children's writer

Tools for Easy Writing

Sep 2, 2013

Last week's Top Ten Tuesday - hosted by The Broke and the Bookish - was so ingenious I had to do a writing version. These are ten things that make my writing life easier/better.

1. Microsoft Word

I know a lot of writers swear by Scrivener, but when it comes to my writing I like to keep things as simple as possible. I'll open up a new document and maybe if I'm feeling fancy use one of my favorite fonts, either Georgia or Calibri Light. I write single spaced with an extra space in between paragraphs. And though I use chapter headings, I won't bother separating them until the draft is complete.

2. Written Kitten

When I first heard of this site I didn't think it would be for me. I didn't think a promised picture of a kitten would help me reach my word count goals. These days I think a picture of a kitten is just the cherry on top of a website that has sometimes helped my surpass my usual word count for the day.

3. Pinterest

When I need a dose of inspiration, Pinterest is my number one source. I love that I can create a board for one of my novels and throw a ton of images into to it. I can spend hours on it. For me, it's a way to relax and unwind. It makes me feel creative without lifting more than one finger.

4. Goodreads

It's a great website for finding comp titles and keeping up-to-date on new releases in my genre for the age group I'm writing for. I'll log on more than once a day to add new books to my to-read list, read reviews, and see if there have been any cover debuts for the books I'm pinning for.

5. Microsoft Excel

It's the perfect tool for keeping track of word counts and really comes in handy when I'm querying. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten if I've queried someone or not. My Excel spreadsheets helps me keep track of the number of queries I've sent and to which agents.

6. Pocket

I could dedicate and entire blog post to this new app. I can't believe it didn't exist before. On those days when I don't have time to read all of the blog posts in my feed or watch those videos on YouTube, I'll add them to Pocket. During the WriteOnCon conference, Pocket really came in handy. There was so much to read and do, it helped me make sure I didn't miss anything. I love being able to read posts from my favorite writing and non-writing blogs on the go, whenever, wherever, without internet access.

7. My Kindle Fire 

I'm the owner of one of those huge, bulky laptops. When I'm on the go, throwing it into my bag won't do me or it any good. There's where my Kindle comes in. I can upload my manuscript to it, grab a notebook, and when I have a chance continue where I'd left off. I do love being able to see my manuscript in a different light so it's perfect for rereading before revising. It comes in handy when I'm beta reading as well.

8. Pandora

Sometimes music does help my writing. Film scores are my favorite for setting the right mood. Out of all the music sites out there, Pandora is my staple. It's convenient and simple, just the way I like them. The perfect scene can sometimes be inspired by the right track at the right time.

9. Google Keep

I've recently began using Google Keep to create to-do lists. I know almost everyone loves Evernote, but I do appreciate the simplicity of Google Keep. I love being able to cross things off as I complete them. Though I use Excel to keep track of my word counts, I use Google Keep to set my weekly writing goals. Whether I'm trying to get to 5,000 words or 10,000, Google Keep is a keeper.

10. Google Drive

I've heard other writers mention using Google Drive to store their manuscripts. And while I must admit keeping my writing online makes me nervous, you can make all of the documents private. You can send them straight to your drive without having to go to the website and it also allows you to create new documents. Between my flash drive, my email account, and Google Drive, I don't worry about losing my writing as much.

Bonus - Coffitivity I haven't used it much but I think it's great. It provides ambient noise that makes you feel as if you're in a coffee shop without leaving the house. A lot of writers love writing in cafes. The great thing about Coffitivity is it allows you to sync your own music so you can have the best creative experience.

What's in your writing toolkit?