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My Writing Toolkit

What tools does a writer use? It’s always a thing to discuss, whether it’s old-fashioned or the newest of new-fangled. Free, paid? Subscription, one-off payment? So many questions, and everyone has their own system and collections… so here’s mine.

The Old-Fashioned

I’m making an effort to spend less time in front of the computer, both for my eyes (and migraines) and wrists/shoulders (because I am in a lot of pain these days) I’m writing this draft of You Precious Thing by hand. It keeps things nice and simple, and also helps keep my handwriting from degenerating even further.

My initial run is scribbled in pencil and then gone over (with some tweaks) in fountain pens. It’s suitably romantic for a dark fairytale, and I just love fountain pens anyway. I’m also having fun using a different pen and ink for each chapter. This chapter I am using my Calais matte black Cross pen with Blue Obsession ink.

(I love fountain pens in general but right now I am drooling over the Cross Star Wars collection… unfortunately the Sheaffer Star Wars collection is much closer to my price range of none.)

I am that person who has way too many notebooks that sit around unused because I get them and decide they are too pretty to defile with my awful scrawl. So I use some Paperlane notebooks from Warehouse Stationery. They feel nice, paper is good, and most importantly pretty enough I want to use them but not so pretty I don’t.

The New Technology

When typing, I’m using one of three things: my laptop, my tablet + bluetooth keyboard, or my cellphone. Because I’m on the move between devices, I like to use Novlr a lot. I have had Scrivener for several years, and use it for outlining and notes, but as it doesn’t have an Android app (it’s iOS only) I tend to favour Novlr’s immediacy regardless of what device I have on hand.

To tie in with the cross-platform stuff, I also use Google Docs for taking notes, and Google Drive/Dropbox for backup (as Novlr sends backups to both for extra security options).

Back when I started doing NaNoWriMo and taking part in word sprints, I used Write or Die. Years later I use Cold Turkey Writer (and its general blogger, Cold Turkey on Windows, and on Android Word Attack. Timers, targets, focus modes – it’s great for getting down to it and getting words out.

I’ve not used Dragon Naturally Speaking for a while, but when it comes time to transcribing my handwriting I will use it on occasion. Once again it comes down to spending less time typing away and saving my wrists and shoulders. I’m looking forward to training it in all the non-English words /s.

Again, not something I’ve used too much (due to, uh, a lack of writing) but I really like Jamie Raintree’s Writing and Revision Tracker spreadsheet and look forward to using it more heavily in the future.

The Everything Else

Like most people, I listen to music when I write, and I loooove making playlists for my work. I subscribe to Google Play Music and use the Google Play Music Desktop Player (or GPMDP) when listening through my laptop. I used to use Spotify, but that has a song download limit, while with GPM I’m limited by only what my phone can hold… and I have a 256GB microSD card. Also GPM comes with Youtube Red, so no adds plus I can save videos to my device for offline viewing. That said, I much prefer the Spotify interface. :/

I love making covers and other graphics things for my work so Adobe Photoshop CC is a must. If I were to list all my other graphics resources this post would get even longer than it already is, so I’ll save it for a graphics-specific resource post (if there’s interest).

The TL;DR

The Final Thoughts

So that’s what I am currently using, or planning on using, to write my novel. A mix of old and new, obvious and somewhat hidden.

So tell me: What tools are in your writer toolkit? Do you have any alternatives to things I am using? Do you like fancy pens as well? Leave a comment below as I’d love to know the answers to these questions, and hear what else you have to say.

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Comments (3)

  • petitmelon 1 month ago Reply

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay~ Another fountain pen user!! I also handwrite most of the first draft of my novels (or at the very least, the rough draft of a scene before I go to type it) because typing at work all day + typing all evening is HELL on my wrists/hands. My go-to fountain pens are TWSBI Eco because of the ink capacity and being lightweight.

    Do you also like picking an ink for a project or do you just use your Waterman blue?

    Catherine 1 month ago Reply

    I have three different colour inks and will be switching between them for each chapter, as I will be doing the pen. If I had a wider variety of inks and pens I’d go wild with them. But alas, I just have the turquoise, the standard blue, and the navy blue.

  • Petitmelon 1 month ago Reply

    I admire your restraint in buying new pens and ink :O it’s a rabbit hole for me

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