The thought of setting up an office for a writing ministry can be daunting, especially when you don't have a lot of disposable income or space. Where does a new writer begin? If possible, carve out a special niche dedicated just to writing. A cardboard box can double as a file cabinet until you purchase a file cabinet, and a card table can be a desk.
"But, I don't have an office," you may wail. That is often the case. However, it doesn't have to keep you from setting aside a space for yourself. An author's room doesn't require a lot of fancy furniture and electronic gear. Mine began with an official looking telephone. While that may sound silly, it was a starting point.
At first, a writer needs only a pad and pencil or pen. Many writers receive inspiration almost anywhere, so it can be helpful to keep a paper and a pen in every room, in the car and in your pocket or purse.
Check out your nearest office supply store and see what kinds of machines and office supplies are available.
For some reason, even before I had a computer, I wanted a fax machine. Thankfully, I didn't run out and buy one. Years passed before I ever needed one and, although I have one now, I rarely use it. What one craves is not necessarily what one needs. Making a list and prioritizing is also a good way to start. It may take years before you are able to get all you need, but it helps to see each item scratched off as you outfit your office.
A big-ticket item is a personal computer. While we can write with a pen or a typewriter, publishers prefer doing business via e-mail. A computer is truly a must these days. Excellent deals on both new and used desktop PCs and laptops may be found. An inkjet or laser printer is also essential and may be purchased at a very reasonable price at Office Depot®, Office Max®, CompUSA® or any local office supply store. Comparison-shopping with store catalogs and advertisements can make the process much easier because you can see at a glance the prices and styles.
Other basic needs for your office include
- Desk or card table
- Printer paper
- File folders to keep your work orderly (It's amazing how much paper one can generate!)
- Cardboard box for files or cardboard filing boxes
- Backup floppy disks or CDs
- #10 business envelopes and manila envelopes
- Typewriter (good to have on hand, but probably will be rarely used)
- Shredder (this is also quite inexpensive)
- Miscellaneous notebook binders
- Reference books (more on this in a later article)
An inexpensive fireproof safe will keep your backup disks safe in your own home. Storing backups in a safety-deposit box at a bank is possible but not practical. Any change made to a manuscript would require a trip to the bank to retrieve the diskette and another trip to return it; therefore, it would be a big hassle and a colossal waste of time.
Although the list may sound formidable, you can add to it at your own financial pace. You may be amazed what you can find. I found a computer desk in excellent condition that was left for free by our apartment dumpster. It was a blessing for a writer friend who didn't have one.
A session of jury duty provided me with enough income to buy a good typewriter.
God is very creative. When He calls you to write, He will also provide for your basic office needs.