Must have software for writers. (week 5)

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Is there a software that every writer must have?

Wouldn’t any old word-processor be a perfect software for writers?
Because if you think about it, writers were doing just fine even before computers were invented.
So are we spoiled or are we spending all this time looking for a perfect software because we like to procrastinate?
Well, the best writing software already exists and if you have ever used internet then you know it’s called Scrivener.
So stop looking and start writing.

I knew about Scrivener for as long as I have been looking for a perfect writing program, but I did not get it until recently. And although I did not yet learn about all its features I got to say that I am extremely impressed. But I still choose to use three different programs to fulfill my writing goals. Because for the three steps in my writing process I like to have software that can only do the things I want it to and no more. Every extra option becomes a distraction for me.

Writing process.

1. The outline is the first step in my writing process. I outline everywhere I go and every opportunity I get. I try to make as detailed the outline as I possibly can because writing becomes much easier.
2. Actual writing is the second step in my writing process. Once I have my outline and I know what I will be writing I like to do just that, only that, and as fast as I can.
3. Rewriting and editing are the last and the longest step. My writing is pretty raw, so once I’m done the work starts. I actually never got this far because I never had enough raw writing. But I have been writing so much lately I think I will be here in the coming months.

Every writer has a different process and takes different steps to fulfill their writing goals. But I think that using simpler software, especially in early stages, can only benefit the writer. Think of it this way: if you were a photographer who only does color correction you wouldn’t want to use Photoshop, although one of its millions of options is a color correction. You would use a program that only does color correction because, it would be much easier to navigate, it would not require a powerful computer, and it would likely take less time to process a photograph.

So break down your writing process into clear steps and get a program that only fulfills that task.

The best software for outlining.

1. Moleskin pocket notebook – No I’m not talking about the app. The actual pocket notebook is amazing. You can carry it anywhere, it don’t require a battery, nor a connection to the internet.
2. Notes (apple) – Once you enable this little app to synchronize over the cloud will find out how convenient it is.
3. Evernote – The free version of this note taking service is available on nearly every device. So, you can have your notes synchronized across all of your devices.
4. Google Docs – Available all mainstream phones and can be accessed from a web browser what else can you ask for?

The best software for actual writing.

1. iA Writer (ios) – My favorite writing software, because that’s all it does. There no distractions here so I can turn it on and start writing.
2. WriteMonkey (windows) – Was my writing software of choice before I switched to Mac. It’s basically the same as iA, except it’s free.

The best software for rewriting, editing, and organizing.

1. Scrivener – Imagine you are writing the first chapter for your novel. To start, you take 4 flash cards, one for each scene. On the front, you write a short summary of what will happen in each scene. When you flip the cards you have unlimited space to write the actual scene.
As you write the scenes you can move them around by moving the flash cards on the back of which the scenes are written. You can also organize these flash cards into stacks, which become chapters. Then you can move the stacks around if you decided that the chapter you have written should be later in the book.
To top all if of, Scrivener has areas to track your characters, settings, and reference materials. And when you are done it will get the document ready for publication.

2. Microsoft Word – Word is a powerful writing tool, so powerful that most of the writer’s tools are buried in thousands of its settings. (It’s a photoshop of writing tools. So spend some time to master this beasty program, you won’t regret it.)  If you are using Word and are not using styles then I highly recommend you learn how asap.
3. Pages – Especially now that it’s free there is really not reason not to use it. It’s a powerful writing software and it really wants you to use styles.

To find a perfect writing program that will fit your needs you need to:

  1. Break down your writing process into steps.
  2. Look for a program that fulfill only one of those steps at a time.

Do you know an amazing writing program that you want me to add to my list? Let me know in the comments, because I’m sure there are hundreds of them. 😀


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