Several years ago, I was working on my second manuscript and I wrote about what tools I used to get the job done. (It was a terrible story that I never did finish, but that’s irrelevant. I did mine secondary characters from it and gave them their own story, so it was useful, at least.)
What did I use then?
Paper. Fancy journal, legal pad, graph paper, steno notebook–whatever makes you feel good. We’re writers, and if you want to be a smart writer, you will write everything down somewhere. Might as well make it a central place. And believe me when I tell you, when that paper is full of your story, of your imagination, your muse at work… you’ll know why you write, if only for a moment.
I’m still a paper fanatic. And I still use a plain old spiral notebook. I write down character sketches, outlines, scene notes–you name it. It nearly always starts on paper before making its way onto the computer.
A binder, preferably one-and-a-half inch, sheet protectors, and a hole punch.
I don’t really use a binder anymore. I’m more likely to keep things in Evernote or, as I’m going to discuss later on, Scrivener.
An All-in-One Printer. First of all, they’re just not that expensive anymore.
I definitely still use a printer. I print pages multiple times for edits. I just edit better on paper (no surprise there).
So what tool do I use the most now?
Scrivener. Although I still make use of paper, I keep my entire outline in Scrivener. I didn’t for the story I wrote before my current one. I kept them on index cards. Then I got sick and didn’t write for a month. And misplaced my cards. Scariest week of my life, thinking I was going to have to recreate that outline.
I also keep all my research in Scrivener, as you can just drop entire web pages in there and access them from the program.
Further, all those character sketches and pictures of what my characters look like? All in the research binder.
It’s basically my go-to for everything.
What do you use to keep your writing organized or to get more accomplished?
I’m fascinated by other people’s process, so please share in the comments!