Friday Writing Question, tools

Hi gang, Craig here again. We take turns on Fridays, and the assignments are rotating. This time my task is to pose a writing question. Seems simple enough, but I also want to get some comments flowing. Here we go:

What writing tools do you use? Why do you prefer them?

I write on an Apple iPad Pro. The original oversized one. I like the ability to use the split screen. It helps when I’m writing the interviews I host on my site. I have the Smart Keyboard too. This has no batteries, and attaches magnetically to the iPad. It parasites power from the iPad.

I know I’m already different, but I write with Apple Pages as my word processor. There was a learning curve, but I’m content with it. I can copy and paste with my finger on the iPad and type on the keyboard. It allows me to set up indents and spacing how I like it. I know other programs will do this too, but there you are. Everything updates to the cloud too.

I also use my Apple Notes app a lot. This is for random ideas, and the occasional cool name I stumble across. I have pens and paper, but my adaptation to the electronic age is complete. I even read on the iPad using a Kindle app. Honestly, if I had to change typewriter ribbons I probably wouldn’t write.

I know what some folks prefer, like P. H. Solomon. Is anyone still using a typewriter? A goose quill and papyrus?

Entertaining Stories

62 thoughts on “Friday Writing Question, tools

  1. I’m with Staci: pen and paper for outlines, Scrivener (Windows) for the serious stuff. Sprang for the Scrivener app as well so I can work on a project “remotely”. I also use OneNote to keep track of characters, setting, timelines, research, etc. I took Karen Wiesner’s worksheets from “30 Days to a First Draft” and made a “master” OneNote notebook, which I copy for each book. It’s so interesting to see how many people use Word as their primary tool. Personally, I only use Word to do the last-minute formatting, because even though I use it, I hate it. It can be a b***h to format some things in Word.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:

    I write with a 2-in-1 laptop. I like the conversion to tablet when I need it. I also prefer the SSD drive. Scrivener keeps me well-organized for writing. I’m learning Dragon to get faster at writing through dictation. My Dropbox is invaluable. What tools are important for your writing?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard a lot about Scrivener (lots on this blog site) but like you, Craig, I’m not sure I’m up for the learning curve. I use Word in Office 365 and have Grammerly attached as an add-on. I can’t imagine writing a novel with pen on paper. It would take FOREVER!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a MacBook Air and use Word 365 for my writing. I can’t imagine pen and paper, I’m a lefty and my handwriting is atrocious! lol.
    I have a couple of handy tools to mention; Microsoft OneNote- this program is indispensable to me. It’s like a notebook and filing cabinet all in one. I set up folders for each book, then add pages for background info, research, excerpts, blurb, whatever you want. Very easy to use.
    The other thing I wanted to mention is Vellum. This program is only available to Apple users at the moment, but it makes formatting a breeze! You simply upload your Word manuscript, add front and back matter, and you’re set to go. It gives you options for style, drop caps, font, and adding pictures. If you buy the print version you end up with a cohesive package for all your books. Highly recommend both of these programs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I write mostly on a PC with Word, using Office 365. But I also hop over to my Mac with Office 365. Depends if I want to be comfy in a reclining chair (Mac) or at my desk with a large monitor and flat solar-powered keyboard (PC). I’m like Marcia in that I make separate folders for each book then load them with sub-folders devoted to notes, research, photos, etc. I’ve also got several notebooks where I scratch out thoughts by hand.

    One of these I’m actually going to take the time to learn Scrivner. I bought it several years ago and still haven’t fiddled around with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It wasn’t until three years ago that I moved from the PC world to Mac. I’ve never regretted it. However, before I retired I used Microsoft Office professional and over the years became a power user. When I tried using Mac’s Pages, I found it limited. I moved over to Office for the Mac. Just like John Howell, I found the Mac version of Office limited compared to the PC version. I investigated Office 365 and so far have found no difference in either version. Some of the software attachment programs for Word and Excell won’t work with the Mac, but that’s nothing to do with Microsoft. I love the ability to use my notes application when I’m away from my computer, I can dictate the note. When I return to my Mac, the note is available. BTW – great post and good discussion. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I use a MacBook Pro. I have it loaded with Microsoft Office and use Word. The sad thing is for formatting and publishing I have to go to a PC for easier results. The Microsoft suite for Apple is not as robust (I wonder why? ha ha)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am a Scrivener user.

    As a backup, I always carry paper and pen with me in case I have an idea, and I have paper/pens strategically placed around my house. I have also sent WIP copy to myself in an email.

    MS Word is also an option when Scrivener isn’t available.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I tried Scrivener and discovered it was great fun, playing with index cards and outlines, etc. Trouble was, I spent more time doing all of that than I did actually writing. I’ve tried a couple of other programs, but I find Word is my favorite, hands down. I have my templates set up so that each book is consistent, and I draft all my chapters that way. I’m very fond of using the Read Aloud feature as I go, to be sure the rhythm sounds right to me, and I don’t have any missed words.

    No outlines for me, now that I discovered they are a waste of time, because I don’t follow them. Instead, I set up a What If sheet, where I randomly toss out ideas for myself. But nothing structured, as it just doesn’t work for me, so I don’t need anything but a main folder for each book, with any research, maps, etc, tucked in there for ease of use.

    On keyboards, I have a real problem with repetitive stress syndrome, and have to use a big, ergonomic “split” keyboard, so I write at my desk, in front of my PC. While I’m pretty familiar with most technology, I think, especially for someone of my somewhat “advanced” years, I stick to the basics. Full sized PC with a large monitor, a comfy desk chair, a corkboard wall behind the desk with inspiration photos, and a vase with flowers from my garden. I find “pretty” makes me feel good, and roses make me think harder, type faster, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. 😉

    Interesting topic, Craig, especially seeing how many folks use Scrivener. They are obviously way more focused than I. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

      • I love the image! Not sure how much writing I’d get done, what with all the bulldog ears to scratch and all, but still. It would be worth it, just for the smile factor.

        I WAS a fan of Scrivener, at first. The bulletin boards and file cards were all great fun. But alas. I’m such a geek at heart, I spent way too much time playing, and not nearly enough writing. I do better in Word, where there are fewer distractions. 😀 (I’m a simple soul.)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I often use pen and paper to outline—something about the tactile process helps me plot out a story. But then I type the outline in Scrivener and write from there. I’ll never go back to a word processor for writing. On one screen in Scrivener, I can see my outline and a list of characters and scenes and research, and with one click, still in-app, I can get more information on any of those things. I’d have to have several different windows or screens to do that in Word.

    Editing, though? Always Word. It’s easiest to track changes, and that’s the kind of file my clients send me, anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I use Scrivener on my PC for the outline, first, and second drafts. Then I transfer it over to Word for the final drafts and edits. The disadvantage is, Scrivener isn’t set up for the iPad yet, so when I travel, if I want to work on my WIP, I need my laptop. Well, unless the WIP is in its final stages. Then I can call up Microsoft Office on my iPad.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links | Staci Troilo

  13. I’m a PC girl (though I do have an iPhone). I use the basic Word and love it. I know the program well enough to format it both for digital and print, so I haven’t needed to spend time learning something new. I have two monitors so it makes it easy for me to edit or research while I’m writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I swear by Scrivener. I still haven’t learned even a fraction of what it offers, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t be without it anymore. I use Apple computer for main writing. I use my iPad for note making, but it’s not the big one, so it is clumsy for writing too long a scene on. Very occasionally I will handwrite, especially for haiku or flash fiction, but I tell you, I often then can’t read my own writing when I go back to it, lols!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. We were only talking the other day about all the different systems I have used over the years, prompted by a programme we were watching, where someone was using a typewriter. I was amazed by how noisy they were/are. How on earth did we ever tolerate that?

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Ulysses, IAWriter, Word….all great options on desktops/laptops and tablets. For both Windows and Mac I wrote 2 detailed articles about writing tools, back in January on my freelance related site (main).

    Liked by 2 people

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