Friday, April 22, 2022

Three Must-Have Tools for Writers

By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

When I took a Computer Basics class, I learned a computer has two parts: software and hardware. Software is the brain. Hardware is the body. Writers also have two parts. Our software (brain) consists of intangibles like creativity, inspiration, and passion. Our hardware is tangible, everything from fingers to tap out our manuscripts, to the computer that translates our thoughts into words.

Today I’d like to share three pieces of hardware—writing tools—I can’t live without.

1. Paper Mate Ink Joy gel 0.5 pens in any color but RED
Why so specific? Because I don’t want you to get the wrong pen. My friend Jeannie Waters gave me my first Ink Joy. She knows I’m an editor as well as a writer, so she chose a delightful, non-threatening green ink color instead of the dreaded red. She didn’t want the pages I edited to look like a slasher movie. 

Jeannie’s a retired teacher who graded many assignments during her tenure. “This pen is my favorite,” she said. “It writes smoothly, doesn’t smear, and lasts forever.” Trust me. Use it once, and you’ll be hooked.

Then my friend Jean Wilund chimed in. “Be sure to get a fine point, 0.5. If you take notes in your Bible, you can write a lot with a fine point.” She was right. I have smart friends.

I loved my original green pen so much I purchased several sets in basic black. Then, glory halleluiah, I discovered a 24-count pack with every color imaginable (even red)—for less than a dollar a pen. Be still my heart. I’m in love.

2. Single Column Journaling Bible
A wise instructor once said, “If you’re a Christian, and you presume to write for God, you’d better not open your computer until you open your Bible.” I’ve taken her words to heart. 

During my morning quiet time, I take notes and interact with what I read. Many of my Bibles have thoughts written into the too-thin margins and snaking around the edges of the text. Some days, even I can’t read what I’ve written. Heaven help any descendant to mine who attempts to decipher my scribbles. 

One day a Facebook friend posted how excited she was to begin a new year of Bible reading in her new journaling Bible. My ears perked up. What’s a journaling Bible?

A journaling Bible is designed with an extra-wide, lined margin to allow space for notes, prayers, or personal reflections. Because the Bible text is formatted in a single column, it’s easy to align my notes (written with my super-spiffy Ink Joy 0.5 pens) with specific verses. As I write, I feel as if I’m having an interactive conversation with God. He speaks through His Word, and I write my responses. I love this Bible so much.

3. Adjustable Standing Desk
As my writing career grew, I found myself sitting for long hours at the computer. I began to experience neck and back issues, circulation problems, and overall stiffness. Fellow writers suggested I invest in a standing desk, to allow me to alternate between sitting and standing every hour or so. 

Because I carry my laptop from place to place, I chose a portable desk that would fit on my dining room table, my office desk, and the table on my screened porch. It’s 30-inches x 20-inches—big enough to hold my laptop, clip board, reference book, and a glass of Diet Coke. A gas-spring riser allows me to raise it anywhere from 2-inches to 16-inches. I find this especially helpful if I’m on a Zoom call and want the laptop camera at eye level. For less than $80, this desk was a bargain. Note: This particular model weighs twenty pounds, which could be a hindrance for someone with strength issues.

Invest in Good Tools
You may be tempted to skimp on writing tools, but don’t. As a chef needs a quality knife set, and a roofer can’t work efficiently without an pneumatic nail gun, writers need the proper equipment to succeed at their trade. Computer experts will tell you: it’s not enough to have the software. You need the hardware, too.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite writing tool? Share it in the comments below (and leave a link if you’d like.)


Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Lori’s latest devotional, Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise, released March 1 with Our Daily Bread Publishing. Connect with her at or on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Featured Image: Photo by pure julia on Unsplash


  1. What is it about pens? I just can't explain it to hubby but am grateful my writer friends get it. Geeking out to try the Ink Joy pens. And I had no idea about the journaling Bible so that's on my birthday radar as well. I have a standing desk and love it though mine isn't portable. Thanks for the tips, Lori!

    1. Yep, writers get it. Teachers, too. But not hubbies. Probably like us scratching our heads when they go on and on about a new screwdriver . . . . !

  2. I'm as bad as you about pens! I love the TOL (although I've now GOT to try this one you mention). It comes in nifty colors, too, including bronze! Anyway, it's time for a new Bible for me, and you have me hooked! What version does it come in?

    1. Oops, that's TUL. They have an accent mark above the U that makes it looks like an O. BTW, I jsut bought the Journaling Bible. Thank you for the tip!

    2. Oh no, don't get me started! Another amazing pen type? Of course I'll check it out! As for the Bible, I know it comes in ESV and NIV. Maybe NKJV, too!

  3. Great advice, Lori. I have #2 and #3. I've got to get those pens! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love them so much, Crystal. So much, in fact, that I'll bypass three or four "other" pens to search for my Ink Joys. What a snob!!

  5. Replies
    1. Diana, now you're just bragging . . . LOL! Enjoy!!

  6. Lori, I’m so glad you liked the pens! Thanks for the Bible tip. I’ll get one. The write tools are important.

  7. Thank you for the sage advice. I appreciate it!