Life is noisy enough; an abundance of options. This decision, that decision, overwhelm. Simplifying my approach, and my toolkit, has helped me progress.
I recently wrote about adopting a new technique to ensure I stick with my writing habit, trialling new working environments at variable times of day and night. Having the right equipment has been paramount; it is making my life easier.
My three essential tools enable me to get on with my work wherever I am, which I find invaluable. They are:
- A notebook (and a pen);
- A laptop; and
I use a Moleskine notebook, which is great for mapping out ideas, jotting down and elaborating on thoughts and, particularly, skeleton content for articles. Nothing beats writing by hand to concentrate my mind on a task and to quickly get clarity on the key points.
My laptop is a MacBook, which weighs next to nothing and, as I usually find with Apple products, is incredibly easy to use. It is excellent; a laptop I derive pleasure from working on. Honestly, the brand of our computers should by no means impede us from getting our work done. On saying that, though, having a laptop I trust and love to use makes my overall task that bit more enjoyable and my MacBook ticks this box. I even got it in gold ‘cos it’s gonna get me rich. Visual cues and all that.
Finally, I use Bose QuietComfort 35 noise-cancelling headphones. For working in public (and in life, generally), these are exceptional. They drown outside noise in a big way, making it far easier to focus. I use Spotify and, depending on my mood, I’ll either listen to my favourite music from the past few years – noisy, but stuff I recognise and which can fade into the background so as not to distract my attention – or classical playlists for when grime, rap and Bieber aren’t helping my thinking; for those ‘what do you mean?’ moments.
I like using these items and they are all portable enough to carry around with me most of the time; certainly on week days, when I am getting most of my writing done away from home.
On top of these, I use all sorts of methods to record ideas and for planning, including a productivity app called Remember The Milk (which is fantastic; I highly recommend giving it a go). The project management of The Writing Struggle, both in terms of its creation and its continued development, and of my other writing projects, are areas I will discuss in more detail in future articles. I have found it useful to develop a system and I encourage others to do the same, for getting unstuck from the rut of the task at hand.
Building a new habit is difficult enough. Appreciating my tools makes the process of writing less arduous which, ultimately, means I find the craft increasingly gratifying.
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