Tools of the Trade
To all my all my fellow writers and bloggers, I have a question for you: what tools to you use? This is a topic that’s always fascinated me, in part because I know there are so many tools and methods one can employ in the writing process, but also because my own methods and tools have changed drastically over the years.
When I first started writing fiction in high school, I composed everything in Microsoft Word because that seemed to make the most sense at the time. Similarly, all of my early blogging was done entirely using Blogger’s software. Eventually, I moved both to Google Docs so I could access and edit them from any computer, although there still isn’t a seamless solution for editing those documents and a tablet or smartphone. Twice in the past 2-3 years I’ve moved entirely to paper, which most people found incredibly confusing (“Why are you writing blogs in a notebook?”). There’s something about the physical task of writing on paper that’s so satisfying though. In between my paper phases, I tried a myriad of word processors on Windows including WordPad and Scrivener, the latter of which I briefly flirted with during the 2010 NaNoWriMo.
My current writing process relies heavily on Evernote, a web service I apparently signed up for back in October 2009 but have only started using very recently. Among other things, I can categorize my writing into Separate notebooks (keeping my blog and fiction writing separate from my recipes), the editor is simple and allows for light formatting, and most importantly I’m able to write basically anywhere. Seriously, there are apps for almost every OS – including the Kindle Fire – plus the Evernote website, and best of all is that they all sync to one another. I could easily dedicate an entire blog post to how awesome Evernote is, but perhaps I’ll save that for another day.
So what do you use for writing? I’d really love to hear from you all!
For blogging, I write anywhere but the actual "new entry" box in my browser, haha. It took me like five years of watching my blog posts get "eaten" by the Internet to figure that one out.
My favorite tools now are distraction-free text editors (or pen and paper). When I'm working on a PC, I use WriteMonkey, which I'm 99% sure is free. When I'm on a Mac, I use WriteRoom ($10). They're both meant to be used in fullscreen mode, and they don't have any visible toolbars or scrollbars or buttons or anything. They keep me focused on writing instead of changing the font, and they do a decent job of auto-saving when I get so "in the zone" that I forget how to use a computer. 🙂
When I'm not near a computer, I rely on my iPhone, any one of a dozen journals, or a growing collection of 3"x5" index cards to capture thoughts, quotes, pics, sketches, etc.
I currently liking writing the initial draft on pen and paper — I'm less likely to be distracted because I have FB notifications popping up. On the downside, it effectively doubles my work because I have to transcribe it. On the downside, if I lose my notebook before I've transcribed it… world of hurt.
I also discovered wikidpad (http://wikidpad.sourceforge.net/) during Nanowrimo 2011 for planning purposes. It's pretty cool.
[…] – I’m the perfect candidate for a Chromebook. Combined with something like Evernote (which I’ve already evangelized), it’s a fantastic writing tool. With almost no effort, I can create a completely focused […]