My Must-Have Writing Tools
It's been a bit of a busy week around here and I'm working on White Rose for Camp NaNoWriMo. So, it's a bit of a shorter post this week.
Here are some of my favorite things that help me survive Camp NaNoWriMo. (Some may have affliated links, but they aren't sponsored and no one is telling me to promote these things. I genuinely love all of these things!)
Also - I have a special announcement about a writing resource at the end of this blog post!
This is the number one program I write with and I tell all of my writing friends they should use it too. It's a program designed specifically with writers in mind. I can organize my novel by chapter, have all of my character and location notes, links to my research, brainstorms, outline, all in one place. It even helps you to compile and save it according to industry standards for when I'm ready to query agents. There's also a screenwriting setting for people who are writing scripts.
What I really love is that they now have an app for IOS. Using the app and Dropbox, I can sync all of my work to my phone and my iPad. Writing on my mobile devices isn't the most ideal for intense writing sessions. But, it's so handy to have my novel with me wherever I go in case I need to reference something or want to write down an idea or work on something when I can't get to my computer.
Speaking of writing on mobile devices, I recently purchased a new keyboard for my iPad. Last year I switched to a desktop because I had Scrivener on my iPad. I love my desktop, but sometimes I missed my laptop in case I wanted a change of scenery. I did some research and I love my new keyboard. It connects to my iPad via Bluetooth and it hinges in a way that makes my iPad feels like a laptop, but I can still rotate it around so I can hold it like a tablet when I want to read ebooks.
The keyboard is a little small so it takes a bit of getting used to. But now that I am, it's great. I can take it with me anywhere and write where I want, but is smaller than a whole laptop.
You can get some super cheap ones for like $18 at Walmart, or you can get really expensive ones that are over $100. I went in the middle and got it on Amazon here.
The Emotion Thesarus
This book is something I’d seen floating around the Internet a bit, and you can download it cheap for Kindle. (Also available as a physical book.) Sometimes, especially when you’re on a deadline or trying to hit a word count goal, your mind freezes. The simplest thing can stumble you up and your brain turns off. In comes the Emotion Thesaraus.
You look up different emotions, and each one has lists of definitions, what that emotion looks like physically, mental process, psychological impact, tips, and suggestions of other emotions to look up which are similar. It’s so helpful when you're stuck and need to get your brain going when you can’t picture how a character might sound or behave for certain emotions.
There’s a ton of other ones as well such a urban settings, rural settings, emotional amplifiers, emotional trauma, etc. But this is the one I have, and it definitely makes me consider buying the others because it is incredibly helpful when I'm stuck.
A Great Writing Space
This is something I've been working on curating for myself for a year or so now. I picked out a desk and an organization system I like. Then, just today I added new artwork to my wall my desk is leaning against, and it really completes the set-up. It's cute, motivational, and relaxed. I love having some artwork around so I have something to look at other than a blank wall when I'm trying to think of the perfect thing to write.
Granted, this is a bit privileged of me, and not everyone has the resources to create their most perfect writing space. But, if you have the means to even at least give yourself a taste of what that would be like, it helps so much.
A Familiar TV Show
This one sounds super weird, but for some reason, for me it works. I don't like to work in silence and need some sort of background noise as I get things done. Sometimes, I just pick a TV show I've seen a million times and let it play in the background while I work. Usually, something in a completely different genre than what I'm writing. Currently, I'm rewatching That 70s Show.
Some of my other go-to shows are: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City, Glee.
I know this is something that's not for everyone because it's easy to get distracted or to be too influenced by what's playing. That's why I say to pick a show you're very familiar with because it's a lot easier to not pay attention and if you happen to not listen to parts of the episode, it's not a big deal because you already know what happens.
I'm super late to the party, but I finally got a Spotify account and I have no idea how I lived without it. Because even I get distracted by TV and would rather have music in the background. Sometimes it's a playlist I created to help set the mood, or it's one I found exploring the app.
My use of Pinterest for my writing is two-fold. One, I love having secret boards for myself and my writing group to share so I can show them ideas, research, and brainstorm my projects. In a recent update, Pinterest added "sections" to boards so you can organize your boards better. It's a total game changer and I'm slightly obsessed. Two, you can find A TON of writing resources on Pinterest from tutorials, articles, tips, quotes, brainstorming, and other writing advice. It's like being able to take writing classes but picking and choosing what topic you want to learn about.
There just isn't anything like being able to hand-write ideas. When I need to brainstorm and outline, I work better when I can hand-write it. I have a "catch-all" journal I carry with me almost everywhere so I can get ideas down for my novel. I use it for other things like budget, blog ideas, and shopping lists too.
I bought a simple lined leather journal from Target, but when this one is filled I'd like to try one with the dots so I can more easily draw out maps and sketches for my world-building. A lot of people like Moleskin journals, but honestly anything is fine. Even just a spiral notebook.
I use Google Docs mostly after my drafting phase because this is how I share my work with my writing group and beta readers. I'm obsessed with Google Docs for this! You can all see each other's edits and comments and have an ongoing conversation right there in the doc, and I can access it anywhere. Honestly, between Scrivener and Google Docs, I personally don't see much of a need for any other word processor.
Oh... you want to know that special announcement? Did you just skip all the way down here for that alone?
Fine. I won't judge you. We all have busy lives.
I'm now offering for my email subscribers a free tutorial on Creating Characters! In my humble opinion, and from talking with my writing group, one of my greatest strengths in writing is characters. People that readers can connect to. As a thank you for everyone who subscribes via email, you get a free intro into how I do it! It includes the three questions you need to answer about your main characters, building a supporting cast, a worksheet, and other tips.
Subscribe below to get your freebie!
What do you all rely on for when you're writing? What are your favorite resources?
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