4 Things Every Writer Needs

Every writer has his or her own needs. It could be a quiet place to write or music to inspire the words. It could be a pen and paper or a computer, or even a tape recorder. It could be a jar of M & M’s or a jug of iced tea. Without them, our writing environment is not complete.  But those are all personal preferences.

The things every writer really needs are:

1. An Open Mind — Writers need to see, hear, listen to, and experience the world. Story ideas are everywhere. They’re in that dirty sneaker sitting upside down in a mud pile by the side of the road. They’re in that old lady rummaging through her bags outside the drugstore. They’re in that fire alarm shrieking through the midnight air. If writers open their minds to all story possibilities, the ideas are endless.

2. Time — So many people say they want to write. But saying so and doing so are two different beasts. If you want to write, you must set aside time to do so. It doesn’t have to be an entire day or a chunk of hours. If  all you can find are snippets of writing time, take advantage of them. A sentence here, a sentence there — it eventually adds up to a paragraph, a page, and ultimately a book.

3. A Good Editor — No matter how great we think we write, there will always be mistakes and things that need improving. A good writer believes in the power of a good editor, someone who can help shape a manuscript so it can be the best it is capable of being. A good editor doesn’t impose his or her own will on a work but instead provides ways to improve the plot, characterization, pacing, etc., all while staying true to the author’s intent. I can’t speak highly enough of those who have edited my work and helped shape those books/short stories/articles into their final stages.

4. Belief in Yourself and Your Work — Without the belief that you can write what you set out to write, that you are good enough, that you can meet the demands and challenges, you will never succeed. You must have faith that you can do it, even during those times when it seems like your goals are out of reach. Know that we all face the same challenges and we all want to succeed. So, give yourself a break and reach for that brass ring. It’s not as far away as you think, if only you believe…


  1. Excellent list, Janice. I’d add: decent sleep, at least most nights, and buddies/family member(s) who will encourage us.

  2. Nice article! I’ve been touting Editors for years! A good writer understands the need and great advice & help of a good editor!

  3. Great post. I, too, am grateful to my editors. Sometimes the difference between the right and almost right word can assure publication or ruin a manuscript. No writer can see their own mistakes.

    Barbara of the balloons

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