A lot of writer’s use Tarot cards to jumpstart their imagination while brainstorming or even battle writer’s block. Hey, I’ll try anything. I found the most adorable, grrl inspired (with a little retro TV flair thrown in for fun). You can view a good bit of the deck here and purchase them here: Vanessa Tarot. They even come with a booklet to help you understand what each card means.

*08.15.2011–¬†I finally bought these cards. ¬†Here’s an update on my initial use for writing.

I know, it’s the newest “thing.” Maybe not the newest, but doesn’t everyone have one? I’ll admit, before I got mine, I’d see those commercials, with the people clipping them on and dancing like somehow this teeny musicmaker would inspire anyone to become so free of inhibitions, they’d just dance through the streets (and dance well!). And yet, I thought, “How often would I really use it? I don’t exercise, if I can help it. So what’s the point?

I use my ipod shuffle daily. And, honestly, the clip-on feature is probably my favorite part. It keeps it safe and out of the way, sure. But it also makes one feel a little like you want to tap your chest and say, “Picard to Enterprise.” It doesn’t need batteries, because the dock charges it and it plays a very long time before needing it.

But, you know what? Forget all of that. Because, if you’re like me, and you use music to connect to your story or set the mood for a scene or if you just use it to drown out the calls of, “Mom! Where’s the ketchup?” when you’re in the throes of a killer sex scene–then this? Your new best friend.

You load it up in Itunes, a free program you can get here if you’re one of the five people in the world who doesn’t already have it. Itunes will automatically update the software for you, which makes it ahead of any other mp3 player I know of. And, technically, if you’re writing, and sending out submisions, even if you’re getting all rejections, you can write it off on your taxes. Not a tax professional, I am not giving tax advice. Consult one before telling the IRS, “Lori says it’s okay!”

But, and yes, I’m finally to the main point, as I mentioned, it can pull you into your story. Finished a book and decide your ready to edit six months later (who does that, huh?), use your books “theme music” to pull you back into the story. Trying to write for an hour while everyone else is watching TV, create an audio barrier between you and the rest of the world. Need to just let the story jumble around inside your head, pop on your headphones and do something else: clean, exercise, stare at the ceiling. The feelings the music evokes will feed your muse. It’s like crack for your creativity. Except not at all illegal or deadly.

Buy one. NOW.

Dry-Erase Board,36 x 24

A white board lets you think out loud, without the crazy. You can brainstorm on it, like it’s your job (which it sort of is); you can study your structure because it gives you this surface big enough to lay out an entire act, scene by scene (or mine, at this size does–I drool for one of the really big ones); and, when you’re not using it, and if you have kids, it can keep them occupied while you try to squeeze in just a few more minutes to write. I promise, once you go white board, you’ll never go back.

Every Monday, I’ll post a link to a product (or service) I either already own or drool for daily. If you have recommendations, tack them on in the comments. I’d love to find new toys tools for myself!