You can write the next great novel with a pencil and paper but there are so many tools that make the job quicker and easier now. This is what it looks like for me:
Pen and paper will do the trick but it’s not all that efficient. If you’re serious about writing, and writing quickly, you need a computer. I love my Macbook Air because it runs forever, is light as a feather, and I can take it wherever I go. I write at home for the most part, but there are days when I need to get out of the house and change my scenery- having a laptop is invaluable for this. Before I got my Macbook I would use an iPad with a cover that had a bluetooth keyboard, but a full-sized keyboard is infinitely easier.
The most robust program I’ve ever used has to be Scrivener. If you’re a plotter who loves to write scene by scene, there is probably no better program. I will admit though, having given it several college tries, it’s not for me. I don’t breakdown my chapters by scene and I spend more time setting up my folders in Scrivener than I do writing.
I’ve made my peace with being most comfortable with simply writing each chapter as I go in a single document. I’m a Mac user from way back, so I use Pages instead of Word. It’s efficient, there are no distractions, and to me it’s about as close to a typewriter as you can get, without actually typing on, you know, a typewriter.
Vellum is something new that I’m trying with the Last Alive series. Vellum allows you to import your .docx file and output a beautiful book. It takes care of formatting and so far I really like the simplified interface. The program is free to download but it will cost you about $30 for each book you want formatted, or you can buy an unlimited subscription for considerably more. I’ll give a full review once I’ve gone through the process.
A lot of writers I know swear by Evernote. I’ve tried it and like it too, but still find myself saving pdfs in a folder on my desktop. I think if I did a lot of researching on my phone or iPad I’d use the Evernote app, but right now it’s kind of like Scrivener for me- I can see the value but at this point it slows me down.
Pinterest is a good source of images if you’re a visual person. I have an account solely for writing inspiration which I’ll probably make public after the book is published.
I’ve got stacks of notebooks filled with things I want to remember, news articles, ideas etc. and right above my desk I have a bulletin board for the same purpose.
Throw a rock and you’ll find an online forum for whatever your jam is, and this is certainly true for writers. Local writing groups are great for face to face contact and critique. Writing is a solitary business and sometimes it’s good to get out and talk to actual people, either in person or online.
I don’t do a lot of social media. This is probably a mistake. I did sign up for Twitter a few days ago (jury is still out but I like reading the tweets of my favorite authors and film people) and I might give Instagram a try. Facebook doesn’t interest me at all. When a new writer has a book that’s been picked up for publication, the publisher always makes them set up a twitter account, though.
It only takes a few minutes a day to do social media well, but right now it’s not for me. Once I have more time and the Last Alive series is finished this might change.
The alarm goes off at 6 am, I make coffee and start writing. I’ll go for an hour or three, stopping only for more coffee. Waking up early does not come naturally for me– I’m a night owl who has seen the wrong side of sunrise too many mornings. I love the night and I share my life with a couple of other equally nocturnal humans. But I need quiet to work, and I can only get that in the early morning before anyone else is up. So for now I run on 4 hours of sleep and a lot of caffeine.
So that’s a synopsis of my writing life. How do you write?