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September 15, 2011

Guest Post: A Writers Essentials (Stephanie Campbell)

Stephanie Campbell is the author of Grounding Quinn



A Writers Essentials 
Thanks so much to Audris for having me, I’m super excited to be here! 
I’m sure you all know how important good book blogs are to the reading community, but here are a few things that you may not think of as necessities to writers that absolutely are!
  1. CAFFEINE! (All forms are NOT created equal!) As a mother of three, I have to squeeze my writing time in during odd hours. A lot of times, the only way I survive and make sure that I get anything done during those strange times is thanks to my caffeine fix. I’d bet I’m not the only writer who knows that depending on the time, and how much work I need to get done, that it’s important which form of caffeine I ingest. What other group of people would know that a 12 oz. Mountain Dew contains 54mg of caffeine, while an 8.5 oz Red Bull has a hefty 80mg’s? Or, the trusty Tall Starbucks coffee will perk you up with 260mg’s when you have a deadline?

  1. Mini-Marshmallows. (Or other small, nutritionally void snacks) You can say these are for you, but they are really to bribe your children with so you can finish editing that last chapter. You’re not going to be hungry anyway, you’re flying high from those two Red Bull’s you just downed. ;)

  1. Music. We all have different tastes in music, and I’m sure it varies from project to project, but no matter what your taste, music that inspires is essential. For me, Ron Pope and Damien Rice are standards for anyproject. Though my husband has unaffectionately dubbed this soundtrack, “Music to slit your wrists by,” I couldn’t possibly get any writing done without it!

  1. Books. Both good and bad, you need them all in order to write. You need amazing ones that make you feel completely inadequate, yet inspire you to always do your best in hopes of someday being able to write that well. You need not so great ones as examples of what you may be doing wrong or what doesn’t work that you never even realized. Read.Read.Read.

  1. Leggings(The anti-pant) They make you feel like you’re actually dressed, when, lets be real, you are so not. But it’s totally acceptable, because you’re a writer.

  1. Writerly-friends. You have got to have a person, or a group of people that are going through the same ups and down’s as you. People that understand the way you obsessively check your email every fifteen minutes, or help you find the perfect way to tweak a sentence just before you pull your last strand of hair out. Other writers will be your biggest cheerleaders, and the first people you want to tell when things go right or wrong- because they GET IT. And that is something you can’t survive this journey without.

  1. Human Interaction. While writing can be a very solitary activity, you NEED to step away from that computer. You NEED to get out and be around people. You NEED to put on REAL pants. Not only so that your real life friends don’t completely write you off, but how are you going to write about anything if you have no idea how people talk, react, move? I was at a sporting event recently and it was the prime people-watching venue. I watched a girl tuck her hair behind her ear every time she laughed. Or another, whose eyes kept darting sideways to steal glances at the boy that sat between them. Were they both flirting with him, hoping to garner his attention? These are things that you need to observe and maybe eventually, write about. Those little details make characters believable and real!

  1. Book Reviewers/Bloggers.  Not everyone takes the time to rate a book after they read it; even fewer people take the time to write a concise, well thought out, helpful review. The people that do are invaluable to writers. I’d guess that around 90% of the books in my to-be-read pile came from suggestions from book bloggers that I trust. You aren’t going to agree with every book they rave about, but if you follow them long enough, or use a site like Goodreads to compare books and reviews, you can find some that you trust and really look to for helpful info and recommendations. With so many amazing books out there, it is impossible to wade through the lists alone, and that is why book bloggers are so important. They bring in readers you might never have reached before, and when it comes down to it, introducing a new reader to their work, is the absolute best gift anyone can give a writer.

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