Resources I Use
Pen & Paper
There’s something to be said about the classics. I always have a notebook handy and my pretty blue needle tip 0.3 pen. Sometimes when I have to work out a troubling scene or when I write myself into a corner, nothing works better than pen and paper.
Again, the ability to color-code and move things around are why I love using Scrivener. It’s easy to get lost in the planning stages, but if I police myself properly, Scrivener saves more time than it costs.
Editing & Feedback
I moved from a hustling and bustling major city where I knew zero writers in real life, to the middle of nowhereville, only to meet some of the most dedicated tight-knit writers I’ve ever known. We meet once at week at different local libraries, and sometimes on weekends when we miss each other too much. I’m so glad I found them.
I’ve been on Scrib for a couple years now and I still log in almost every day. I have a couple core groups that I stay active in, and love watching everyone’s progress. It’s a great way to get instant feedback on a chapter that’s giving me trouble.
Planning & Plotting
What drew me to Plotist was the timeline feature. I’d wasted many days trying to mold other timeline software into what I needed. Then someone in a writing group suggested Plotist and I haven’t bothered with other programs since. My absolute favorite thing about Plotist is the pretty colors. It fits perfectly with my style of organization. I also use Plotist when I’m having a rough writing day. Logging in and seeing my characters, tweaking the timeline, adding descriptions of things; it all gets me re-excited about the book and I can’t wait to start typing..
I created an outline template in Excel to carry me through the process. Often, I don’t have the full idea before I start writing. Just a few key points, especially farther down the line in an established series. I have different tabs for where I am in the process. High Level, Part by Part, Chapter, and Series Arc. The spreadsheet helps me keep track of the big picture, and it’s easy to print out and take with me in my calendar.
I have a button on my phone that takes me directly to Google Keep, even in sleep mode. Ideas fly at me all the time and plots work themselves out in the strangest of places. I pop open the Google Keep app and jot down or dictate my notes. I don’t go back to this document until I finish the first draft, then fix all the things I thought about while driving, usually.
I read all the time. Sometimes I read books about writing. I love those! Story Grid and Book Architecture are my favorites, and Emotion Thesaurus is a life saver! Most of the time I’m reading for enjoyment and that’s the fastest way to inspiration.
Nothing gets me in a writing mood more than listening to a writing podcast. Typically I listen while driving or early in the morning before my coworkers arrive. I save up episodes depending on what stage of writing I’m in; planning, editing, marketing, despair.
If I need information, I go for the free stuff first. Of course I practically live at the library. Wikipedia is great for a crash course on something you just NEED to know to finish this sentence or get that number right. Pinterest boards are great for descriptions. Since a lot of my current books dip their toes into technology and space, I check out NASA’s site a lot, and follow a bunch of super smart people on social media. I subscribe to newsletters about important things to my current series and ones I’m planning for the future. I also have Google alerts set up for key terms pertaining to those novels, to keep up with the times.
Pacemaker Press has become one of my favorite tools. In short it’s a word count tracker, like the one they use for NaNoWriMo. I plot my word count and deadline, how hard I want to work on certain days (weekends, and such) and go. By updating my word count every day, it will change how many I need to get each day after, depending on how well or bad I did. This is another one that keeps me going when I’m having a rough day. I track every 200 or so words at first, just to see the graph move, and before I know it, I’m at 2k and not sure how I got there.
This is a goldmine of writing and marketing advice. I’ve been reading everything on his blog for a long time now. I think I’ve made it through the archive. I subscribe to his newsletter and use the free tools. Recently I purchased KDP Rocket and I’m already noticing the difference.