I’ve been getting asked what tools I use to write with lately. So I thought I’d put this list together of the five resources I use most often. Most of them have either free options or trials so they don’t need to break the bank.
I have a love affair with this software. It is the go to tool for all my novel structuring, writing and formatting. If I had to do without all other tools and keep just one, this would be it. It has really upped my game in terms of plotting, pacing and writing speed. This software has inbuilt templates for short stories, fiction, screenplays and non-fiction. It has some fantastic scene building tools such as a cork-board that gives you the ability to rearrange virtual index cards to experiment easily with different structures. It has a story outliner, as well as split screen mode where you can refer to your manuscript and research files and photos at the same time. I simply couldn’t be with out it
2) Freedom App
Next for me has to be about distraction and the number one time suck? Yep social media. I’m weak and if someone sends me a video of a dog chasing it’s tail, I disappear to la la land. With this handy little app, I can switch off all my worst offending distractions for a set time to keep me focused. It has a range of levels of blocked distraction right up to an 8 hour locked mode which can really support me in getting my head down and write. I started with the free trial just to see how much writing time I got back.
If you are a busy writer who is constantly updating blogs, working on your manuscript and sending out newsletters then Pro Writing Aid is your friend. It’s a browser based software and very useful for catching out typos, repeated words etc. It has up to 20 analytic reports for your writing depending on your needs (the ones I use are: Grammar Checker, Spelling Checker, Detailed Explanations, Style Suggestions, Sentence Variation and Thesaurus suggestions) It also has a very handy plugin for Word, Scrivener and Google docs.
Writing uses a massive amount of concentration and I’m often exhausted after 3-4 hours of hacking away at a keyboard. I use these colouring books as a way to defuse and rekindle my creativity. Good for preventing burn out and just having fun. There ‘s loads of interesting ones to choose from. In a literary mood? why not unleash your inner Jane Austin Or my favourite is Game of Thrones! this has some fantastic illustrations. So get colouring… before winter comes.
I like to write in coffee shops. I read recently that J.K. Rowling wrote quite a few of the Harry Potter books in her local cafe in Edinburgh. So if you are a cafe writer you are in good company! the problem for me is that it can be hard to concentrate due to the cacophony of sound. If you find that too, then give noise cancelling headphones a go. They cut out most of the sharp distracting pitches and tones and help me get in the writing zone more easily. These do have a price tag but mine have lasted five years and are still going strong. There are are also cheaper options to the ones I use.