Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Your writing space has taken shape. You’ve carved out a spot in your house/ apartment reserved only for writing, found the perfect desk and chair, chosen the best computer for your writing needs, and even replaced that grubby old desk lamp you used to have.

But your writing nook isn’t quite complete yet. You’ll need a few more things before you start writing your next bestseller.

Below you’ll find a list of common office equipment and supplies you might need.

Of course, you don’t have to check everything off this list before you actually start writing.

Choose the ones that are most important and focus on getting those first. (Hint: as long as you have a computer, printer, and some paper, you’re set) You can add the other ones as your career grows, or as the need arises.

 

OFFICE EQUIPMENT

1. COMPUTER

This is your most important writing tool. Writing longhand and on a typewriter is fine to start with, but if getting published nowadays requires the use of a computer.

If you don’t know which one to pick, check out my article on A Writer’s Computer.

Dell desktop computer repair1 Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Dell Desktop, Image from nearnormalcy.com

2. PRINTER

You’ll need this for printing out those drafts for revision, as well as manuscripts to submit.

There are several types of printers to choose from:

printers modified Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Writers like yourself would probably end up choosing between an injket/laserjet printer.

INKJET PRINTERS LASERJET PRINTERS
PROS *Cheaper units initially-Ink cartridges are cheaper*You can have both colored and black and white prints*Better when it comes to printing colored photos or documents- Generally smaller in size, so inkjets are perfect if you don’t have much space on your desk or in your office * In the long run, printing with toners is cheaper at 6 cents per page*Printing is fast-Better text print quality. Ink on the paper won’t run or smudge*If you print a lot of black and white documents all the time (such as manuscript drafts), laserjet printers will save you time and money
CONS * In the long run, inkjet cartridges are more expensive—running about 20 cents per page*Printing speed can be slow*Text print quality isn’t as good as  laserjet *Laserjets might be more expensive to purchase*Toners are pricier than ink cartridges, but last longer-Limited to only black & white Or colored prints (for colored laserjet printers)*Colored printing of photos isn’t as good as inkjet*Bigger than inkjet, so will take up more space

3. SCANNER

Scan pictures or articles from borrowed books/magazines for story idea inspiration, or as research materials for your book.

4. COPY MACHINE

Because sometimes you just need copies of things. icon smile Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

5. SHREDDER

For shredding copies of important documents, papers with personal information and old manuscript copies.

6. FAX

Your agent/publisher might want to send you documents or contracts via fax machine.

My Personal Experience:

I have an HP Officejet 8500 A Multi-Function printer at home. It prints, copies, scans and even faxes. Though it was pricier than the common inkjet printer (and bulkier), it still saves me time, money and office space in the long run.

61tZ+PIx39L. AA1500  modified1 Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

HP  Officejet 8500 A Multi-Function printer, image from Amazon.com

OFFICE SUPPLIES

A. COMPUTER/PRINTING SUPPLIES

1. Toner/ Ink cartridges

Best to keep a stock handy for your late night printing needs.

2. Blank CD’s/ DVD’s

Store digital copies of your research materials. Photos, documents, videos and music files for each book you’re writing can fit in one CD. You can keep these instead of actual hard copies, to reduce the clutter in your office.

3. Compressed air canisters for cleaning your keyboards/desk

Handy for keeping dust off your desk. Specially useful for cleaning your monitor, CPU and keyboard.compresed air Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Dust Off compressed air, image from codinghorror.com

 

B. PAPER SUPPLIES

1. Copy paper

Usually cheaper than laser papers, copy paper is good for printing out those first few drafts for editing.

hammermill copy paper Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Hammermill Copy paper, image from thethriftycouple.com

2. Laserjet printer paper

Laser papers are usually thicker and brighter than regular copy printer. Useful for printing submission copies of manuscripts to agents/editors–and better suited to your laserjet printers.

3. Legal pads/ notebooks

Writers should never be without some form of paper for note-taking or writing down ideas.

legal pad Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Pad papers, image from supplysideusa.com

4. Post it notes

Incredibly helpful for reminders, notes, random story ideas and even plotting.

post it notes Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Image from captainnotepad.com

5. Letterhead/ Stationery

I created my own personal letterhead using Microsoft Word, and printed it on linen paper–which is available in reams at any office supply store.  When I send off books for giveaways, I use my letterhead stationery to write a short note to the winner.

linen paper Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Linen paper, image from Staples.com

 

C. BINDING SUPPLIES

binding supplies Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

As a writer, you’re bound (pun intended icon smile Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies ) to have tons of papers. To keep them organized, you’ll need the following binding supplies:

1. Stapler & staples

2. Binding clips

3. Fasteners for filing folders

4. Puncher 

5. Glue sticks

6. Scotch tape

7. Paper Clips

8.  Comb Binding Machine & plastic binding spines **

**My Personal Experience:

Before I begin revising, I  read my manuscript from beginning to end and make notes. I like to bind the pages so they never get out of order.  In order to make my story better, I need to view it with a reader’s discerning eyes.  Having bound pages helps me replicate the experience of reading an actual book and allows me to settle into the mindset of a reader.

The Fellowes Comb Binding Machine was a great investment. I use it to bind every manuscript draft I finish.

binding machien Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Fellowes Comb Binding Machine

 

D. FILING SUPPLIES

1. Manila folders

Useful not only for filing your bills and statements, but also for filing those critique notes and research materials for your book.

critique folders modified Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

2. Hanging file folders with plastic tabs

To keep your file folders tidy inside your filing cabinet/drawer.

3. Labeling Machine

If you’re obsessive about being organized (like I am), you’ll find so many uses for a labeler.

Labelmaker modified Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

 

Brother PT Touch Label Maker, image from neatandsimple.com

4. Ring Binders

If you like to keep old manuscripts drafts around for future reference, or simply because you can’t seem to part with them, you can use ring binders to keep them organized on your shelves.

You can also use ring binders to organize all your research for each book you’re working on.

ring binders Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

3 Ring binders from sunpack.com

5. Index Dividers

Index dividers aid you in organizing files within your ring binders. You can buy them pre-made if you’re organizing by month, alphabet, or number. You can also buy blank ones and customize them to suit your needs.

If you write lots of short stories or picture books,  for example, you can use index dividers to file them either by month, genre, or topic in your ring binders.

 index dividers modified Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & SuppliesAvery Insertable Index Tabs, image from Amazon.com

E. MAILING SUPPLIES

Envelopes, labels and postage come in handy for bloggers who have book giveaways and authors who send out copies of their books to bloggers for reviewers.

1. Legal envelopes

Some agents still require snail mail for queries.

2. Padded envelopes

For sending those books/book giveaways.

3. Manila envelopes

These also come in handy not just for mailing, but for filing away story ideas.

4. Shipping labels

Shipping labels usually come in a standard 2 x 4 size. I use these not only for shipping, but also for labeling the cover of my file folders.

5. Mailing labels

Mailing labels are smaller versions of shipping labels (1 x 2 5/8 inches) and can be used not just for printing out addresses, but also for labeling your files.

I use these nifty things to label the tabs of my file folders.

 

F. ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPLIES

1. Desk calendar/Planners

You can always use google calendar or keepandshare.com to keep track of your writing schedule, but a desk calendar can be useful if you just want to check your schedule without having to switch on your computer.

2. White board/ Cork Board

For brainstorming story ideas, writing reminders and notes

Along with post it notes, you can also use these boards to plot your storylines, as shown in Rachel Vincent’s Plotting 101 guest post on Christy L. Parks’ blog.

whiteboard2 Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Whiteboard+Post it = Plotting heaven, image from christylparks.blogspot.com 

3. Rolodex or business card holders

For keeping track of your writing/business contacts.

 

FOR OFFICE ORGANIZATION

Here are some items to keep your office neat and organized:

*All images from thecontainerstore.com

 1. Magazine Racks/ Wall pockets 

I subscribe to three different writing magazines. I sort them into magazine racks like the one below. It’s certainly better than stacking them up in piles on the floor and tripping over them eventually.

BristolMagizineFiles l Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

2.  Storage boxes

The Container Store, Ikea, Target and other department stores sell storage boxes that come in all shapes and sizes. I use these to organize my pens, markers, and other desk accessories.

Sometimes I use them for gathering story ideas. When I find an interesting picture/article in a magazine or newspaper, I drop it into my storage box of story ideas.

ClsscStockholmOfficeStrgeBoxes l Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

3. Drawer organizers

Rummaging around in your drawers for a paperclip or a pen can be time-consuming at best, frustrating at worst. Drawer organizers like the one below can help save your time and sanity.

drawer organizer Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

4. Paper tray

I use a stackable paper tray like the one below to organize all the different kinds of papers I use for printing: copy paper, colored paper, photo paper, etc.

StackableDesktopPaperSorter l Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

5. Waste basket/ Recycling basket

I actually have two baskets in my home office: one for waste, and one for recyclables.  PandanWastebinSq100591G l1 Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

6. Cable organizers to keep those desktop wires in check

If you have a desktop in your writing space, you probably also have tons of snake-like cables slithering all over your desks.

Cable drops, cable clips or cable ties all help keep your cord problems down.

Cable Drops 001 2 l1 Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Cable drop

cable ties Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies

Cable ties

 

What other office equipment or supplies can you think to add to this list?

*******************************************************************************************************

Check out the previous posts in this Setting up Shop Series:

1. Part 1 –  A Writer’s Space

2. Part 2 – A Writer’s Desk

3. Part 3 – A Writer’s Chair

4. Part 4 – A Writer’s Computer

5. Part 5 – A Writer’s Office Lighting

 

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2 Responses to “Setting Up Shop Part 6: A Writer’s Office Equipment & Supplies”

  1. Pilar says:

    Guilt-free writing — use eco paper, tree-free paper made from banana fiber and other agricultural fibrous waste. Slightly more expensive than tree paper, but affordable by the box. I feel free to print as many drafts as I need to get it right, knowing I’m not contributing to deforestation.
    Ecopaper.com

  2. Rachel Vincent was the one who turned me onto dry erase boards and post it notes! I know can NOT plot without them! I’ve also been known to write out ideas on anything with a smooth surface including our bathroom and dressing mirrors! lol

    Great post!

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