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 bombarded 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 frankly don’t know how I’d get along without them. Here are eleven tools I use every day.
TextEdit – 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 html coding, TextEdit works well for that too. (Just click on “Plain text” in the program’s Preferences.)
Scrivener – This powerful program is helpful 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. make it very adaptable to almost anything you want to do with it.
Evernote – I use this program to collect information when I’m researching. I love how I can copy snippets to it when I’m browsing web pages. When I use it to take lecture notes I sometimes activate its recording ability. I have it installed on three devices so now use the paid version (it’s free for two devices).
Pocket – This app collects the URLs of articles I want to read later. Pocket is also installed on both my computers and my iPad so I can access the same list from three places.
Blogger.com and WordPress.com – I blog on both these platforms and love both. I have connected two of my blogs to domain names so have dropped “blogger” and “wordpress” in the url without the expense of self-hosting (called “domain mapping”).
Facebook private profile and Author Page. Facebook keeps me connected with family and writing friends and lets me spread encouragement, kudos, and information about good books, resources etc. I have my website blog connected to my Facebook Author page so new posts automatically show up there.
Twitter – I use Twitter to connect with friends, colleagues, do a little marketing, and find interesting links and information. My blogs are connected to Twitter so whenever I post to them, a tweet goes out automatically.
Feedly – This RSS reader, installed on both computers and my iPad, provides me with a wonderfully efficient way to read blogs.
Spotify – Using this digital music service I can listen to my favourite artists while doing office busy-work, or stream wordless classical, jazz, or pop as a background to writing.
A Timer – Finally, I wouldn’t be without my iPad timer. I work best when I know I’m committed to write for a set amount of time. (It’s amazing, too, how inspiration rises when you know you’re stuck there—no ifs, ands or buts). A good amount of time for me is an 90 minutes. I set my timer for 30 minutes and take it in segments.
Maybe you noticed, a lot of these tools help with connectivity—me staying connected to myself as I work on different devices. What writing tools could you not live without? What makes a new one attractive to you? I’m always open to ‘new and improved’!
(This is an updated post that was first published on January 27, 2014. This post was my contribution [2 of 6] to a writers’ BLOG HOP. Read about what tools other writers are using HERE.)
17 thoughts on “Eleven must-haves in my writer toolkit”
Wow, Violet! I’d say you are pretty tech savvy. There are some tools here that are definitely worth looking into. Thanks.
a pen and notebook 🙂
Thanks Kiwiskan! I use those too. All the time. Actually I run through reams of the clean side of printed sheets as my scrap paper and buy pens by the box.
me too 🙂
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 ( readfaced.wordpress.com )
You use many more “tools” than I do. I tried evernote and got lost in it. I tried Schrivner and felt the same. Maybe some day. I do use Twitter and Facebook but don’t do any automatic posting to either. I always do that by hand. When I use the automatic my posts don’t get very many reads.
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.
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!
Sure does, Tracy. As well, a break improves the disposition–or at least it does mine.
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.
Never thought of a kitchen timer! I find myself writing hours on end and should take a break! Thanks, thanks, thanks!
Good Patti! That little ding becomes a welcome sound. Permission!!
A timer, huh? I like it! I think I’d just end up ignoring mine though. 🙂
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.
Thanks for sharing your list of tools. Several items on there that I’m not familiar with, including Evernote and Buffer. Will have to check them out!
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!