You can get by, typing out your articles on Uncle Max’s ancient Underwood or stealing time on Junior’s computer, but isn’t it worth it to invest in a little equipment to make it easier to bring home the bacon?
A decent computer is a given, and these days it’s not all that expensive. I’ve got a couple of other bits and pieces I’d recommend, though.
- High speed internet access: It may not be an absolute must for everyone, but I don’t think I’d be able to work without it, considering I do all my research online, including some interviews (Skype rocks!).
- A good digital camera: I’m biased towards my big shiny SLR, but that’s just my inner photography nerd talking. However, it’s worth having something that will take decent quality pictures because most editors will pay more for a story with accompanying photos.
- A fax machine: Considering all the issues editors seem to have with emailing contracts, easy access to a fax machine is a very good thing! You can share one, or do all your faxing one day a week, or whatever arrangement works best for you, but make sure it’s an easy set up.
Those are my main three recommendations, although there are lots of other things worth looking at, depending on your writing style. Digital recorders are mighty fancy, after all, just like second phone lines. And maybe that pretty laptop you saw is worth investing in, if you plan to work at the coffee shop.
What else do you consider vital?