My Essential Writing Tools

I suspect that we writers like to discuss our tools of the trade because that’s a more straightforward conversation than where our ideas come from or how we turn garbage first drafts into actual books.

Below are my tried-and-true tools that I don’t ever see changing.

  • Moleskine notebooks (lined) – If writing ever feels like a slog (perish the thought!), this is my go-to for making it fun again. I don’t know why writing by hand is fun—it just is. The notebook feels very low-stakes, like I’m writing a diary instead of a book that will someday be catalogued in the Library of Congress.
  • Scrivener – I live for the digital corkboard + index cards. (See the Scrivener digital corkboard for Darling Rose Gold—formerly titled Mother May I—above.) I need a visual representation of the novel to keep it straight in my head. Every chapter gets a note card with a one-sentence summary.
  • Word – A few years ago I tried drafting in Scrivener and didn’t like it for no reason other than it’s not Word. When I’m writing I want my screen to look the way I’m used to it looking.
  • ProWritingAid – This is a very handy Word plug-in (works with other applications too) that functions like a human proofreader. Word’s spelling and grammar checker sucks (I said what I said); this one is actually useful. I’m not a typo-heavy writer—like I can X out of a document with any red squiggles in sight, lolz—but I’m often guilty of passive voice, overused or redundant words, etc. Highly recommend.
  • The Emotion Thesaurus – I write with it by my side. Otherwise all my characters would do is smile, shrug, and raise their eyebrows.
  • Thesaurus.com – There is no single website I frequent more.

Will add more as I think of them!

This post was originally published on my Substack. You can read it here.