There are things I’ve come across in my years as a writer and editor that I’m always telling friends they must try out. Products, services, and even pens and sticky pads that make my life as a writer so much easier—and more colorful. Now I’ve collect them all in one place for your perusal.
While there is either an up-front cost or subscription fee for most of these, I swear by them as tools for just about any writer. Also, pop over to these pages for suggestions on free writing resources online and recommended books on publishing and writing.
You might have noticed that Scrivener fans are somewhat enthusiastic about this product. That’s because it’s the most amazing writing program you could ever want—and it’s made especially for writers. Follow this link for a more expansive explanation on why every writer should at least try it out. If you’re like me, you’ll immediately love it. But don’t fret if you don’t. I just like how I can tailor a writing program to fit my needs and preferences as a writer.
If you’re on a Mac, these programs can do wonders for your productivity by blocking the internet for some quiet and antisocial media time. There’s a more detailed explanation here. *Update: It appears that Freedom is available for PC, but not Anti-Social.
This might seem like an odd suggestion, but if you’ve ever been tip-tapping away at your keyboard late into the night, and your fingers start going numb from the cold, you need a good pair of fingerless gloves. I haven’t found a perfect set yet, but I’m on the lookout. One option, if you’re a knitter, is to create a pair that fits exactly as you want it to. Jodi Meadows created an awesome (free!) pattern for fingerless mitts.
Good red* pens can be impossible to find. Also, as one editor friend recently discovered, sometimes the manufacturer will change the pen’s design and ruin it. The Precise Grip Extra-Fine pens are perfect for me. They write clean and clearly, and they don’t need any time to dry, so the ink doesn’t smear. I used to really like the Precise V5 Extra Fine, but they tended to smear on glossier types of paper. I do know a lot of editors who still swear by them.
*I’ve actually developed a fondness for purple pens. It stands out like red but doesn’t look so much like you’ve murdered the manuscript.
If you’re heading into serious query mode, this is one of the best resources possible for narrowing down your list of potential agents. Publishers Marketplace is where agents and editors post recent book deals. Most agents I know have more extensive submission guidelines and details of their previous work listed here than you could find elsewhere. And since the agent updates the information herself, it is probably the most reliable source of information, minus the agent’s personal website or blog. While $20/month seems steep, you can cancel the subscription at any time, but honestly, there is even more information there that can be invaluable to serious writers. (Especially if you subscribe to the Daily Deals email newsletter, sent every morning Tuesday through Saturday. You’ll see in basically real time what editors are acquiring.)
This one isn’t just for writers, but Moo Cards are amazingly handy at writers conferences and other schmoozing activities like KidLit Drink Night. What, you ask, makes them so cool? Why, because they’re mini. The first time I saw them, a writer had pulled out her keychain with a case for business cards. I instantly fell in love, but more so once my cards arrived. They have awesome templates and images. Now I carry my cards with me everywhere, attached to my keys. And since my card case is orange, it’s so much easier to find my keys when digging through my purse.*
*Yes, I do have a magic Mary Poppins purse that holds anything you could possibly imagine. I like to be prepared.
I searched for ages to find a good template for building websites, and I finally found one. If you like the style of this website, that’s where I got it. The designs look professional and they’re so easy to use, especially since they work with WordPress.org. While there is a yearly subscription fee, you’d pay much more than $35 for even a basic personalized template. Honestly, finding Elegant Themes has finally let me relax when it comes to creating a beautiful, professional website. Hallelujah.