Every artist has tools to help them succeed, whether you are Leonardo da Vinci, or the budding artist with paper and crayons (heaven forbid they started on the wall, but who knows where they’re moved to create). In days past, most writers have paper and pen. Today, we’ve migrated to laptops, smart phones, iPads, Twitter and blogs.

Corrina Lawson wrote on Wired.com, “Top 10 Geeky Things You Don’t Know About Romance Writers.”  She stated, “Before I started reading and writing romance novels, I never would have thought there was anything remotely geeky about romance writers. Wrong, wrong, wrong. They’re some of the most geeky people on the planet.”

And is she ever so right!

What works? What doesn’t? For each writer, it can be different, but a few tools truly help revolutionize your writing process. This is a new list of the ones I’ve found to be the most helpful (I’ve deleted the obvious ones like computers, websites, Facebook and Twitter.):

  • Google Docs – Don’t want to buy MS Office? Why bother? Google docs gives you access to your files anywhere and anytime. Google’s been making improvements every day. Another plus, if you’re co-writing, you truly can write in real time with your partner. I’ll do that and copy it all back into Scrivener when the writing session is done.
  • TaskPaper – Mac software, your electronic to do list. Great desktop version. Remember the Milk is an online one that links to Gmail if you prefer. If you’re working with a co-author, you can try out ActionMethod. It lets you delegate tasks to others too.
  • AutoCrit – an online editor, it calls out over-used words, cliches, repeated words, and more.
  • Skype – I use it to carry on conversations all day long with fellow authors as well as my accountability partners.
  • Scrivener – Scrivener has changed my writing LIFE. I won’t write another book without it. Although, if I were still on a PC, I’d probably test out Liquid Story Binder as an alternative. Consider this, when using MS Word, I end up closing the doc and every time, it opens back to the front of the document…I had a hard time getting back to the place I was editing. With Scrivener, where I close it is where it opens the next time. And, the programmers have built in compile features for eBooks. I highly recommend trying it out.
  • Day One –  it’s a Mac based journal that syncs to your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Great when you’re away from your desk and want to get something on the page and have it be there when you get home. Yes, you could just type it up and email yourself, but where’s the fun in that?
  • Simplenote  – a way to sync Scrivener with your iPhone or iPad. I’m still getting hang of this one.
  • Aeon Timeline – useful when you’re darting through time and space like I do with the Goddesses. Or, the Samurai sisters.
  • MindNodePro – mind mapping software for when you’re truly stuck and want to throw all the ideas out there that you can and see what sticks.
Yes, most of these apps can be replaced with pen and paper. But, as I’ve mentioned before, my handwriting is horrible nowadays so if I want to be able to read things later, it’s better for me if they’re electronic.

WbtR member Stacia D. Kelly is the urban fantasy author of Phyxe: Goddess of Fire as well as the author of Muse, focus, and the upcoming book, Reduce You. You can find her work at www.sybir.comand www.studio13bymbsworks.com. She lives in Prince William County, VA with her husband, son, some crazy cats and a hyper but loveable Mini Aussie Shepherd.
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