I love to write, but what I love just as much as writing is all the nifty writing tools that are available today. A lot of those writing tools that I tend to use repeatedly is either free or cheap. I have dyslexia and ADHD, and writing for me is an uphill battle. The tools that I use have helped make writing not only easier but enjoyable for me. I thought it was high time to share what writing tools that I personally use.
When I started writing fanfiction, I thought, ‘I will not spend a dime on writing software.’ All the software I need is Open Office. I wish I could go back in time and slap myself. Scrivener changed the writing game for me. First, the index card feature makes it easy to break my story not only into chapters but to also break it down scene by scene. Also, if a scene doesn’t feel out of place, I can drag and click the index cards. You can also customize the font size, the spread, the color, etc.
And I’m going, to be honest, that is the tip of the iceberg of what Scrivener can do. You can easily export all your final manuscripts into ePUB or PDF format so it won’t be a headache to instantly publish to KDP or Smashwords.\
Ywriter by Simon Haynes is an effective free alternative that I have used. Honestly, it’s the one writing software that gives Scrivener a run for its money. The only thing I really think the Scrivener lacks is the index card option.
Confession: I’m writing this post in WriteMonkey. It’s FREE distraction-free software. It’s the best so far that I found that works well for me. It’s% 100 customizable from the page color (mine is black page with silver font). You also get a scratchpad that you can put spare notes in, a word counter, and you can set writing goals too. My minimum writing goal is 500 words, and it tells me in live time how far you are from reaching your goals.
I have been using OneNote off and on since 2010. I found it on accident actually when I realized it came with my Microsoft Office installation. Previously to this, I was using Evernote, and then some free localized versions of a notebook software since I started writing. OneNote blew it out of the water! I use it to outline and create series bibles for every story I have ever written. If you are a planner like me (especially with world-building) this comes in super handy. You can have as many color coordinated tabs. My tabs are using Outline, Characters, Setting, Word Building, Research. You can easily annotate, highlight, and copy and paste images and the best part is that it all syncs up to cloud so you can access it anywhere. You can also embed videos and images in the later releases. Now, if you have Windows OS 8-10 OneNote comes pre-installed. You can also download via Windows and Apple Appstore.
If you are a Microsoft Office (version listed) user, it should already be installed on your computer.
Behind The Name is my go-to tools I used to create characters. It has a pretty comprehensive list of names and not only that it has a random name tool that you can easily pick from any language you want that name from. For example, if I have a Latine character, I click the Spanish option and what gender I want. There are other options like you chose multiple surnames if you want a rare name or a name that is a variation of another name. Also, once you run the generator, you can simply click on the name to learn its meaning and how it’s pronounced.
You may think Pinterest is just for bookmarking recipes and getting some fashion inspiration. Again, this is only the beginning of what this visual bookmarking social media platform is capable of. If you need some writing advice, you only have to search to find links to wrIting advice like this post (hint, hint). You can also find photos of models and locations to get inspiration for characters and settings. This platform is so important if you are like me and a visual person.
6. Pomodoro Timer
If you are a sprint writer, a Pomodoro timer will totally come in handy. When I’m doing long writing sessions that I can easily burn myself out. The Pomodoro method helps me avoid that. I write for 25 minutes and get a 5-minute break for four sessions. Then I get a reward of a 15-minute break. I use the Focus 10 timer on the Windows App to do this because I customize the time of the writing sessions and/or breaks.
Grammarly is yet another writing tools that was a game-changer for me. It corrects common spelling and grammar mistakes and if you are dyslexic, that advice is invaluable. Even splurging on the premium option, the Free option is still super effective. I will say this, though as someone has been using Grammarly for years is that it will never take the place of real-life human editing your stuff. Invest in an editor and beta readers because while Grammarly is effective, an editor will able to pick up the context of what you are trying to write and give you the advice to correct it.