In case you have an interest in writing yourself I would like to pass along things I’ve learned, helpful hints, and new resources. I am by no means an expert. But I love it when other authors post these because I always learn something new. I’m going to start off with some tools that I find essential for writing and then list some free online resources.
There was a day when I didn’t spend any money on writing because it was just a “hobby.” Well, people do invest in their hobbies. But if you want to take yourself seriously as a writer there are things worth spending money on. I am so glad I bought Scrivener. It allows me to break my manuscript up into sections, jump around between them, plot ideas, and look at my content from different perspectives (outline, corkboard etc). It is so easy to jump into the story anywhere. I feel less intimidated starting a new project. And I know that I haven’t even begun to explore all of Scrivener’s features. Now, to be fair, Microsoft Word has updated some of their own features and I have found some Scrivener-like features in there too that I never knew about. If it works for you, it works. But I just love the interface of Scrivener and how it makes me feel like I am more in control of my content.
Finally, I want to add that I also used Scrivener for nonfiction. I used it for a couple of classes as I was finishing up my degree. I found it helpful to have one project where I stored all my outlines, all of my papers, etc instead of having 20 documents. (It’s a bit like Microsoft OneNote in that way). And I found it helpful that I could play lectures and take notes in a split screen without having to navigate back and forth.
I shunned e-readers for a long time. I love the feel and smell of a print book and I always will. But purchasing an Amazon Fire was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. First, a lot of e-books are cheaper than print books. One important aspect of networking with other indie authors is reading their work and providing reviews. Second, some of these indie authors may not even have physical copies of their books. Third, I can store a bunch of books on my Fire and it takes way less space than a bunch of books (like for travel). Fourth, when I am doing a final read through of one of my own manuscripts before publishing I get tired of reading it on my laptop. I can send a pdf to my kindle account and read it on my Fire!
Now of course, you can get any kind of e-reader: a kindle, a nook, and I’m sure there are more out there. I had a small budget. And I didn’t need an iPad. I just needed something I could read e-books on. I got a USED- Good Fire for a very affordable price and I love it.
Never heard of these?
My sister mentioned them a couple of years ago. My brother is a computer programmer and she gave some to him to protect his eyes. I thought little of it at the time. I have been known to do long editing sessions. I’ve even noticed the strain on my eyes. But about a month ago I was rushing to meet a deadline and I spent about two whole days straight on my laptop. By evening my eyes were exhausted and blurry. That’s when I suddenly remembered computer glasses. I ended up ordering these TruVision Readers and they have saved me! I don’t feel like I have to stop working because of my eyes. And let me clarify that I don’t wear prescription glasses (but you can order computer glasses with prescription). These glasses block the harmful blue light from any screen (laptop, e-reader, phone, TV), which wear on your eyes and can even disrupt your sleep cycle. I wear them as a habit whenever I’m on a screen.
Now for some free reference material:
First, my very own:
-Tons of resources from tutorials, to information about competitions, to Chuck Sambuchini’s blog “Guide to Literary Agents.”
Ever wondered if your character is just an idealized version of yourself? This “Mary Sue” test will help you find out! It made me rethink decisions I had made for my characters and think of other possibilities!
Blogs I Read:
K.M. Weiland has some fantastic resources and tips for helping authors write better! I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I intend to buy one in the next couple months.
Hannah Heath has a very positive perspective on writing, which I appreciate in this cynical world. I sent her a message and she responded promptly and politely.