Do we need a lot of ‘stuff’ in order to write? Well no, we don’t, we could easily get going with a pencil and paper, but there are some things I would hate to do without and so I have decided to share my favourite writer’s resources with you and I am sure you will find them as helpful as I do.
This is first on my absolutely necessary list. If I had to I suppose I could manage without a computer. I have had to do it in the past but my memories of writing in longhand aren’t good.
Writing by hand was a lot of work and I don’t just mean the writing, because the editing and rewriting process was much more difficult without the ability to delete, cut and paste etc.
When my story or script was ready I would type it up on an electric typewriter. If I found a typing error I would use Tipex for corrections. If I had to use the Tipex it would make the page look messy and I would have to photocopy it. The Tipex didn’t show up on the copy so didn’t look so bad. If that wasn’t enough of a pain in the neck, if I missed a word it was a disaster, as I would have to retype the whole page.
This is why I don’t have any romantic illusions about writing in long hand, or on old-fashioned typewriters, not even an old corona. It was a sheer hard slog and I don’t look back on those days with fondness at all.
Having said all that, I have to add that I did rediscover the joys of hand writing when I found myself writing short stories in bed as I recovered from surgery and you can read about what I learned here.
Now, I use a laptop for creative writing and a desktop for writing and editing the images etc., for my websites. I don’t think I could do even half as much work as I do now if I had to use a pen and paper.
I would be the last person to call myself a grammar Nazi – to me story is everything. However, that doesn’t mean we should be so careless that we turn our readers off – with pages containing so many errors that the stories are unreadable.
We all make mistakes, even grammar Nazis, however, if you are serious about your writing, you will do your absolute best to get your grammar, punctuation and spelling right.
If you want to learn more about grammar and check your own, I highly recommend ‘The Oatmeal.’ They provide lots of information on grammar, spelling and punctuation, and more importantly they do it in a clear, concise and very much a fun way.
I use Final Draft software for script writing. It was really easy to learn and apart from funding your feature film script, it does everything a script writer could possibly want. I wouldn’t want to do without this now.
Those of you who write scripts will already know they have to be formatted in a very particular way. Before I had Final Draft I had to use tabs and spacing to manually format each and every one of my script pages.
This was a time-consuming nuisance. These days, I really appreciate having this done for me automatically by the Final Draft software so I can be free to focus on the script. Final Draft is also the industry standard and so you can be sure that your work is formatted correctly and is of professional standard.
Scrivener is a very affordable piece of software and a fantastic writing tool. Apart from providing writers with a great environment to write in, it has loads of helpful features like my own favourite cork board outline layout which enables you to drag and drop chapters in and out as you wish. The best thing is being able to see all the chapters, together with a mini-synopsis of your novel, on one screen. This makes it much easier to structure your novel.
You can write in full screen with no distractions if you prefer and I find this extremely helpful when I really need to focus. It is particularly useful for self-publishers as you can choose the output. For example you can choose to output in the correct format for publishing to Kindle or any of the other online outlets.
NOTES AND RESEARCH
I am also an Evernote devotee and for me its main purpose is making my writing life easier. I love having everything in one place and I use Evernote all the time.
I have designated a notebook for every writing project with notes on character, research, locations, plot points etc. and have found it really useful. You can attach documents to notebooks, insert images link to websites and much more. It also has easy search options and tags so you can find anything you want in seconds.
In addition I have Evernote notebooks for each of my websites and I find it is a great way for keeping track of my posts and pages, as well as for being a great tool in planning for future posts.
Recently I have started using it for organizing my home life as well and I even have a garden notebook to keep track of my plants and progress and make notes of the jobs I need to do for each season. Since I write about my gardening on my www.gracelikestogarden.com website it is essential for me to keep track of all my gardening notes and lists.
Evernote has a huge range of functions and is useful for all sorts of people and purposes, but for a writer with a range of projects it is one of the best ways I know for keeping it all under control and leaving you, the writer, free to get on with the writing.
There is a free version available which is great but if you want to avail of enhanced facilities you can upgrade to their premium version.
BLOGGING FOR WRITERS
For writers who blog WordPress is a wonderful asset. It provides everything you need to create your site, is free and more importantly, it is easy to learn. There are two versions to consider: WordPress.org and WordPress.com
If you go with WordPress.com the hosting service is provided free but there are some restrictions, particularly if you want to carry advertising or if you want to make some money from your site as you are not allowed to do this. You will also carry their address at the end of your domain name. Some people find it more professional to keep their domain names specific to their own name or business name.
You are limited to using their themes and plugins as well as the amount of space available. They also retain the right to advertise on your site – unless you pay to remove them.
With wordpress.org you have access to any free and commercial themes and plugins you want. You can place your own adverts and affiliate links and will have full control over your own content with no adverts – unless they are yours!
The service is free but is not hosted so you will need to find a hosting service for your site – this will incur a cost However, there are lots of providers out there and you should have no problem finding one that suits your budget and your own range of skills.
I personally use Hostgator. Originally I tried another well-known service provider but I changed as soon as I could. The reason was the support. I needed really good support especially at first and it just wasn’t being provided for me.
The hosting service in question was merely pointing me towards their ‘questions and answers’ pages rather than engaging with me directly. That level and style of service might be fine for someone with experience but I, like most beginners needed more direct communication than that.
I am much happier with the service since moving to Hostgator. They provide live chat – online technical support as well as email support which is fast and efficient.
I have found them to be extremely good at explaining things in non-technical terms. When my site was subjected to brute force attacks they were very helpful and supported me throughout the problem without any harm to my site.
The attack on my site was a difficult time for me as you can imagine, and their support was crucial. This is why I recommend them so highly and another reason why I decided to become an affiliate for them.
Another free website provider is Blogger. This is Google’s free blogging tool for creating blogs. These sites also great for beginners because they are simple to use and you are allowed to advertise on them and monetize them.
But, there aren’t yet quite as many additional features on Blogger as on WordPress and as you become more experienced you might find you start to need more features. However, keep an eye on them, they are constantly changing and updating their service as time goes on. It really is a great blogging platform – and best of all it is entirely free.
BLOGGING INFORMATION AND EDUCATION
If you are just starting to blog then you also need a good source of clear information to steer you over the learning course.
SMART PASSIVE INCOME
There are plenty of sites out there showing you how to get started blogging but in my opinion, Smart Passive Income, owned by Pat Flynn, is one of the best. Pat puts loads of free information on this site. He has recorded lots of really useful podcasts, which you can download, listen to and learn from for free.
More importantly, for writers who are just learning the fundamentals of blogging, Pat Flynn is also a great teacher and his how-to pages are really clearly written so you can follow the instructions without getting bogged down in techno-speak. For me and many of my writer friends this is a major plus.
HOW TO START A BLOG
Another really useful writer’s resource is a site called: How To Start A Blog. This site provides an easy to follow step-by-step guide on starting and growing a blog, including choosing a domain name and hosting company, setting up WordPress, and publishing your first post.
I hope you found this information about writers resources helpful. I will be returning to this page to update and add resources as I come across them. In the meantime don’t forget to download your free creative writing tracker. As a resource this is very simple yet useful so give it a try, and enjoy the satisfaction and renewed motivation you will get from tracking your writing sessions.
Best of luck with all your writing.
P.S. In the interests of transparency please note that some of the links here are affiliate links. This does not cost you anything and I will earn a small commission if you decide to purchase using one of these links.
These small commissions help me towards the cost of providing all the information and services I provide for free on this site. I am only affiliated to products I use personally and which I genuinely find very useful. I would absolutely never recommend any product I do not use myself.