Writer’s Bug-out Bag

This morning, I hauled a much-needed load of laundry to our regular laundromat, to find the custodian hard at work, mopping the floors, two people happily chatting in the seating area, and both change machines out of quarters. Well. Although a gentleman I do not personally know offered to take my single dollar bills “to the store” to exchange for quarters, I declined the offer, and, instead, took a few blocks’ stroll to the other laundromat.

Plusses of other laundromat: it is pink, it has an attendant, and more machines, so no waiting. Minuses of the other laundromat: it is a few blocks away, and there is always news or talk shows on the TV, but I have headphones, and an ability to tune out unwanted noises when I want to write. Laundry time makes for good writing time, but, while I am happy to haul Big Pink and my fifty-nine pen case basically across the street while simultaneously juggling a basket full of laundry, the same does not hold when I need to cross the street twice, then take a four block stroll, carrying those same items.

Recently, Real Life Romance Hero received a complimentary small, zippered bag, from an organization to which he belongs. Because he is a man of fine taste and high intelligence, he offered the bag to me first. It should be about the size of Big Pink. Did I want it? Um, yes. Smart man.

While Big Pink does indeed fit in this bag, the pen case would not, buuuut, what if I could bring my absolute essentials with me, have them live in one bag, and so all I would have to do when headed on a laundry excursion of any distance (or park, or coffee house, etc) was grab it and go? Intriguing. Combine that with the required weekly trip to Michael’s, and we have:



the essentials

The purple cover is for my Kindle (pop over three hundred books in my bag when I leave the house? Don’t mind if I do.) and the red cover is a 5×8 Piccadilly Essential. Moleskine, Leuchtrumm, or other books would also work, but I wanted to finish filling this one. The gold pen case (looked rose gold in the store, which is why I picked it over the pink one, but live and learn and always look in natural light) has an elastic that goes over the book, useful since the Piccadilly’s elastic went the way of the dodo some time back.





The paper is ivory (much, much better for my tired eyes than white) and lined, and the pen case is perfectly sized for six Stabilo fineliners, and one Frixion highlighter.

Because I prefer a visual break between brain dump sessions, or between subjects/scenes/insert own unit of demarcation here, I stuffed a small book of washi tape strips and stickers into the back pocket. The facing page has sticky notes, because a book is not truly mine until it has sticky notes sticking out of it. Slip pen case around book, toss in bag, good to go.




The endpapers are my own addition; the book comes with plain ivory, but I couldn’t let that stand. This does not by any means take the place of Big Pink, but, if I am going to be hauling laundry for multiple blocks, or, hopefully seldom, going to the ER, especially in the wee hours, or other spontaneous trips where I want to have writing materials at hand that not only serve the function of something to write on, and something to write with, but feel like me, I’m good with this setup.

Having particular tools at hand isn’t essential, but it doesn’t hurt, either. It’s rather satisfying. If the longhand would transcribe itself, that would be even more convenient, but I am not complaining. The red book is almost full, after several attempts at prior purposes – another format of a commonplace book, my first attempt at making my own planner (it did not go well) and notes for posts for another site. This means that I get to pick out a new book to take its place when I’ve filled the last page…or maybe a not-so-new book.

I like the idea of taking those notebooks that were started, then abandoned, either excising the old, written-on pages, covering them, or merely taping them together in one big block, and giving the book new life. Perhaps it’s all part of the creative process, trying, falling, getting up again. Finding what works. Finding what doesn’t. Right now, this does, so I’m making note.




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