I’m going to share my top five writing tools, which many of you will love. Many others will hate this list and tell me how bad these tools are, and theirs are way, way better because writers are like snowflakes and this is why we can’t have nice things on the Internet.
1 — SCRIVENER. Fact: Scrivener cost me thousands when it was a Mac exclusive. I bought a MacBook to use Scrivener, and now I have a MacBook, a bunch of iPads, an Apple TV, a Mac Mini, and I am actively keeping the Steve Jobs estate flush will billions of dollars until the end of time. Now it’s available on Windows. Joke’s on me!
Also, Scrivener is loaded with critical tools for organizing your writing, and I love using it. It turns writing into a fancy experience when you have to open up a special program just for writers, and I can jump from chapter to chapter and save versions of individual documents. I’d come up with more benefits, but I’m pretty sure there are some colleges that offer master’s degrees on Scrivener and all the complicated stuff you can do with it. Count me as a pleased customer using roughly 1 percent of its total capability.
2 — GRAMMARLY. I didn’t know this even existed for a long time. About two months ago I signed up, and learned that I’m a horrible writer who should shred my English degree, burn it, then send the ashes back to the colleges silly enough to certify me as educated.
Apparently, I have no idea how to use commas. Don’t believe me? Check out this report card:
On the bright side, my vocabulary is about as baller as that villain from THE LAST BOY SCOUT, and if there are any typos in this, don’t blame me, blame the geniuses over at Grammarly.
You can try it free, but there’s a paid service, and trust me, if you’re even remotely interested in Grammarly, just pony up the dough for the full suite of services. It also checks for plagiarism, for all you dishonorable types that watched THE WORDS too many times.
You can’t use Grammarly with Scrivener, but you can copy the text from a Scrivener chapter into Grammarly, edit it there, then paste it right back in. Ideal for self-edits, and entirely removes any of those meticulously italicized words. That’s both a pro and a con. You shouldn’t be italicizing as much as you do, snowflake writer, and if you do, be prepared to find a workaround if you want to use this trick.
3 — SECOND MONITOR. You can use one offset monitor to throw up all of your notes or a thesaurus or Grammarly (see what I did there?) or an outline, or maybe your text client or your Facebook feed if you want to be distracted as much as possible. I don’t know how to live without a second monitor, and that’s not just because it makes me feel like I’m a hoodie-wearing honorary member of the Mr. Robot cast.
4 — FINAL DRAFT. The industry standard for writing scripts, and you can export your early Scrivener drafts (yes, Scrivener does screenwriting as well!) into the FDX format. Also useful for sitting on your desktop and allowing you to fantasize about that day you’re going to write a brilliant pilot script or adapt your own novel into a feature film. Goals are important!
Final Draft is also easy to use, and the desktop icon is amazing, it’s like if writers had an NFL team, that would totally be on the helmet.
5 — POCKET. I know there’s a lot of you Evernote fanboys out there about to shit a brick, but I have both and prefer Pocket because Evernote is just too damn organized.
For the uninitiated: Pocket allows you to save just about anything you encounter online or on social media for reading, viewing, or using at a later time. You just pop a button, and it gets saved to your Pocket account. Evernote, from my experience, allows you to do this with the added features of organizing things into folders and generally having a whole lot more going on.
So because Pocket allows me to click one time as opposed to a few times, Pocket wins. I’ll use my Pocket as a holding area, and later on, I may sweep some useful nuggets into my Evernote.
I’d list Evernote as another valuable writer’s tool, but that’s six things, and five is way more listicle worthy, wouldn’t you say?