Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about my favorite writing tools and resources for making a business out of my writing. I’ve read a lot of posts about others’ favorite apps, websites, and programs for business and writing, and am always looking for the latest and greatest.
My methods are pretty simple, though. There’s not a lot that I really need for writing, but the few tools that I do utilize regularly are absolute essentials!
First, of course, there’s Scrivener. I can’t tell you how long I fought Scrivener. I used Microsoft Word and I thought there was no higher power.
Turns out, there is. Scrivener is amazing for all kinds of reasons. Word doesn’t offer any real way to organize and track the various parts or chapters of a story. Scrivener has a “binder” that lists all of the pages you create, and it organizes them according to the template you’re using or your specifications. Scrivener also has word targets and “cork boards” where you can plot out your timeline, which are essential when participating in National Novel Writing Month. And Scrivener isn’t just for fictional novel writing. It has templates for nonfiction, poetry and lyrics, scripts, and two options for various other projects: blank and miscellaneous.
I haven’t even discovered and utilized all of the many wonders Scrivener has to offer yet, but I can tell you that this program has changed the way I write leaps and bounds, and for the better.
Next up is Canva. Canva is the most fantastic tool I’ve found for creating graphics. I use Canva to put together visual advertising for my books, my blog posts, and even just to share inspiring quotes or photos in a fancy, pretty way. The best part is that Canva is mostly free to use! I’ve made all of my graphics for free by utilizing the free photo, text, and layout options and uploading my own images. Canva does have a million other options that cost one dollar (one dollar!) to use but the resources Canva offers for free are great quality and more than enough for my purposes. Typically, these graphic services only offer their lamest resources for free, and next to no options. That is not the case with this software. The even better news is that Canva finally has an app so you can create on the go! But the best part? Canva is ridiculously simple to use. I’m no graphic designer, trust me. But this software is fantastic in its ease and simplicity, as well as its extensive amount of options.
These next tools fall under the editing category: the Airbrush app and Fotor.
Fotor is both a software for your computer and an app, and it offers an extremely easy way to edit photos like a pro. Half the time, I don’t even need the special effects because Fotor has lighting filters that help to enhance photos while keeping them looking natural. The Airbrush app has filters too, but I primarily use this app for editing out my blemishes and eye bags from photos. Sometimes you need to take a professional photo but you don’t have time to wait for your skin to clear up. And sometimes you just have permanent eye bags that need a little touch-up. This app has fantastic features including smooth, blemish, skin tone, firm, whiten, reshape, brighten, and conceal. Needless to say, it comes in quite handy. Oh, and you know what’s cool? Both of these resources are free.
I’ve got two Pages apps on my phone. One, is Apple’s word processer, and the other is Facebook’s app for managing pages you create. Both have proven to be extremely helpful as an author and marketer of my book. I use Apple’s Pages when sending my work back and forth to my friend, who edits for me. On the Pages app, you are able to make comments on the page, in the margins. I also use Pages when inspiration strikes while I’m on the run. Facebook’s Pages has been amazing for managing the Bewilderments of the Eyes Facebook page. It’s simple to go on and have all of my options, settings, content, and information at the ready without navigating throughout all of Facebook. The app offers stats on your page, advertising, editing, and so much more for easy marketing.
Finance-wise, I utilize Paypal and Square. As an avid online shopper, Paypal has always been one of my main pals. But when I opened hardcover sales of my book, paypal made it easy to take orders and transfer payments directly into my bank account. The set up was easy, and there are plenty of plugins on WordPress that allow you to smack a sales button right onto your site. Square made my book launch party just as simple. I set up my shop online, ordered my free card reader, and was set to sell copies of my book at my party.
This one seems obvious, but the Dictionary App is another valuable tool I use regularly. I didn’t want to download the app at first, choosing to visit the website on safari when I needed it instead. I didn’t want the app to take up all kinds of space on my phone when I rarely used it.
And then it dawned on me how often I was having to go to safari and type in the website, and how long that took me each time I wanted a word’s definition or synonym. Also, the app doesn’t take up that much space…I was just stubborn. So I caved and downloaded it. And I use it all the time! It’s ridiculously handy to be able to open the app and have what I need within seconds. I don’t only use it when I’m writing, either. There are countless occasions in my every day life—conversations, coming across a word while I read—where the dictionary app proves endlessly useful. I’ve essentially got a dictionary and a thesaurus in my pocket at all times.
Last but certainly not least, is good ol’ Pinterest. Pinterest is a treasure trove of inspiration and resources! Essentially anything I need is on Pinterest: tutorials, ideas, motivation, advice, useful websites, and even a space to market and connect with others in my niche or who share my interests. I have a million Pinterest boards because I literally consult Pinterest about everything. The only downside to this site and app is that I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve lost to the endless browsing fun…
Like I said before, I am always on the hunt for new, new, new. What tools do you swear by? Got any tips for using the tools I’ve listed above to their maximum potential? What resources can you not live without? Let me know!