Because this is a topic rarely discussed when people want to know more basic things, like where ideas come from, how many drafts are needed, etc. It was discussed at Balticon and I thought I would plant my hardware and software flags and invite your curiosity, scorn and possibly some admiration?

Macbook Pro – Mainly because Scrivener is a Mac program and because it shuts down in less than 3 seconds when my bus is pulling up to my stop. (Windows is great for gaming, but using it for writing as I did when I ‘got serious’ in 2003-2006 was a constant series of annoyances and hitting speed bumps.)

Kodak ESP 7250 printer – I am not a fan of printers in general, but this thing seems able to do anything pretty easily.

Scrivener – I write short stories and novels in it. I love the project approach where I can store notes, research, drafts and so on in one place. I wish I could use this program at my day job. It is perfect for fiction writing of all kinds, and even nonfiction.

Evernote – Taking notes, drafting stories or story ideas when I only have my phone, or the note is not big enough for a Scrivener project. Evernote syncs across your devices, so your notes are always available when you are back on line.

Touch-typing – When you want to punch out words, and you haven’t invented a new interface that plugs right into your brain, you can’t have your typing slow you down. So learn how to type properly. That is, type using all ten fingers, without looking at the keyboard, at about 40-60 words a minute. A lot of writers like to write long hand, or hunt and peck on the keyboard: that is simply inefficient and ineffective, and probably cover for fearing the tech. Or not: some really feel their prose quality improves with pen and paper. Also don’t bother learning touch-typing with QWERTY, because it’s counterproductive.

Dvorak keyboard layout – I can always think faster than I can type, even with a keyboarding course and twenty years of typing experience. The Dvorak keyboard layout is simply much faster and easier to use than QWERTY. It’s also much easier to learn and will greatly reduce the chances of carpal tunnel trouble because your fingers travel much less. You can change it right now on a PC or a Mac. Both consider it like a foreign language.

Pen and paper – for idea generation, making drawings, lists, etc. I am pre-digital enough that sometimes I just need to go old school. I don’t actually write this way, but make mind-maps, pictures, lists, names, stuff I can scribble and scratch out quickly.

Others: common in these types of discussions or posts about writerly tools is parlor-debater prank, who mentions your eyes, your heart, your experiences, the internet, a breathable atmosphere, etc. I won’t insult your intelligence; I know why you are reading this and why I’m writing it.

Please tell me what you use, and if you think there is something I should check into. Maybe next time I’ll bloggerate on writing process and technique, and you can pound on me

Happy writing out there-

Writer tools I use
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One thought on “Writer tools I use

  • June 6, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I might also put LyX into the mix. Neat way to customize workspace views/duo-screen. Although it’s hokie, I use a lot of character sheets and Lyx let’s you place the sheet side-by-side your workspace–I find the character note mechanism in Scrivener can be a bit clunky for quick-referencing.

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