My 5 Favorite Writing Tools and How They Can Improve Your Workflow

When writing we often feel like we just need a good piece of paper and pencil and to start letting the magic flow onto the page. But it almost never works like that. Creative energy often feels like it’s feast or famine. It feels like it leaves us when we need it most and swims over us when we aren’t looking. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple tools can help us avoid that by harnessing those times of swimming in ideas to help balance out the times when we just can’t think of anything.

1. A Small Notebook

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A small notebook is invaluable to a writer. When I say small though I really mean small. The notebook needs to be small enough to fit in your pocket or in your purse. It’s not meant for full thoughts. This small notebook is meant to capture the unique moments of inspiration that hit us in the most random moments of the day. It’s meant to capture the idea you have when you are sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or waiting in line at the grocery store. While a phone can also handle this job, I find that the notebook is just easier. You don’t have to fiddle around trying to remember where you put the app and you don’t have to worry about exiting whatever you left your phone in. Also you never have to interrupt a phone call if you get an idea while talking to someone.

2. Scrivener

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Scrivener Full Screen Writing View

Okay so this program is my best friend. Well not really, but I’m getting my best friend scrivener for her birthday. That’s how much I love this. I use scrivener to organize my blog posts and ideas for this blog along with writing fiction with my best friend.
For instance:

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Scrivener Binder Sidebar

This image is all the background work involved in one of the stories Lady Bird and I are working on on Best Friends Fiction. We have a lot of information that we both need to understand. This allows us to put it in one place in an organized matter. Before I started using scrivener, this information was scattered across several notebooks and we actually lost a few chapters. That’s just the beginning of the awesomeness that is scrivener.

3. Kindle/ Kindle App

A page out of The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by LJ Smith with notes and highlights I've made

A page out of The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by LJ Smith with notes and highlights I’ve made

It’s said that to be a great writer you need to read. While I know there are other options, I personally prefer the Kindle. It holds all of my books and allows me to take notes/dissect them. I also have the ability to borrow books from my library directly to my iPad in the Kindle app. But the best part can be done by any of your ebook options, I don’t have to carry around the 5 books I’m working on. I don’t have to decide on any given day if I’d rather read my novel, the book on copywriting, the book on design, the book on fiction writing, or that book on a tech project I’m working on before I leave the house. I have all of them in one package that doesn’t weigh a ton.

4. WordPress with Editflow and Genesis

WordPress Post Backend With EditFlow

WordPress Post Backend With EditFlow

I think this is one of my greatest writing tools. WordPress plain and simply works wonders with adding content online. As someone who has seen the code behind the program, WordPress is a strong platform to use. It is more powerful than similar platforms and much more customizable.
One of the best customizations I’ve found is EditFlow. It is a plugin that allows you to send a notification to a user or group of users about when your piece is ready for its next step. For instance, on BFF we use it to notify the other that we feel ready to post  the piece we’re working on. Then the writer who didn’t write the piece goes through it and makes sure the content makes sense and doesn’t have simple mistakes such as typos.
My other favorite customization is the Genesis Framework. I love it so much that I actually started building my themes on top of it. Genesis gives powerful tools that help you to optimize your content to be found. It has meta fields that help define what a search engine looks at when it crawls over your post. It also can connect users to their Google Authorship.

5. Snagit

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This tool is mostly a blogging tool. With good blog posts often come good images. People like seeing what you are talking about. Snagit allows me to get dimensions correct on images and capture just what I want to capture out of a screenshot which saves me time on editing. It also allows me to manipulate the image before I save it.

Overall these tools all help me to express myself. They help me stay organized and never lose a great idea. Do you have a favorite tool? Share it below in the comments.

 

 

 

I Solemnly Swear . . .

In a quest to learn to improve my writing, I’ve been pushed back to my fiction roots. I’ve consumed many books on writing, and I’ve read a lot of books in my genre. In trying to get closer to skill in writing, I’ve taken on the mission to understand … [Continue reading]