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Back to School Bargains

Tips for WritersMonday Tips for Writers was on a roll with a series about how to use a storyboard. Here’s a recap of the series:

The last two topics are on hold. My goal was to share my experience with process and open doors for discussion. However, I’m in the thick of completing my revisions and my map is in use, thus it seems premature to say how well the map did or didn’t work. I’d like to reflect on the process afterwards.

The annual progression of projects which was so clear to me six months ago has become murky waters. I’m still progressing as planned (turning out one project a year to work on) but now I have project confusion. What started out as a flash fiction has turned into project and I didn’t mean for that to happen. The problem is that it’s not in my declared genre of commercial fiction. Am I shooting myself in the foot (with a pearl-handled Colt pistol like Wild Bill Hickok carried)? Or does it not matter? Commercial lit? Cli-fi? Westerns? Oh, my!

So in my uncertainty, I’m taking you all shopping today.

Seriously, this is a great time of year to shop as a writer. As a marketer, I understand how retailers economize their sale seasons. It’s a formula based on volume. The greater the potential volume, the greater the offered sales. It’s the banana formula. Ask any produce manager what their top-selling product is and most likely it will be bananas. Thus produce departments will keep the price low on this product because it is a consistent seller.

Then there are seasons. Retailers are at the height of the back-to-school season. That means they are going to attract shoppers by offering sale prices on items typically purchased by students. Often these are items writers use. Here are a few examples of items handy for the writing life:

  • Notebooks. If you journal, research, outline or draft by hand, you can never own too many notebooks. Right now, you can get four to five simple notebooks for a buck.
  • Highlighters. Oh, how I love thee, with ink so glowing yellow! I read with a highlighter when I’m researching or studying a master’s work. Four-pen packets of Sharpies are two bucks right now. Be still my beating heart.
  • Pens & Pencils. Somehow I seem to think every room in my house must have a cache of pens and at least a few pencils. Red pens are for editing, blue pens are for original copies and why I have black I cannot say. So cheap right now a kid can buy a year’s supply.

If you have a home office, now might be the time to stock up on ink toner, folders and file boxes. If you are looking to make a big purchase, now is a good time to find a deep discount. Here’s some big purchase ideas:

  • Office Chair. That’s what I bought today at Staples in Sandpoint. My old chair sunk and no longer rises to the occasion so I’ve had some awkward writing, sitting like a little kid at a big desk. I’ve been shopping prices and today was day-two of a two day sale. I also found a coupon online that was also applied and I bought a $200 chair for $50. I’m sitting in it now and am quite happy with my purchase.
  • Desk Top Hard Drive. I back up everything–early drafts, recent drafts, photos and files to my hard drive. It’s much bigger than a jump drive and I keep it in a fireproof safety-box. For extra measure, I back up my novel projects to Drop Box, too. I like having the hard drive and its storage capacity. These were deeply discounted today.
  • Computer, Laptop, Printer. I’m not looking forward to the day that I need to replace my laptop, but I seriously need a desk top. Between now and the Christmas shopping season these big ticket items will continue to be discounted. Unless you have specific preferences, look for close-out deals or ask for showroom models. My laptop was a showroom model and it cost me half the normal price.

So there you have it–back to school is big savings for writers! Have you made a bargain buy for your writing?