What do writers need to write?

Missy is still studying writers and writing. She even read a (rather outdated) story in her reader about two picture book authors and their creative process.

Once again she brought home a worksheet, one that probably wasn't written by an actual writer.

The question: What do writers need to write?

The first thing that comes to mind was candy, given I'm drafting book 3 right now, I've been motivating myself with food. Candy, coffee, wine, and any other food or drink we writers depend on wasn't the answer the worksheet wanted.

The obvious--a pen and paper or a computer--weren't the right answers either.

The answer? IDEAS. Authors need ideas to write.

Um, we do? We don't always have ideas when we start writing. We don't always have the luxury of waiting for an idea to appear and we need to start writing anyway to make that deadline and hope it appears.

Often I don't have an actual idea per say, it usually more of a glimmer or a vignette and I start furiously typing  hoping it'll unfold like a flower in bloom as the story progresses. I am such a pantser I have been known to write most of a story simply so I'll know enough about it to write a synopsis to hand in with my proposal chapters.

But that's just me. Every author and their process is different, which I can't expect to be represented in a worksheet meant for third graders.

Still, I found "idea" to be a funny answer.

What do you need to write?


Andrew said...


I have to have at least some sort of idea to start, but this can be as simple as the MC's name. Then things start filling in from there.

I'm a pantser too, so I'll have a very basic idea of where I want to go, but the outline takes shape as I write.

I'm guessing we're very similar in that regard.

Britney Gulbrandsen said...

I actually wrote a post on the 10 things I think every writer needs.

A few of the most important?

1. Goals
2. Chocolate (or chips if you're a salty person)
3. Perseverance
4. Inspiration