Setting up a Portable Office

Writing a book is one the hardest things anyone can do in life.  If you’ve decided to be a writer, you know that you’re up to the challenge.  By now, if you’ve completed a book, you realize it’s not the mysterious hooby dooby that some people will have you believe.  No gimmicks.  No magic.  Just work.  If you’ve completed several books, you’ve probably learned something about your process—your way of doing things associated with writing your book.

The most important thing I learned about my process is that my office needs to be portable.  I spend so much time on the road that nothing would get done if I waited to write when I was in the office.  My first attempt at creating a portable office had its issues, but I quickly found a model that works for me; it includes:

a.    A Planning notebook (research, characterization, writing schedule, etc.) in an 8 ½ x 5 ½ binder with 3” rings.

b.    Research books (and leisure reading) are downloaded on my Kindle and Sony E-reader.  The Nook color handles the magazines.

c.    An iPod provides my music—not only my playlists but the other thousands of songs I’ve downloaded—like Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger or David Garrett’s Carmen Suite.  Love it!

d.    My cell phone is my instant everything– internet, TV, movie theater, camera, camcorder and a whole lot of other stuff I’ve yet to play with!

e.    My digital voice recorder for brainstorming ideas and other things—and plugs directly into my laptop for downloading the material.

f.     I found the cutest office kit at Barnes & Noble that’s packed in an opaque blue plastic zipper bag that has three holes punched out and fits perfectly in my binder.  It contains:

i.    stapler

ii.    scissors

iii.    tape dispenser

iv.    staples

v.    little suction thingies that allows me to stick papers, etc. on dry erase boards, laptop border, etc.

vi.    cute and great writing pen and pencil set by Faber Castell

vii.    fold-up ruler

viii.    plastic clothes pins

ix.    push pens

x.    paper clips

xi.    calculator

And, all the items are mini sized and in blue to match the zipper pouch.

g.    Bluetooth Headset ( to keep me hands free to type)

h.    Portable Scanner (long trips)

i.      Portable Printer (long trips)

j.      Business Card Case (for my cards and the cards of people I meet)

k.    And, of course, my laptop on which to do the actually writing of my book.

Many of my friends tell me I’m doing myself an injustice by not getting an iPad, but I’m still researching tablets.  I’ve narrowed the choices down to the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab.  If you have any comments, pro or con, about your iPod and/or Galaxy Tab experience, please weigh in—I’d love to hear them.

As with all things, my portable office is ever changing as new office products debut.  For instance, thanks to new software, I’m actually closer to making my planning notebook totally paperless which would be awesome.  Until then, I’m cool with what I have because I know an airline can’t lose my portable office because it’s one of my two carry-ons:  my tote and my garment bag—which has my 12 piece wardrobe that mixes and matches for 72 outfits—but that’s another article, for another time!

Copyright © 2011 Cheryl Ferguson.  All rights reserved.