My writer toolkit


I’ll bet you don’t even remember the days when a computer was the newest thing in writing gadgetry. With the plethora of apps and add-ons that has assailed us over the last years,  these days it’s almost a full-time job to keep up with the latest.

I don’t think I have. But I do have some favorites and honestly don’t know how I’d get along without them. Here are the tools I use every day.

TextEdot ocpmTextEdit – I use this simple word-processing software that came with my iMac and MacBook to draft all my blog posts. If I ever need to strip something of its html coding, TextEdit works well for that too. (In TextEdit just go to Preferences, click on Plain Text, close the document and open it again. You can then paste whatever text  into it and no matter how loaded it is with code, all is stripped away).

Scrivener logoScrivener – I use this powerful program for putting together most things from articles to books. I even use it to store my poem collection. Its Keyword function, ability to collect links, mark each post with icons etc. etc. make it very adaptable to almost anything you want to do with it. I used the free trial for a while and then bought the program when I realized I didn’t want to be without it.

Evernote iconEvernote – Another powerful (and free) program, I use it to collect information when I’m researching a topic. I love its ability to copy snippets as an add-on to  my Firefox browser. Another thing I’ve used Evernote for is taking notes during lectures. In fact, you can be recording the audio of a lecture even while you’re typing notes. I have it installed on both my laptop and desk computer so it’s a wonderful way to have access to the same information on two different platforms. (I don’t use a Smartphone or tablet but I’m sure Evernote is compatible with those too.)

Pocket app - logoPocket – I use this Firefox add-on to collect the URLs of articles I want to read later. Pocket is also installed on both my computers so I can access the same list from both places.

Blogger icon Wordpress and  – I blog on both these platforms and love both. I have connected two of my blogs to domain names I’ve purchased so don’t have the .blogger and .wordpress in the url without the expense of self-hosting.

Facebook iconFacebook private profile and Author Page  (more LIKES always welcome!) – I use Facebook to connect with family and writing friends and spread encouragement, kudos and information about good books and resources etc. I have my website blog connected to my FB Author page so whenever I put up a post, it shows up on my page.

Twitter iconTwitter – I use Twitter to connect with friends, colleagues, do a little marketing and find interesting links and information. Three of my blogs (website, poetry, and photo) are connected to Twitter so whenever I post to them, a tweet goes out automatically. (My twitter handle is @vnesdoly)

Buffer iconBuffer – I use this Firefox add-on to schedule tweets. It is also really handy to send out tweets right on the spot with its handy link shortener. You can schedule updates on Twitter and Facebook with the Buffer app. I use the free version.

book iconBooks – I use them for research and prompts. I love writing prompts and have several books that I use to help get my writing inspiration stirred up.
The Crafty Poet – (paperback) by Diane Lockward
The Daily Poet: Day By Day Prompts by Martha Silano (ebook)
The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts by Martha Alderson (Kindle edition: promises, “This book provides daily plot prompts guaranteed to move you from where you are in imagining and writing a novel, memoir or screenplay to writing the story all the way to the end”).
I would also be lost without my study Bible (New Spirit Filled Life Study Bible).

kitchen timerFinally, I wouldn’t be without my kitchen timer. I find I work best by setting out to put in a set amount of time (it’s amazing how inspiration rises when you know you’re stuck there—no ifs, ands or buts). I’ve found a good chunk of time for me is an hour. I have my timer set permanently at 30 minutes. When I sit down to do my hour, I start the timer and when it dings halfway through I either take a break, or just start it again to complete the 60 minutes.

What writing tools could you not live without? I’m always open to ‘new and improved’!

(This post is my contribution  (2 of 6) to a writers’ BLOG HOP.  Read about what tools other writers are using HERE.)

17 thoughts on “My writer toolkit

  1. I like the idea of using a kitchen timer. My goal is always to write a minimum number of words in a two hour block. If I go beyond the number of words in that amount of time, great. If I fall short, I have to sit there until I’m finished. The timer would be a great addition to this practice. Thanks.

    Leanne Ross ( )


  2. Janis I think we all need to find our own groove. I get ‘crushes’ on certain tools, use them for a while, and then lose interest. I used to use Tweetdeck to keep track of my Twitter follows, for example, but haven’t done so now for a long time. I like trying out new stuff.

    It sounds like you have a wonderfully cozy office / writing space that you love, and it’s serving you well. No need to push yourself to use more ‘gadgets’ if you’re happy with the way things are.


  3. Great list violet. I use most of them but not all. (Never tried Evernote or pocket…) I also started using a kitchen timer when I found my eyes were bothering me. a little break does wonders!


  4. A kitchen timer is a perfect tool. It’s amazing how we can overlook them in a rush for the latest app that does exactly the same thing.
    Everynote does work on tablets and phones, and I find it particularly useful for taking photos of things when I’m out and about that are useful or neat for my stories. I got loads of images at a festival that I’m definitely going to use. One day.


    • I tried to link Evernote with my old iPod touch (with wifi), as I thought it would be wonderful as a note-taking gizmo. But the operating system wasn’t new enough. It’s very cool to have cameras and note-takers all on the same device. I like the way you describe your use of it.


  5. Okay so you are way more tech-savvy than me. I think I’ll stick to my word file. The way my brain works, I’d get lost in cyber space with no hope of rescue. I do use the timer though. Keeps me on track.


  6. I’m with Donna – my brain got a little tired reading your list, although I have to admit I was very impressed at the same time. Carry on Violet – whatever you are doing is working beautifully for you!


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