Lockdown life has been a difficult time for so many reasons for everyone. At the beginning, concentration was a rare bird and I was happy to find a Netflix series I could bare to watch.
But reading and writing has returned for me, and I think it has for a lot of other people as well. During this time, beginners have also turned to writing. So for both those newbies and those longtime veterans who may feel stuck, I’m offering suggestions for the writing tools that I use that help me bash out thousands of words.
These recs are also either free or low cost, so hopefully something or a mix can be within everyone’s reach.
- Scrivener: This is the classic writing tool for writers. It is powerful software that can be used for all sorts of projects: book length and short story manuscripts, scripts, dissertations, you name it. I also use it for multiple drafts of articles and all sorts of editorial projects. Find what you need it for and don’t get bogged down in all of its super powers. £/$ – Free Trial available
- Scapple: Mind mapping. A recent find. When your notebook doesn’t cut it anymore. £/$ – Free Trial available
- OmmWriter: Elegant distraction-free writer. My favourite part about this is the typewriter key sounds every time you type. You can make it silent, have ambient sounds, different keystrokes or a combo. It’s a simple word processor with no grammar/spell-check and I always have a high word count when using it. £/$ – Interactive demo available
- Pure Writer: This is another distraction-free writer, but with a bit more oomph. I also have a Chromebook that I use when travelling around (travel–how novel). As much as I love my Chromebook, it doesn’t support Scrivener. So I need something similar as Google Docs (or the like) just doesn’t cut it for me when it comes to creative writing. It allows you to organise much like Scrivener but is a simple text editor. There is also a note taking aspect. I set the typewriter feature which greys out all previous lines, which allows me to only focus on the present. FREE (there is an upgrade, but for now, the Free version is fine for me)
- Writers’ HQ: This is not software, but an excellent resource that I found during the lockdown period. During the best of times, they run in-person retreats to motivate writers towards their targets, but these past weeks, they’ve hosted free online writing retreats. I highly recommend these. I’ve written thousands of [messy] words but I’ve still written more than on my own. Also, WHQ has many other resources that they have thrown online. Free resources (if you have the cash to spare they also have monthly or annual memberships)
Are there any tools you use for creative writing and productivity?