A to Z Challenge 2013 – B is for…


If I wait until the end of the month to talk about my Writing Toolkit or Survival Essentials, well, the writing trek would pretty much be over. So in the spirit of the great outdoors, today I’ll share with you some contents in my Writing “Bug-out Bag.”


1) MacBook Pro 13″. I’d prefer a Macbook Air 11” for true portability. Feel free to donate to the cause. 😉

2) iPad and iPhone. Quick on-the-run type of notes or a bit longer with the iPad and a bluetooth keyboard.

3) Storage. Back that *beep* up! Dropbox or any cloud-type storage. Folders on your laptop, computer, wherever. SD Cards. I have a case that holds up to 10 cards. It’s slim and I can use the cards for the laptop and my cameras. Thumb drives, external hard drives. You get the idea. Copy your WIPs to various folders in different locations and devices so your back ups have back ups of the back ups. You feel me?! Trust me, people, many a tear has been shed, many a hair has been pulled. Don’t let this happen to you. You’ll be left a saline-deprived, dehydrated, tear duct shriveling bald-spotted hot mess.

4) Software. Among the many I must highlight two that have served me well: a) Scrivener. I wrote my last three projects on it: two novels and a short story. Love the index card feature and the ability to move scenes around; and b ) Dragon Dictate. Back and wrist injuries make prolonged sitting painful. This way I can continue with the story while standing, lying down, exercising. (Don’t let your muscles atrophy, people. Writing might turn us to stone! haha)

5) Reference. Anything to do with craft and research in the form of physical books, ebooks, mp3s, podcasts, vlogs, and the like.

6) Music. I like classical music or OSTs from film and television. The track varies, depending on the scene I’m working on. I also have a playlist that serves a purpose similar to those used for running, driving, or an 80’s movie training montage. You know, anything to get you into the writing ‘zone’.

7) Believe it or not, mirrored closet doors. My apartment came with them. I figure, instant dry erase surface for mind mapping, checklists, etc.

8) Low-tech: Paper and writing implements. You do not have an excuse. Get those words out. When the tech dies–EGADS–you can and must keep going. Has JJ Abrams taught us nothing?

9) Sustenance. Is it sad that I put food so low on the list?

10) Sleep. Yes, I know that sleep and floor-to-ceiling mirrors don’t fit inside a Bug-out Bag. But in this case, the bag is a metaphor, much like the camp, itself. I’m not trying to be deep–too soon for that–but I should probably break it to ya. Camp NaNo is neither a camp nor a nano. Discuss.

This list is by no means exhaustive. What are your must-haves to get through writing challenges?


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


10 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge 2013 – B is for…

  1. Well. My mind does a few loops on those mirrored wardrobe doors – most newer Aussie houses have these too. My bedroom doesn’t, but my daughter’s has a whole wall of them. Maybe we should swap..

    Your kit is pretty similar to my own, aside from the Mac – I’m on Windows. Would love an Air, also, just for the inner geek satisfaction.

  2. Love your Bug Out Bag. Scrivener is a terrific tool, tho mostly I use it after the 1st incredibly rough draft stage — it helps me so much in moving around scenes and not losing track of where everything is.
    The mirrored doors? inventive! But I’d be too distracted by my reflection (“omg is that a zit? aren’t I too old for zits? look at those lines in my forehead arrrgh!” )

    • LOL You get used to the frazzled reflection that gives you the look of, “Yeah. You wrote that. So what? What’s next?” Just be careful if you stop mindmapping/brainstorming and answer back. You might end up spending the better part of an afternoon talking to yourself in the mirror. True story.

    • Well you’re in luck! Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the Windows-based version and is ready for all your dictating needs.

      But wait, there’s more!

      Want to dictate on the go? Dragon also has dictation apps for iOS and Blackberry. You can dictate at varying lengths and email yourself the text.

      Have a BMW? Dragon Drive has many feat–

      Okay, a disclaimer. I am in no way affiliated with the people behind Dragon. I smiled at your comment and suddenly pictured a black and white version of you with complete with infomercial narrator rhetoric.

      In truth, there are tons of dictation software and apps. You might want to check apps for your particular phone, but the tech is there and a lot of apps are free. It’s an amazing resource when you can brainstorm and multitask–or just rest the digits for a bit.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog. I’m off now to vote for which story you should expand. 🙂



  3. My ‘bag of tricks’ includes my handy (sometimes trusty) Dana Writer. When that fails, my journal and favorite pen. The playlist with the fitting music for the project, a secret stash of Frangos chocolates for when I hit the benchmarks and plenty of plain paper for doodling/plotting. As for the mirror-as-memory-board: the best thing ever!

    • I’ve read good things about the Dana Writer. That might come in handy to curb my constant need to edit while I go. I’m getting better at resisting, but it’s a pickle. Plus, I like the portability of it and how I can focus on writing without popping on the internet. But then, how will I blog with all you lovely people?

  4. I love your “Bug Out Bag”. I think we all have our own little things we need. For me it is college rulled binder paper and my PhD .7mm mechanical pencil. Those are two of my must have’s. I have my laptop and then my netbook if I need something smaller. Both of which are equiped with Scrivener. My printer, printer paper and lots of extra ink as the way I edit is I print of my chapter and then start marking up my work with my PhD mechanical pencil. I enter my changes into Scrivener, reprint and reread through. My hot pin binder and Avery tabs to keep things organized. These are my must have’s.

    Kristena Tunstall
    Dedication Website to daughter in heaven:

  5. Can I just say that I love office supplies? Even growing up, I preferred shopping for this stuff than going to the toy store or candy store. My problem is that I don’t like marking up my notebook because it’s so pretty. Or I don’t want to mess up my pencil crayons after I’ve organized them by color. Yep… I’ve got issues. 😉

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