Meta Monday: 5 Writing Tools I Refuse to Live Without

MetaMondays5There’s a world of stuff out there intended to make a writer’s life easier. Not all of it is created equal, however. After a lot of failed experiments, here are the five tools I can’t imagine writing without:

1. Scrivener

How did I function without this word processing software? How did I outline? (Not that I ever stick to an outline, but still . . . .) How did I move scenes around? How did I edit my chapters? How did I compile anything? How did I format anything? No idea. I prefer not to think back on those dark, bleak pre-Scrivener days.

That said, I’ll offer a few caveats. Scrivener isn’t free, though I believe you can test out a trial version. For what it’s worth, I found the price reasonable. There’s a bit of a learning curve too—for the love of Chuck, read the instructions! (I learned that the hard way.) Finally, it’s not designed for multiple devices—but with a little tweak, you can make it play nice with Dropbox. Speaking of which . . . .

2. Dropbox

A good file hosting service is essential to my writing life—both to protect me from crashes and to allow me to pull up my documents on any device. Dropbox is my current fave; I’ve found it easy to work with, plus I love the way it saves my phone’s camera roll automatically. Full disclosure: I splurged on the paid version.

3. Bullet Journal

I want my whole life online! All my to-do lists, my calendar, everything! Don’t tell me about this fast-paced journal system that uses a physical pen and notebook . . . oh, wait. This system is actually kind of cool. And cheap—any dime store notebook will do.

And, okay, I like the set-up: my index, daily log, future log, monthly tasks—all that good stuff. And I love the collections I’ve made. I have pages set aside for story ideas, character ideas, article ideas, just to name a few. Oh, and a quote log! I love writing down inspirational quotes. (Okay, yeah. An abnormal amount are by Misha Collins, whom I have accepted as my personal Overlord.)

Plus this is not just for writing. No, I’ve managed to organize my whole life with this system. Yikes—my poor online calendars and to-do lists are languishing now.

4. Meditation and Workout Time

I tend to combine these two: when I’m done with my workout at the gym, I treat myself to mediation time. It can be tough to find time for one of these activities, let alone both, so I’ve started getting up at the ass-crack of dawn. Completely worth it!

I find the cost of a gym worth it as well, but if I reach the point where I have to sacrifice my membership, I’ll still make working out at home a priority. The joint process of exercising my body and calming my mind are helping me sharpen my focus as a writer. And probably making me a more reasonable human being to boot.

5. My Writing Buddies

Wait, did I just call my friends tools? Um, you know what I meant, right?

My writing pals encourage me when I’m despairing over a story, chide me when my story has lost its way and challenge me to sit my ass in the chair and pound out those words! I do my utmost to return the favors—either online or at meet-ups where we come together in person for word wars and cocktails. (Mostly virgin cocktails for me, but still.)

I’ve heard people insist that writing is a solitary venture—in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

That’s it for me. How about you? What makes your list?

About Jenn Moss

Author * Web Serialist * Virtual Addict
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8 Responses to Meta Monday: 5 Writing Tools I Refuse to Live Without

  1. I loved this list! Scrivener is something I might look into! For me and my wife we love the challenge that NANOWRIMO places on you! 1,700 words a day, every day for a month! It’s such fun, and you get to meet fellow writers in your local area too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      NaNo is awesome. I’ve never successfully completed it–for me, it’s always a case of “just wait until next year!” I’m thinking ahead to it, though . . . .


  2. An added bonus to the working out time for me- roller blading or swimming- is I usually have a “story” going on in my head that gets worked out. Or fresh new ideas form. Same for you?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. All of them excellent tools, even your writing pals, haha… Except I never heard of Scrivener. My text toll has always been Word. as for Dropbox, have it since the beginning of times (of its itime, I mean 😜)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      I still use Word to some extent–you can compile what you have in Scrivener to a Word doc, in fact. That said, Scriveners’s not for everyone, and if Word is working just fine for you, I’d stick with it! (But you can always snag the free trial of Scrivener if you change your mind. 😉 )


  4. Sheryl says:

    What a great article, I’m not familiar with Scrivener, I’ll have to check it out. I cant live without my excel spreadsheets outlining my characters. Oh and my storyline calendar, I need to keep track of the weeks and days so I don’t have tulips blooming in July.

    Liked by 1 person

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