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Useful non-writing writing tools

This is a strange thing to admit, but I used to collect writing tools. Not in a cool way I might add – I don’t have a collection of antique pens to show you (although like a lot of writers, I have more notebooks than I know what to do with). I just love finding fun ways to use digital tools as a way to procrastinate from my writing, whilst also sort-of staying on task.  

So here are the best ones in my personal collection.

1) Diagram software

If you’re stuck in your plot or are planning your novel, diagrams are great tools to help you visualize your thoughts. You can draw these by hand, but I like to use software just as Gliffy to keep them on screen with my work. 

2) Avatar creators  

If – like me – you can’t draw, think about what your characters look like by creating them using an avatar designer. There are plenty of free ones online like this one (and they can be quite fun to use).  

3) Pinterest

Not an app that’s widely in use anymore, but it still remains a useful way to think about a story aesthetic and create a visual depiction of characters, settings and themes. Here’s one I made earlier.  

4) Cloud backup

You only lose all your work once. These days, I save all my work straight to the cloud (I use Box) as well as emailing it to myself frequently too. This can also be a handy way of accessing your book across multiple devices too.  

5) Graphic Design tools

Need to create some marketing assets but have no idea what you’re doing? Thankfully, graphic design apps such as Canva exist to make things a little easier. You can even find eBook cover templates on there! 

What tools do you use? Add to the collection below!

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Replies (2)
    • Strictly non-digital for me: coloured pencils and occasionally a n° 2 unipin fine line, especially useful in understanding an elusive minor character physically and also psychologically; sometimes useful for clothes too. T-squares, a good HB pencil and an eraser for drawing floor plans or helping me visualise rooms.

      Thanks for the fun idea, Sarah.

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      • I just bought a year's subscription to Pro Writing Aid. It sits in Word on my computer and checks for about a dozen or more different issues with your writing - not just grammar and punctuation, but length of sentences, pace, sticky sentences, etc. I'm still getting used to it, so don't want to sing it's praises yet.

        Also, a few years ago, we invested in our own cloud server with two hard drives. We have two computers and everything on them is automatically backed up to the server and the server duplicates everything on each of its drives. That's what I call belts, braces and skyhooks! Because it is a cloud server we, and only we, have access to any of our documents from anywhere in the world.

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