Tools for Writers

Tools for Writers

In the field of writing, there are so many tools out there for you to choose from. One could get lost in the sea of information, systems, and apps that are available to help those aspiring to write, edit, research and more.

As you journey on this path to becoming a great author, you will try all the things to get down a system for yourself. Writing programs, apps, the dreaded editing (unless you like edits, then contact me because I hate them with a passion) revising, and more. What you find is that some things that work for others, will not work for you.

Each of us has our own mind, our own way of seeing things and processing them. What will help me may or may not help you, but in the chance that it might help you or you find something you might want to try, I’ll list what I use below.

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase any of the products discussed in this post.

Writing

 

 

Writing

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Word processors used to write your drafts. Really they are the devices we use to create journeys, adventures, horrors, and more to intrigue, create emotional attachments, and provide an escape from the real world.

Scrivener

Like many others, I use Scrivener to write my novels. With a binder setup, it’s easy to keep things organized they way I like whether thats in chapters, scenes, parts or whatever.

I can also use their outline feature and notecards to keep everything organized and easy to find. If you’d like to check it out, you can go HERE to find out more.

4TheWords

This isn’t just another word processor, it’s a journey in itself. Trust me, if you want to go on your own journey as you write this is the site for you.

It has timed writing as you defeat monster, collect objects and join others in global quests where you write with others to defeat the same monsters. It’s great!!

Inspiration/ Creativity

Creativity

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

The places or things you do to create that spark of thought that will propel you into the next story, the next chapter, or next scene.

Pinterest

The number one place I go when I need inspiration on any aspect of my story, whether it’s characters, setting, or whatever. There is so much talent, images, and inspiration being posted to this site. It’s a wealth of creativity and great place to find inspiration.

Movies

Another place I go to find inspiration is movies. I love watching movies and will unconsciously choose some based on characters or abilities so my mind can see what others have thought of. You never know when that one thing you’ve been looking for will hit you like a ton of bricks, so keep a notebook handy. It’s a great way to get a visual aspect on story, characters, setting and more.

Games

Oh, this is one of my favorites. Our family loves co-op and strategy games so we have a lot of ‘European Games’. Our favorites are PowerGrid, Caylus, Cleopatra, and my personal favorite Shadows Over Camelot.

Games, like movies can provide inspiration for many aspects of your story if you tune into specific aspects. You can get ideas for character, setting, even story, but you can also get a feel for strategy, materials, and the path your pieces travel as well. It’s amazing how you can find creative inspiration from the games we play.

What are you favorite games and movies? What are the ones you come back to again and again?

Prompts

This may not give you as much for specific inspiration, but could give you the spark you’ve been looking for. There are many, many prompts out there for many different voices. You can check out my Pinterest Page for Prompts or just give it a search and see what comes up. These are fantastic for story, dialogue and more!

Brainstorming/Mind-mapping

Mind Mapping

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We all need a way to get our thoughts out and on paper (or within an app). Those creative ideas aren’t going to stay in our heads forever, right?

Notes

There is nothing more simple than having a spiral or notebook with just that, notes. You pour all your thoughts and ideas into that stack of bound paper (or looseleaf if that’s what you have) and work from there, returning when you need that one piece of vital information. Searching and scavenging for what you need because you didn’t organize them enough to know where the darn thing is.

Unless you are extremely organized and put into sections with tab, then I commend you. It crosses my mind, but I haven’t done it yet.

MindMeister

This is a free app (for 3 maps) that allows you to create visual maps, organizing them in any way you wish to suit your needs. You can do one for characters, another for setting, another for plot and so on. The possibilities are endless with this!

Features:

  • Collaborate anywhere
  • Simple Project Management
  • Choose your Mind map style
  • Share your mind map with others
  • Mind Map Presentation
  • Templates
  • Add Images, Video and more
  • History Mode
  • Import and Export

Scapple

I personally haven’t had much experience with this, but from what I see, it’s similar to MindMeister. It give you what you need to get your ideas out and connect them in a way that suites your needs and the needs of your book. The best thing for those of you that use Scrivener – you can connect your notes to Scrivener! Awesome!

 

Features:

  • Write notes anywhere
  • Connect notes using drag and drop
  • Completely freeform
  • Stack notes in columns of related ideas
  • Create background shapes to group notes
  • Customize the appearance of notes
  • Move and arrange notes easily
  • Full Screen Mode
  • Export or Print your ideas
  • Drag Notes into Scrivener!

Productivity/Focus

Focus

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Writers and authors are always trying to find more focus while working to get their next story complete. It’s the way it’s been for years, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you can find that focus to get the most out of your productivity, then you would be set, right?

I have a whole post on focus, which you can find Here! How to minimize distractions and regain focus to get things done.

For me, I’ve tried to use productivity apps and other things to stay with my deadlines, but I haven’t found the one for me. What works for me, and I cannot stress this enough, (obviously) is the creativity of 4thewords.com. If you haven’t tried this site, I dare you to try it. I’ll even give you my code for a free month to try it out: OSUBW81786

Another app I’ve heard of are Write or Die, but I can’t see myself using this because I would be devastated if my words started disappearing if I couldn’t meet my goal. It’s terrifying really, but if it works for you, by all means, use it!

More apps are:

There are so many more apps if you put in a search for productivity apps, I can’t tell you what to choose. You’ll have to try them and decided what works best for you.

Organization

These are also Productivity apps, but I’ve placed them here because they are also great tools to keep everything organized and together. A place where everything is there, in that one place for you to find quickly and easily.

Trello

Yep, you knew I was going to say that. Trello is a great tool to keep all your things organized and in one place. With board, cards, and the ability to attach anything to those cards, it’s an easy way to keep things separated that need separated and those that need grouping in their prospective areas.

It’s great for keeping track of multiple aspects of your writing. You could have one board for world building, one for characters, one for settings, images or you could use one board and use separate lists and cards to keep things in one place.

You choose how you want to organize it. That and you can also use it for personal, business, or daily routines or tasks.

Scrivener

As far as organizing your book and only your book, Scrivener is the place I go too. I love that I can keep my scenes, chapters, research and can add any documents and even websites as references right within the program. It’s fantastic!

Storage (Electronic/Harddrive/USB)

Want a way to keep your thoughts and ideas organized in a way that you can take it with you or keep it on your desktop? Try Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Docx/Drive for electronic storage. If you are the kind that likes backups for backups, you could keep files directly on your computer or on a USB drive.

Putting my drafts on a USB is something I’ve thought to do, but haven’t done yet. I’ve lost copies and versions that I know I’ve changed, but can’t find the draft I changed. Any one else have a problem like that?

Reference

References

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Every author/writer has their list of references in their toolbox. There are a few that I turn to that I always head to when I need information.

Searches

When I need information on a specific topic there are two places I head too and I bet you can guess where those places are. Yep, you guessed them, Pinterest and Google. These two places are a wealth of information. Yeah, you chance that what you’re finding isn’t true, but it came from the internet so it must be, right?

Just kidding! Even with all the lies out there, it’s the job of the writer to research multiple avenues and discover the truth. We are like journalist in that fashion.

Dictionary

There is always that one word your brain just can’t seem to remember the definition for and it happens more frequently than you might think or notice. That’s why having a dictionary handy, so you can look up that infernal word and find out if you’re using the darn thing right.

Thesaurus

Like the dictionary writers run into what I like to call their ‘favorite’ word. It’s that one word they use over and over again within their manuscript. You know which word that is and a thesaurus is a great tool to diversify your vocabulary so you’re not repeating or becoming redundant.

Editing/Revising/Proofreading

Editing

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

So, you’ve finished your manuscript and are now ready to move onto the next step, editing your work. I gotta tell ya, this is the part I absolutely hate, but it’s a necessary evil. Here are some tools you can use to make the process easier.

ProWritingAid

This program is great for finding errors in your writing. It will also help with style, errors, finding the right words, and punctuation. For a full list of features, click Here.  It’s been a great help to me (when I don’t lose my current copy of my project) and it could be what you’ve been looking for.

Beta Readers

These are people who will read your story for the soul purpose of giving you feedback on your writing. As much as you may hate to hear what others have to say about it, it’s necessary to take their suggestions into consideration. These are those who represent your readers, and you want your story to resonate with them. You definitely don’t have to take every suggestion, it is your story after all, but just consider it. Don’t ever take their words in a negative way. It’s hard to take criticism and trust me, that is something I need to work on myself.

Editor

Another ‘tool’ that will help is an editor and a good one. You want to do your research for this one. An editor is an invaluable part of your editing process. They catch what your beta readers didn’t and can give you advice on how to improve your manuscript.

Other Apps

Though I haven’t personally worked with any of these apps, they are worth mentioning because I’ve seen and heard others who recommend them highly to others. Take a look and see if any fit your and your writing style.

Publishing

Publishing

Image by MorningbirdPhoto from Pixabay

When you’ve gone through your manuscript, had other eyes on it, revised it and it’s the best it can be. Double check you have the right copy, trust me the last thing you want to do is publish the wrong draft of your story. Been there, done that, it’s not pretty. Here are some places to consider publishing or at least the two that I use.

Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing)

Well, I bet you were going to guess this one, but they are the biggest retail site out there and one of the easiest to publish your book too. They provide everything you need to get your book out to the world including formatting to ebook and paperback and helping with cover design. You can check them out Here.

Draft 2 Digital

With Draft2Digital, you are able to enter all your information once and publish to multiple stores, which now includes Amazon. They’ve also created an easy way to list your books and share them with the world on social media. If you haven’t taken a look, you can Here. You won’t be sorry!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many, many  tools for the writer/author to utilize and there are many more that I haven’t listed. Take what you like from here and use what fits you, leave what doesn’t.

From one aspiring author to you, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Keep at it, don’t stop, forge ahead and succeed!

 

Newly Implemented For 2019

With the start of the new year, and as many do, I’ve decided to implement some new items to my morning and my daily routine. These tools are helping me to keep my life and business organized. So far it’s working great. Maybe not as well when I travel, but it’s working great none-the-less. So, let’s talk about these new tools and daily routine that help me to get things done timely and efficiently. Who knows, they could help you too!

Tools

Everyone has tools they love and those they don’t. I’ve been using some for the last few years and tried others, with little success. This year, I decided to plan ahead and get things ready for working throughout the year. Here is what I’ve found so far. 

Asana

 

Implemented checklist

This is one that I began using a few years ago and I enjoyed using it. I like the checklist aspect of it and the way I could put my lists in categories, but it wasn’t personable. I would enjoy customizing them so I’m encouraged as I look at the lists, having images to look at for motivation. If you enjoy the benefits of multiple lists for organization, then this is the app for you. I may still use it for a running to do for our home, but I’ve decided to try something new this year, which leads me to my next tool… 

Trello

Implemented Schedule

I’ve heard a lot about Trello throughout last year and I did try it out, but actually hated it. I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to organize things or how to use it well enough at the time to fully enjoy this program. So, at the end of last year I went through tutorials and set up the program as I felt it would help with my life and my business. Using it these last few weeks has been fantastic. I know what I’m doing, what needs to be done and where I am with my projects to keep things going smoothly. That and I can add images, documents, or whatever else I feel I need to keep myself motivated and on track!

Planner

Implemented Planner

This is where I struggled the most. There are so many planners out there, it’s hard to find one that would fit me and what I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. If I took it with me, I wanted to have everything I needed with me and in one place. That, I couldn’t find, so I created one. This planner has all the information I feel I need whether I’m at home working or on the road. It’s taken me a year and a half to get it to where it is now and I’m happy with how it’s turned out. It has a section for business, books, personal, daily, blog, newsletters, and more. 

This been a fun project to complete and one that saves me from losing my mind while away from my home or at my desk when I need a piece of information, like brand (hex) colors, font names, character traits or a review of my plot. It’s always near me and I love it! 

Daily Routine

I’ve started a new daily routine that includes getting my mind in the right place for writing and getting things done in a reasonably easy fashion. Of course, I’m still working out the kinks, especially when I’m away from home. That seems to be when things get a bit out of hand, but I’m working on that. 

Creative Writing

Complete the Story Prompts

While out with my sister a few months ago, I purchased a book called “Complete the Story”, which contains a prompt on each page for you to finish. I’ve decided that I would complete one each day as part of my daily routine to get my creative flow moving and to get down new ideas for stories at the same time. What could be better than that? So far, I’ve stuck to that plan and have so many new ideas from these small prompts. Not to mention a book to keep then in. 😉

Posts

I’ve continued to post on social media daily and have a schedule of the categories I post from, but I would love to get down exactly what I would like to post as it relates to writing and inspiration. As of right now, things are going well and I’m really happy with my progress. I’ve also been posting regularly to my Patreon Page, which contains things you won’t find anywhere else! Head Here to check it out!!

Checklist

With Trello now working in my favor, I’ve got everything that I need to work through my business, books and products I plan to have go out this year. I’m ahead of schedule and that is a fantastic feeling. Even though I have a planner, I still have everything with me in Trello incase I don’t have my planner with me. It’s a win-win!

Checklist

Another thing I have that I didn’t before is a “Catch all” or a small notebook to catch all the things that come to mind that would otherwise distract me. I put them in that spiral and when I’m done with all the other things that need attention, that’s when I’ll look at that list to see what else needs to be taken care of. It’s written down and out of mind so I can concentrate on what needs to be done instead of worrying about things that aren’t as important. 

I can still get things done and have a list where I can find the things I wanted to remember for later, it’s great!

Exercise

Exercise

Another area I’m working to do better at. Being a writer, I don’t get up and move as much as I should. So, I’ve scheduled time to exercise and since I like boxing, that is what I’ve been getting into. I was lucky enough to get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas! (Yeah, I know. I’m a gamer.) Anyway, my husband was nice enough to order Fitness Boxing on the Nintendo Switch for me to get back into the rhythm of exercising and so far it’s going well and I’m enjoying it. Who knew you could exercise and play a game at the same time! Well, I did, but it’s fun and I love it!!

School

school

As most of you know, I homeschool my children and although they do some things on their own, there is still quite a bit they need direction in. Even though my day is filled with school and work, but I wouldn’t trade if for the world. So far I’ve been using Homeschool Teacher/Student for their school schedule and grading, but there are things about it that still bother me. I look every so often, but haven’t found anything else I’m willing to put money into to take the place of it. We’ll continue until I do find something better. 

School takes up a good portion of the day, and there are some days where it feels like it’s taking forever to get through one subject, but we are working through it and are doing well. Know of any apps that would help with schedules, grading, etc. I’d love to hear about them!! 

Other

ahead

Here is where I try to get ahead or work on my running list of things that I wrote down to work on. Then I spend time with my kids playing games, or watching movies. I always make some time to spend with my children at night doing something fun after dinner. It’s a way we can connect better and do something we all like to do. What do you do with our family? Do you make time to spend with then each night/day? 

Final Thoughts

There are areas where I still need to work out kinks, but things are looking good so far and I’m happy with my progress. What does your day look like? Have you added or changed from your daily routine this year to make things easier? What apps are you using to organize your life and/or business? Let us know in the comments.