We all have our office quirks. The things we can’t live without in the office. The things we must have in order to create. Here are 21 of the things I need in my office in order to create.

  1. The Chicago Style Manual, or an AP Style Manual. I personally prefer the AP manual for ease of finding things, but a lot of houses like the Chicago Style Manual. These are great for answering your punctuation, spelling, and other writing questions.
  2. A good dictionary. One that has the dates words came into use is good if you write historicals. I actually have three dictionaries in my office from different eras.
  3. A good thesaurus. Roget’s Super Thesaurus is a good one.
  4. A reverse dictionary, for when I know what I want to say, but can’t think of the word.
  5. Lots of scrap computer paper to print manuscript pages on. I can often see mistakes on the written page that I don’t see on the computer screen.
  6. Notebooks for taking to conference workshops. It’s great to have all those notes gathered in one place when I come home from a conference or writing class. I just pull out the notebook and leaf through to find what I want.
  7. A fancy eyeglass case, so I don’t lose my computer glasses under a pile of papers, and …
  8. An eyeglasses lens wiping cloth, because clean glasses make computer work a whole lot easier. Thanks to my niece, Jacque for these items.
  9. A baby name book for those times when I’m stuck and can’t come up with a character name.
  10. A selection of reference books that relate to my genre, or genres. In my office these range from books on Manners for Men (and Women) in Victorian times to paranormal phenomena to books on the American West and Indians to Celtic religions and myths to the Bible and Bible quotation books. I have very eclectic tastes in reading materials.
  11. Extra printer ink, because I hate when I run out of ink mid-printing. It always happens late at night when the local Staples is closed.
  12. A good office chair, because my bum can go numb if I sit too long.
  13. A space heater, because sitting in my office in the winter can get rather chilly.
  14. A headset on my phone so I can talk and type. This was invaluable when I was freelancing and did a lot of phone interviews. I could type the notes in the computer and wouldn’t have to transpose later. I learned how to type pretty fast doing that.
  15. A file cabinet, or two, or six, or eight. I’m a paper person.
  16. A selection of writing craft books. A few of my favorites are:

Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

  1. Lots of books shelves. I’m a bibliophile.
  2. Three ring binders to put my character sheets, plotting notes, and other notes related to my WIP.
  3. A computer desk with a slide out tray for writing on. I do a lot of hand notes and it’s much handier to just reach over than it would be to swivel around to the office desk to write notes.
  4. A CD player, because sometimes, but not often, I want music when I work.
  5. Chocolate. Need I say more?


What your can’t-live-without-it office item?