Apologies – I know this post is delayed compared to my last, but it has been a chaotic few weeks. As promised in my previous post, I will be discussing a number of what I consider to be ‘useful tools’ for writers.
We’re all familiar with the basic tools of writing: pen, paper, sticky notes, whatever variation of software you prefer to use on a laptop (MS Word, Notepad etc.). However, there are a few additional tools you may not use which can come in handy. Here is a list of those I feel are important.
- MS Word outline functionality. If you have Microsoft Word, you may not be familiar with this application. It allows you to create a chapter by chapter outline, so that if you have produced your novel chapters all in the same document, you can momentarily get rid of any chapters you don’t want to focus on to avoid clutter & encourage streamlined working. Simply click ‘view’ in the top menu and select ‘outline.’
- Thesaurus in MS Word. This tool is well known, but it’s useful to highlight all the same. When you’re struggling for alternative words, simply highlight the current word you are using, go to your review tab and select the thesaurus icon. Remember, before replacing your current word, you need to ensure your new word has the right type of tone and meaning that you require.
- Social media. This is especially useful if you’re going along the route of self-publishing as you will need to start putting together a marketing plan for your book (you can begin a marketing campaign a couple of months before release for good results – with teaser snippets of your book, cover reveals and competitions for free copies). You might want to take a crash course in different social media platforms and make an informed decision of what works for you. This subject is too in depth to talk about in this particular blog entry, but if you follow my blog I will ensure I cover the best types of social media platforms from my experience and different ways you can use them.
- Grammarly. I do believe writers need to be creative and need to put in the time and effort to hone their craft. I also believe grammar and punctuation can hold a writer back – which is a shame. Why let a good idea go to waste? English especially is not the most user-friendly language. This is why I think Grammarly is a great app. It works seamlessly on your computer and is probably the most accurate application I have found so far to correct errors that MS Word misses. For more information, visit: https://www.grammarly.com/.
- Alternative website of interest. This is a great website full of additional tools that I discovered when researching: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/29-writing-tools-and-resources/. I especially like the ‘dangerous writing app’ on here, because if you stop writing for more than 3 seconds, you lose all your work. Say goodbye to procrastination!
- Split screening. Not sure how this works for Macs, but on a Windows computer, you can split screen your tabs the following way: i) click on one of your windows ii) hold down the windows icon button on your keyboard iii) click the left or right arrow key to send the window to the desired side of your screen & repeat the process for your other window using the opposite arrow key. This is useful if you have saved your book chapters in separate documents and want to compare two chapters for consistency ie. spelling of a character’s name.