Writing Resources

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We all have those things, those tools that keep us on task or inspire us or help us in the mundane, every day editing and revision process. And of course, there’s the writing.

As I was writing the Back to School Resource Guide last week, I realized that many of those same items can be used as resources for our writing process.

Currently, my first go-to is a Thesaurus. I use the online one in the previous link. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it has all the words.

Next is a new addition to anyone’s resource list: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. I also have his Day-by-Day Calendar which gives you hints and copyediting advice all through the year that you didn’t know you needed until you read it. Both are excellent resources. He is coming out with a children’s version and a second edition is on the way.

My go-to online dictionary is Merriam-Webster, partly because of their longevity and willingness to modernize, but also their sense of humor. Follow them on Twitter.

Need to know what day someone was born on in 1873? Sunrise or sunset? Time and Date is for you.

Need a quotation? BrainyQuote.

When is National Crepe Day? Well, National Crepe Suzette Day is May 6th! Today, in fact is National Noodle Day! How do I know this? National Day Archives.

Need help jump starting your novel? Nanowrimo is for you! It runs November 1st through November 30th and gives you the resources and motivation to write 50,000 words in thirty days.

The only magazine I subscribe to is The Writer. I’ve been getting it for at least two decades, although I have more recently switched to digital only. Saves trees and space in my house.

Drawing Interior Scenes. Even as a young writer, I always drew the apartments where my characters lived. I found it a useful way to assist in the descriptive prose. This manga artist takes it to a whole new level: Manga artist [Haru Amake] shares a genius-level trick to take the headache out of drawing interior scenes

Chromebook Shortcuts

Two of my very favorite organizing tools are Evernote and Business Calendar 2. My links go to the Amazon store since I use my Kindle more than anything else, but both are available in the Google Store and if you have i-products you can check the Apple Store. Both come in a free and a paid version.

Evernote lets you keep information organized in separate “books”. A few of mine are: Quotations, Writing Prompts, A Book of Days (to track holidays), and Travel Notes for on the go.

Business Calendar 2 is the best calendar app I have ever used, and I have used more than a few. I’ve been using it for about two weeks, and it took me a couple of days to see how beneficial this calendar app is to my life!

The free version lets me do everything I absolutely need to do with a calendar/organizer with a minimum of ads. There are a few advanced features that I would like, and I plan to eventually purchase the paid version. In addition to no ads, it will let me multi-pick for deleting agenda items at the end of the day. But realistically, that’s only for my preference. It is completely usable and useful with just the free download.

Is This the End of Writing in Cafés? by Emily Temple. Full Disclosure: I’m writing this right now in a cafe, so I think you know my answer to that question.

I leave you with some inspiring words from Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner, Lin-Manuel Miranda:

Then chase a moment, not a plot.

If a moment’s too big, chase a sentence.

You just need an inch to start. GO WRITE.

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter, circa 2016 (when you can’t find the words)

Writing Tips: A Writing Tool Kit That Really Works

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​This is the sort of thing/organizer that I’ve been looking for for what seems like forever. I’m calling it my Writer’s Tool Kit (or Writer’s First Aid Kit), and it’s something that I’ve tried to put together for the last several years. I’ve gone through a plethora of messenger bags, re-purposed makeup bags, pencil cases, pouches, diaper bags, organizers, and all the other items you’d find in the accessory, stationery, and cosmetic departments at a Target or comparable big box store.

I’ve also tried LL Bean, Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, Baggellini, and no-name brands on the internet and so far nothing has worked. 

Oh, it works for a little while, but then I need something extra and the entire thing ends up in a mess on the floor with me wearing my frustration face. Even now, I’ve forgotten my earphones. They must have fallen off of my nightstand, and in my hurry to get out the door I forgot they weren’t in my purse where they usually live.

I have been using a small messenger bag that I found on Amazon, and I really love it. It’s the right size, has a decent number of organizational pockets (although the pencil slip could be longer) and it’s big enough to carry all my needs, whether I want to overstuff it, or to use it simply as an oversized pocketbook for my wallet, Kindle, and cell phone. At the moment, though I’m using a separate purse along with the messenger bag.

One problem with my bag is that there is no padding so consequently my keyboard is not protected. I’ve been using a padded tablet case to carry it and protect it, but it’s hard to get in and out of the center portion of the messenger bag; the zipper isn’t wide enough.

On Pinterest, they keep promoting a pin “just for me” from the Mocchi site. It is exactly what I wanted. Slender, large enough for my Kindle and possibly my keyboard, slip pockets for papers, perhaps a notepad, and zipper pockets for post-it notes and stamps. It even comes in my color: green. On the bad side, it costs around $60 before the tax and the shipping and handling.

That is way out of my league.

And it still wouldn’t be perfect.

That’s the way it’s been every time. Until now.

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