I need some form of music going. 99% of the time recenty that means iPod, lol. Other than that……if you are truly an artist the tool doesn’t matter. If you have skill, it will come through, whether you are writing with pen and paper or typing at a laptop, shooting with a disposable Kodak film camera or a DSLR. Although in the latter case the QUALITY of the IMAGE will differ, but not the uality of the SHOT……..if you know what I mean.

  2. 13 December 2010 0637

    I’m with you on the coffee. My preference is for Trader Joe’s (various blends, depending on mood), but I’m not too particular these days as long as it isn’t what my friend Sam, who is in the Navy and feels the need to acronym everything, refers to as SPAC – that’s Stuff Posing As Coffee.

    When I handwrite, I like Mead college-ruled notebooks. The paper in those holds up really well to the inks I use, as opposed to most other spiral-bounds, which just let the ink bleed right through and feather out. That brings me to ink: I almost always go for either Noodler’s brand or Private Reserve. I tend to use a color that suits the mood of whatever I’m writing. If it’s a darker piece, the default is Private Reserve’s Black Cherry. It looks like dried blood when it’s dry. For fun things, I like Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm. My favorite, though I don’t use it very often, is Waterman’s South Sea Blue. When I had my own home office, I took the bottle to Lowe’s & had them match the color so I could paint the walls that color.

    My favorite pen is a Waterman #52, which was pretty much what everyone had back in the 1920’s, and since mine is still going, it’s pretty obvious they were built to last. I’ve also got a couple of really cheap plastic fountain pens from Swisher, just to throw in my bag and take with me. Since they’re only around $3, I’m not heartbroken when I inevitably lose one, and they write really nice.

    As for word processing, I don’t give a care what it is as long as it works.

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