One Really Big Toolbox
Sometimes the tools needed for a profession are cut and dry. If you’re a carpenter, your box will hold a level, sandpaper, a saw, nails, a hammer. If you’re a traveling doctor you might carry a stethoscope, tongue depressor, a syringe and vial of serum. If you’re a fireman, a helmet and a big hose!
As a writer, I find I definitely have some cut and dry tools that I need to write. For me: I need a writing instrument. A laptop, a pen or pencil, a Moleskin notebook and a quiet, isolated spot. I know so many writers that love to go to Starbucks or a library or a bookstore to write. Maybe I’m just easily distracted but when I go to these places, I spend more time watching and observing people than I do writing. I start out my stories by outlining and writing bits of dialogue that pop in my head, into a Moleskin. And I’m a bit strange with that, even! I like the notebooks with the graph paper inside…not the lines and definitely not the blank. I tend to slope when I write and if I have a blank page the writing inevitably ends up looking like it’s falling off a cliff.
Another major tool I use is music. I make playlists for all my different writing projects and they vary wildly. I listen to the specific playlist usually while I’m out on a walk or driving in the morning before I sit down to write. It gets my mind rolling in the right direction and automatically puts my emotions into “go mode”. My best writing happens when I actually feel what I’m writing and music is a sure fire way to get me there.
The intangibles in my toolbox are just as important, if not more, but harder to quantify. People that I meet or am surrounded by play a huge roll in my stories. I pull small and large traits, reactions, motivations and reactions from everyone around me. Sometimes I don’t even realize it until someone else points it out. “Wow. That sounds just like something Bob would say!”
Bob probably DID say it at one point and I just stored it away in the back of my head.
The same goes for clothing I notice or for the interior of a restaurant. I subconsciously use architecture I’ve seen or different geographic areas I’ve visited.
In general, the world is in my toolbox. One REALLY BIG toolbox. Everything that happens around me is in my toolbox. I just have to make sure that I’m aware enough and observant enough to use those unlimited tools to the fullest.
Leslie Liautaud is the author of Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), SALIGIA (2011), The Mansion (2012) and Summer Nights and Dreams (2012). She is also the author of the coming-of-age novel, Black Bear Lake (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014).
Leslie is originally from Kansas City, MO where she worked in the performing arts. Currently, she divides her time between between Key Largo, FL and Champaign, IL with her husband, three teenage children and three rambunctious dogs.