Scrivener: A lot of writers I know love and swear by Scrivener. Some hate it. I’m firmly in the love camp. I’ve been using Scrivener for hmmm, maybe 3 years now? I do most of my writing in the program. I like the layout, the functions, and it’s a one stop shop for formatting ebooks. Yay!
Write or Die: This nifty little program lets you set a word and time goal. There are a few different levels – at the high end, you start loosing words if you stop typing for long. I’m not that extreme. I have it set to play dire violin music and flash red when I stop typing for long.
I use Write or Die fairly regularly, when I need to keep on track or a kick up the bum. I usually use it in 10 or 15 minute segments. 500 words in 15, or 250-300 words for 10 minutes. I usually can get out 250 good words in 7 or 8 minutes when using this nifty little program, so there really is no excuse for those ZERO days. I always can find a spare 7 or 8 minutes. Using them is another matter…
Alphasmart Neo: I’ve had my trusty Neo for 6 or 7 years now. For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically an electronic type writer. It runs on 4 AAA batteries, and the batteries last aaaages. No internet. You can only see 4 or 5 lines of text at a time. It’s a pain in the butt to scroll back to earlier text. It’s a great tool to get some uninterrupted typing done. I don’t use it nearly often enough.
Freedom App: I’m a chronic procrastinator (I’m procrastinating now by writing this blog entry), and this app lets me cut out my biggest time suck – the internet. The app blocks your connection for a set amount of time, up to 8 hours. This unfortunately doesn’t cure my procrastination (I have Freedom turned on right now, and see, I’m still procrastination!) as it doesn’t block me from cleaning the kitchen or scrubbing the toilet or reading a book I’ve already read ten times, or calling my Grandma, but it does stop the random “oh I wonder what’s happening on Facebook/Writer’s Cafe/Livejournal/the news/wikipedia/Youtube” that has an unfortunate tendency to suck away entire days.
Pen & Paper: The trusty old pen and paper. Some people still write their entire first drafts on paper, but I don’t/can’t. I think better when I’m typing (I think), plus I type much faster than I handwrite. My livejournal entries are usually much more in depth and interesting than my handwritten journals (I keep both).
What I do use pen and paper for is planning. I jot down ideas, characters, plot out chapters, all in notebooks or on random bits of paper lying around. I have a huge stack of papers with story ideas and summaries.
Word Count Dashboard: Another app that I use to keep track of word counts. It has a cute little vision board which tells you your target word count & days, how many days left you have, the actual deadline date, current word count, % complete ad words remaining, and also how many words you need to write each day to reach your goal. You enter your writing sessions and there are a few reports you can generate: summary, sessions, and a progress chart. For a data lover like me, it’s a little gold mine.
What are your favourite writing tools?