Hello friends of the book world!
If you’re anything like me, you probably wonder what the writing process is like or what tools your favorite writers use. I’m always researching new tools to help with my productivity since there are always new ones coming out that are more advanced than others. So I thought that I’d share some of the tools I use for when I’m writing. These include what I use to keep me focused as well as doing the actual writing.
The first and probably most important tool I use is Scrivener. I wrote Standing By using this app and what I love about this one is the different features it offers. I was able to keep track of my word count per session as well as the final word count with the Project Targets tool. I could keep scenes separated and use folders for each chapter, which made organizing everything easy (and this came in handy when I had to go back and add to or edit a scene).
When editing in Scrivener there is a feature that allows you to color code the edits by which edit you’re on (1st edit, 2nd edit, etc.). Then of course there is the compile feature that allowed me to export the book as a manuscript, ePub file, or book-sized pdf file.
The only thing about Scrivener is that you do have to buy it, but it’s not too unreasonable. And they have a student discount (which I took advantage of when I was in school). There is a 30-day trial that actually counts down by the times you open the app, as opposed to strictly 30 days if you think you might be interested in this tool.
Microsoft Word/Google Docs
Of course, I have to use Microsoft Word when formatting my book to a print format. I also use this tool if I am not on my home computer because I obviously am not able to use Scrivener without it. As long as I email the document to myself or save it on a thumb drive, I can open it up and transfer everything to Scrivener later on. Google Docs is also another option since it all saves on my Google account and I can access that anywhere, even my phone.
Backing up my writing is the most important thing I can do. I made the mistake of keeping a few of my fanfictions on my desktop and only my desktop when I was in high school, only to have my computer completely die on me. Poof, the docs were gone. Thankfully, those were just fanfictions… not original stories. Since then, I back up my stuff on multiple devices – my desktop, Dropbox, and at least two external drives. It might be excessive, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
When I come up with ideas for my stories, I’m usually not at my computer. So I found that having this voice recorder (that I got for my birthday) comes in handy. I realize there is a Voice Memos app on my phone, but I currently have hundreds of photos on my phone that take up too much room. Plus, it’s easier to access my recordings on this device than going to whatever page/folder my Voice Memos app is on.
Forest is an app for the iPhone that locks up your phone to keep you from using other apps on it. Each session you set the time you want to stay off your phone (say, 40 minutes) and while the app is open it plants a tree/bush during that time to build a forest. If you end your session early your plant dies. I love this app to keep myself from going on my phone and getting distracted with Instagram or Facebook. The best part is that this app is totally free.
Like Forest, Freedom blocks apps/websites while you are in a session. I use this on my computer to block certain websites or all websites and other apps while I’m writing. This way I’m not tempted to start web-surfing if I get stuck – instead I have to sit there and continue on or force myself to come up with the next line. There is a free version, but to get more out of it you have to subscribe for a monthly/yearly fee.
Last, but not least, the traditional notebook and pen. While I don’t usually write entire scenes/chapters in a notebook, I can get the start of something going if I am away from a computer. On occasion I have written out whole scenes, but that’s very rare. I also find that using a notebook makes brainstorming a lot easier than doing it on the computer.
Of course, like most (if not all) writers, I have about a million notebooks in my house to use, but I do try to keep them separate for each project.
And there you have it… these are the tools I use for getting my writing projects done.