Tools of the Trade


One Christmas, all I asked for were pens and notebooks. I was, maybe, 14. This was pre-laptops. I wanted to write and pens and notebooks were the tools of trade as far as I was concerned.

Now, my tools have changed a bit: laptop, printer, paper, brass fasteners (or airplane approved twist-ties), pens and highlighters.

I’ve read some blogs where people got through their work, phrase-by-phrase, and highlight descriptions, dialogue, things the MC is doing, things other characters are doing…all in different colors so that the author can see, in an instant, if the manuscript is too dialogue-heavy or whatnot. I like that idea in theory, but wow, that seems like it would take a REALLY long time.

I use my highlighters as more of a triumphant DONE!

I write on the computer but print out to edit. Once I type my edits back into the computer (a kind of double-check on my edits), I highlight them. It’s nice to see a page that’s fluorescent. It’s a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

It’s also nice because, unlike crossing it out in pen, I can go back and actually see what the edit was…just in case I want to edit my edit.

The highlighter trick may have been the best thing I learned at the horrible ad job.

What are your writing tools? Any favorite tricks you’re willing to share?

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