Writing is hard.
It’s not just the actual process. Sure, that’s hard, but then there’s the editing that comes afterward, all the planning beforehand, all the hours spent trying to stay organized. And then there’s the matter of just getting your work in front of folks.
Sure, writing is hard. But luckily, like any difficult job, you can use tools to help. Here are five that I’ve found personally beneficial.
If you’re writing a novel, this might be some of the very best software imaginable. Scrivener allows you to do so much. You can set up a cork board to see your story from a high level. You can rearrange chapters at will, plus pack all your extra scenes into the same file as your main chapters. For the indie writers out there, you can export your completed draft directly to e-reader-compatible formats. It’s like its own writing toolbox.
I will say that I think it’s a little much for short stories. After all, you probably don’t need character profile sections if you’ve only got one or two characters. Still, it’s the perfect solution for novel writers.
A New Keyboard
If you write on a computer, I highly recommend finding a keyboard that you really like. Having the right keyboard allows you to type faster and with more precision (and also without fear of breaking keys during those exciting scenes). Nice keyboards make more of a difference than you might realize, and they’re also pretty darn cheap.
Mine, for example, is a USB hookup from Logitech. Picked it up at Target for ten bucks. The keys are big and sturdy—works for me since I can become an aggressive typer, on occasion. My Mac keyboard feels a little fragile in comparison.
There’s so much you can do with a whiteboard. You can storyboard on it, you can put inspirational quotes on it, you can write random ideas on it. You can doodle on it, if you’re feeling bored. I myself use my whiteboard for keeping track of my goals for the day.
Hang your whiteboard in your work area for easy accessibility. Lucky for me, mine’s actually attached to my desk. When a great idea pops into your noggin, you’ll want to write it down before it goes anywhere. Getting up to find a writing implement might break your concentration. Keep your whiteboard close so you can stay focused.
Blogs aren’t physical tools, but they do give readers a reason to come back to your site consistently. This might be getting too much into marketing and sales, but if you have people returning to your site consistently, that means they’ll see your books more often, and that they’ll be more likely to buy. Plus, if you have a good blog, it serves as a sample of your product. People are more likely to buy your writing if they like what they’ve read from you already.
Also, blogging is great practice for any writer, even if you’re primarily writing fiction. You’ll be surprised at how much your writing improves when you simply commit to blogging once a week.
Also, blogging is fun.
A Writer’s Group
Though writers are often thought of as solitary people, you’ll find that few work completely alone; pretty much every writer works with other people to make their stuff better.
That’s why you need people you trust to look at your work and evaluate it honestly. Joining a writer’s group is the perfect way to find those people. They know how to help make your work better because they’ve probably struggled with the same issues.
I found my current group through Meetup, but there are plenty of other ways to discover fellow writers. Try Facebook or the classic Google search. There are even online communities, such as Scribophile, which allow you to critique and have your work critiqued from anywhere. Full disclosure: I’ve never used this service before, but good to know that it’s available.
Bonus Cool Tool for Writers: Coffee
This one needs no explanation.