You certainly don’t need a lot to be a writer. A creative mind, stories to tell and a laptop is really all that is required. However, there are a few tools that can help in making the process a little easier. Here are a few of my favourites.
I was introduced to Scrivener during NaNoWriMo last year. Prior to using Scrivener I was happy tinkering away on Microsoft Word but was searching for a tool that was more suitable. Srivener is a complete writing studio allowing the writer to arrange and organise their storyline, characters, plot sequences, research and actual story in one neat little place and then compile and prepare it for submission or self publication. While I am only using the basics so far, the features really are endless and you could actually lose yourself in the program. Not that it is complicated just an amazing place with so many wonderful features. Scrivener is available for PC and Mac and they have a free 30 day test drive to see if it suits your style. I haven’t looked back.
My online Thesaurus used to be my best friend. I say used to be as since I have started writing on a daily basis I am finding that I prefer to just get down to writing rather than find the perfect word. I also think the more competent and practiced a writer becomes the easier it becomes to know your character and the language that best tells the story. However it is a great tool for that word you just can’t put your tongue on. The thesaurus is also good just as a tool to widen your vocabulary I must admit to exploring and getting lost in the thesaurus from time to time for some ‘word porn’. *geek*
Grammar and Spelling Tools
One of my most well loved books is my Penguin Writer’s Manual and although it’s a little old, most of the rules and guidelines are of course still relevant. I also love to visit the Grammar Girl for some ‘quick and dirty tips’ keeping in mind this is an American English based site. Another little tool I find useful is the Australian Writers’ Centre (formerly Sydney Writers’ Centre) newsletter. Valerie and her team always include some great tips and tidbits in the newsletter and it is always an informative read.
I am a lover of the basic, old-school notepad. I keep one in my handbag and one at my desk at all times. It is perfect for jotting down those ideas that pop into your head that, in my case, would be gone in an instant if I didn’t write them down. I also love writing down creative sentences or prose that come to mind or that someone uses in conversation that I find intriguing. Yes, sometimes people do look at me strangely as I scrambled for my notepad and madly scribble away, but it is worth it. Oh and of course the lovely range of notebooks available make it worth the indulge. There is also the digital version ‘Evernote‘ which I have tried but failed to grasp. For now I love my old school notepads.
Authors, bloggers, publishers, creative folk. They are all part of my tool box. I follow so many wonderful writers on Twitter and Facebook. They are my online mentors without them even knowing! Not only do they share their beautiful writing, but tips and resources that are invaluable. Being part of a community of like-minded people all following their passion is inspiring, motivating and just plain fun.
There is only one thing to say here: The more you read the better a writer you become.
So what’s in your ‘writing tool box’?
And are you on Twitter or Facebook? Leave your details in the comment so I can
stalk follow you!