SusanBeth's "Writer Hipster"

SusanBeth posted this kit image in response to many requests and much interest. See the forum post A Writer's "Hipster". - DJ

The only purchase I've ever made for this kit was index cards, and at about $3.00 for 500 that is pretty cheap. Everything else was scrounged together from normal household/office supplies and leftover bits from other projects. And, yes, I feel silly posting a picture of such a minimalist kit. Nevertheless....

Top Panel -- The 'components'

Starting in the top left, we find the cover: a piece of strawboard cut down from a legal pad backing and covered with contact paper. The reverse side has my name and contact information and is covered with clear contact paper for waterproofing. The cover is 3.25" X 5", the extra width allowing notches in the long sides to help keep the binding in place.

Below that is the main contents: about twenty blank index cards. On top of those rests the Binding: a covered-elastic pony-tail holder.

In the center are the 'Stripers', index cards with stripes colored down the sides. Red for the current day's To Do list. Green for recording financial info such as debit card usage, cash borrowed or loaned, and checks written. Blue cards are lists of non-urgent things to buy, sorted by stores (drug, book, hardware, miscellaneous.) The stripes on these particular cards were made with highlighters. Sharpies make brighter stripes, but the highlighters were handy and also work fine.

On the right are two 'Pockets' with their usual contents. Each pocket is simply two index cards taped together along three edges, with one edge of the open end cut down a bit to make it easier to slip things inside. The blue pocket holds a few postage stamps and some return address labels. The green pocket holds a $20 bill and a blank check or two.

Bottom left panel: The assembled Writer's Hipster, ready to be slipped into pocket or tote.

Bottom right panel: The other side of the Hipster with the cards splayed to show how easy it is to spot the pockets and stripers -- even ones with the relatively pale highlighter stripes -- no matter how mixed up my card stack gets.

Method: I leave the elastic in place while writing on the index cards to help keep cards from being dropped or blown away. After filling up a card, I slip it free of the elastic then reinsert it between the Pockets.

If you're curious: By taking advantage of otherwise lost time (work breaks, lunch, waiting for something else to happen) I manage to fill about ten cards on a good day, up to 20 on great days. Since I average close to 150 words per index card (written on both sides) this means when I sit down at my home computer for my 'official' writing session I already have 1500 to 3000 words that simply need to be typed in instead of sweated out. Can't beat that. :D

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Using a calander

How do you plan for future evernts - say a week or a month away?

My hipster is simply what I

My hipster is simply what I carry around on me. I use a standard planner that resides on my desk at the office for work stuff, a wall calendar in the kitchen for family type activites, and a tickler file I check daily.

When I learn about a future event while out and about I write it down on one of the index cards. The info gets transferred to the appropriate calendar/planner/tickler the next time I'm near them. Yes, this means sometimes I make a time commitment that conflicts with something else, and so have to go to the trouble of rescheduling something -- but on the whole, this is rare enough that it is far outweighed (for me) by not having to lug around a lot of extra weight on a daily basis.

writer hipster

I just read recently about Joan Didion's husband carrying cards around and wondered how the hell he did it. Thanks for that. Good point about getting ten cards done in spare time, too. I have a lot of trouble remembering to put in a notebook, or to organise it properly - but if I have cards in a bag all the time, and a file at home,I'd be set. ( I hope...)

Great, great, great ideas.

Great, great, great ideas.