Six Tools Of My Trade
Over the last few months, I have received a couple of emails asking what I use to write. So, for the heck of it, I figure it would be fun to compile a list of products I regularly use in my everyday process of writing. None of these companies asked me to endorse them or these products. I’m posting these here because I love ’em and want to share my experience with my readers and fellow writers. Hopefully you’ll find something new and useful for your own writing.
1. 13″ Apple MacBook Air
It’s starting to show it’s age, but my first tool is my 2012 13″ MacBook Air. I love this little machine, I’ve written five manuscripts on it and it’s served me well. I got the Air because I thought I wanted the portability, but I’m no coffee shop writer, and I’ve since found I don’t carry it around very often. Come upgrade time, I’ll eschew portability and focus on something a bit more powerful. That said, all in all, it’s been a great workhorse. If you’re looking for something nimble and light I highly recommend it.
2. Scrivener 2 by Literature & Latte
Scrivener 2 is the software I write in most often. I use it for everything from brainstorming to the actual process of writing prose. It’s incredibly customizable and once you figure out how it use it, it really streamlines the writing process. The more I explore its features the more I love it. It’s also excellent at exporting high-quality ebook files as well. I wrote a quick post about Scrivener a while back, it sums up my feelings about the software and links to a lot of other handy articles.
3. Scapple by Literature & Latte
Scapple is my mind mapping software. I used to use a whiteboard, or a wall and sticky notes. Scapple fully replaced that, allowing me to visually picture my plots, character arcs, and storylines. I love it so much I wrote a whole blog post about it. It’s a good way to keep what used to be temporary work in a digital permanent format which makes it easy to access and reference.
Dropbox is my offsite backup and file sharing solution. I work exclusively off Dropbox. All my files live there. It’s nice to have the peace of mind knowing that my work is safe in the cloud as opposed to on hard drives that can fail, go missing, or be destroyed. Back up often. Seriously, do it right now. I can’t stress this enough.
5. Pilot Metropolitan
This Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen is my favorite thing in the world right now. I absolutely love this little pen. I recently decided to switch to fountain pens and was looking for an entry-level pen, as so many can get expensive. The Pilot was recommended. It is under twenty dollars and easily worth every penny. After using this exclusively for the last few months, I ended up buying a second one it’s perfect for taking notes, making quick sketches, and signing books.
6. Moleskine Cahier Journal
The Moleskine Cahier Journal is my notebook of choice (for now). I have used various notebooks for years now and this is the best. It’s not perfect though. For one: I wish it was dotted instead of ruled as I do everything from make notes to draw sketches within it’s pages. The paper also bleeds a bit more than I’d like. All that said, it lays flat, it’s easy to carry, and it’s cheap (you get three for 9 bucks).
So there you go. It was fun to reflect on the stuff I use every day. There are other tools that I could have mentioned (Evernote, Wikipedia, Creative Cloud) but I wanted to focus on the stuff I use day in and day out. If you’re looking for other handy tools I encourage you to check out the toolkit category. I generally post links to handy websites, advice on craft, and software reviews within that category.
What about you? Do you have a favorite tool in your toolkit? Leave a comment below and let us know about it! I’d love to know what products other writers find invaluable in their own process.
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