Monica Wood: Get a Whiteboard

I was reading The Pocket Muse today — a terrific little book that is just full of inspiration for writers — and came across this piece of advice:

Strolling through Staples a few years ago, I happened upon a large whiteboard (also called a dry-erase board) and bought it on a whim. It’s the kind that requires those special markers that erase off. After I hung the thing on the wall, it became one of the most indispensable items in my studio.

In fact, I now have two, one large and one small. The small one – about two feet by two feet – is great for keeping idea lists, chapter titles, progress notes, lists of books, and reminders of all kinds. The large one – about three feet by four feet – has room for strategizing longer works. I’ve put up time lines, family trees, character statistics, and crude maps of imaginary neighborhoods, all of which can be easily erased and revised as the “facts” change.

Using a whiteboard is so much more convenient and soothing than flipping through file folders and random scraps of paper. I also love writing with those markers – it makes me feel so industrious, even if I’m just writing “Freida is thirty-six years old in part one.”

Get a whiteboard! It could change your life!  (Wood, 2002).

For academic writers, the whiteboard offers a way to play with and preserve developing thoughts about the flow of the paper, the structure of the literature review, descriptions of the data generation and collection processes, data analysis insights, and more.

Wood, M. (2002). The pocket muse: Ideas and inspirations for writingCincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books.