One section has ten best-selling writers, each given a question with their top 10 answers. I'm going to answer some of those myself, only keep the answers to five instead of ten. (I'm no Jodi Piccoult.)
Top 5 Essentials to a Writer's Life
1) The Right Tools
This definitely includes a computer, because you simply cannot function in the modern publishing industry without one. That is, unless you're Ray Bradbury (who still insists on using a typewriter). But he's Ray Bradbury.
Some writers prefer drafting in longhand, so their tools include a notebook and pen or pencil. I can't do that, in large part because my handwriting is atrocious. One of my best tools ever is my Alphasmart Neo. I've done more drafting on that puppy than almost anywhere else, and it's made drafting possible in places a laptop or other device wouldn't be convenient.
I'd include books under this category. A writer must read. A writer must research. Books are the lifeblood of a good writer.
2) Brainless Time
This is time when my brain can wander around and be creative, thinking ahead to maybe what scene will come next, how to solve this plot problem, what this character is really like. If I use my brainless time wisely, I'll be ready to crank out 1,000 words next time I'm at the keyboard.
Brainless time is critical for anyone who isn't a full-time writer. (In other words, those of us not lucky enough to have big blocks of time to write. Or, most of us.)
3) A Solid Internet Connection
This can be both a blessing and a curse: if I'm not careful, I can "just" check e-mail or "just" read one blog, and next thing I know, two hours are shot, with nothing written. That said, e-mail is how I communicate with my editor, how I submit articles, how I communicate with my readers, how I, oh, blog. It's how I stay up-to-date on the industry and trends. It's a must.
These can be small, for daily goals (I get a piece of chocolate if I finish this scene/chapter/reach my word count) or big (I get a massage when I finish drafting this book). Or somewhere in between. Really, it's scary how well bribery works on your inner writer. It's such a baby.
5) Writer Friends
If I didn't have friends who are as weird and loopy as I am, friends who get me and the way I think, who have been there and understand both the highs and lows of writing and publishing, I'd completely lose my mind. The act of writing is solitary; I desperately need links to writer friends to breathe life back in to me.
What are your essentials?