Jane Austin had a pen and a ream of paper or two. Those days are gone, my friends. At my first writer’s conference, the term ‘Writer’s Tool Box’ was used to preface every seminar and promote every How To book, magazine, website, punctuation mark, or new social platform-building tool out there. Social platform? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, oh my! Then there’s the actual writing process: software to help write drafts, do research, check grammar, prevent plagiarism. And let’s not forget all the tools to stop you wasting time on line. I wasted hours researching those. As I looked back over my list of everything I needed to purchase, set up an account for, pay for, commit to, I realized something: Miss Austin could never have lifted a tool box as heavy as that! I was left overwhelmed and at a loss as to where to start in my writing career. My head spinning, my palms sweaty, I needed to refocus.
So I switched the term ‘Writer’s Tool Box’ to ‘Writer’s Cake Tin.’ I understand cake tins; not that we needed a cake tin when I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong – my mother made cakes. Many, many cakes. But with three sisters and 80 sweet teeth between us, a cake didn’t last long enough to need storing. In my current empty nest, with a non-sweet toothed husband, I, at last, have a cake tin. Used in moderation, its contents can calm the frazzled nerves, inspire the tired imagination, lift the flagging spirits, and refocus the energy. Using this tool, I actually want to reach out on my social platform, I like my characters better, productivity rises, SpellCheck doesn’t seem like it’s out to get me. I highly recommend the chocolate espresso cupcake from the Fat Cat Coffee Shop near my home.
But, like all tools, the contents of the Writer’s Cake Tin must be used sparingly. Too much of even the best of aids will distract from the only piece of equipment a writer really needs: a good story.
Please find me on Facebook at http://bit.ly/traceygemmell for more sweet pictures and stories. Bon appetite. Happy writing.
Photo: Anne Miller