Writers are supposed to be nutty, right? We listen in on other people’s conversations, not because we crave gossip, but because we might discover a new turn of phrase or a tasty bit of dialog.  The mood swings are horrendous.  A bit of praise from an agent can make us the picture of bliss.  A rejection on a bad day can make us question our existence.   And if you’re in the query process, we’re never more than ten paces away from our e-mail.  God bless the people who live with us.

One nutty quirk about me is that I have to carry a bag with me everywhere.  I don’t mean a purse.  I mean a bag.  It started out as a little thing; then it became a backpack.  Now, it’s practically luggage.  The reason?  My writing problem (when it starts to pay, I’ll stop calling it a problem).

Aside from the normal stuff people carry–a wallet, the cell phone, a brush–I have a whole writing arsenal in my bag.  You know, just in case I need it.  First of all there’s the book I’m reading.  Sometimes it’s the book for this blog and sometimes it’s just the series that I can’t stop reading (Darn you, Suzanne Collins!)  I really, really try to make it a paperback or a light hardcover.  My back still hasn’t recovered from the last four Harry Potter books.

And then, there’s the notebooks.  Multiple notebooks.  Well, at least two.  Spiral bound, college ruled, and hopefully with pockets.  This is the sad, obsessive-compulsive part of my writing.  As I’ve already said, I like to write my work-in-progress by hand.   So one of those notebooks is my newest manuscript.  The other is for doodles, writing exercises, ideas, random characters, and blog ideas.  Because, God forbid I write anything but my work-in-progress in my work-in-progress notebook.  Sheesh.  Sometimes I have two projects going on at the same time.  Or I can’t make up my mind which long project I want to finish.  Yup…they all go in the bag.

And then there are the pens.  I don’t even want to venture a guess how many of the suckers are swimming around at the bottom of my bag.  What I can guess at is how many I can locate quickly and easily.  Five.  I only have two hands and I only write with one of them but for some reason I need five pens at the ready.  Trust me when I say I know how goofy I am.

And that doesn’t include the extra weight I lug around when I carry my little mini-computer (my HP mini, who I have named Emily).  It’s not a lot of weight, but it all adds up.  But I’m not counting her right now.  She only comes with me when I’m editing and right now, thank goodness, I’m not editing.

So what about you?  Do you carry around anything just in case you get the urge to write?  Do you sneak a few pages of writing at work?  Or, like me, make a spectacle of yourself by writing on public transportation?

The photo of the bag that is definitely not mine was taken by Felicity Shoulders and I found it on Flickr.