5 free tools for writers I’m loving right now (and other ones I need)

Feather writing

All of these have been invaluable for completely different aspects of that sprawling task of crafting a novel! In no particular order:

  1. Pinterest – capture all your images and visual inspiration onto handy boards. I have boards for individual characters, locations, areas of research – quick to assemble and brilliant for scanning for a quick answer / inspiration.
  2. Coggle.it – I have used a few mindmapping tools but this is my latest one of choice. Very simple to use and you can save the result as a PDF. I have just mindmapped my themes, my problems, individual characters. The process is as important as the result but the end map is a concise visual outline for reference.
  3. Google Docs – this is where I write. I mainly write on my laptop but as Google Docs stores in the cloud (and locally if you want) I can access it via my phone, ipad and work PC for a bit of reading or quick editing. Is it wise to trust to the Google cloud? They have a lot riding on reputation (I remind myself Google Docs is used by corporations too) and I’d rely on it more than my own temperamental hardware…but I do still make regular back-ups onto my Dropbox…just for safe keeping.
  4. Feedly – for keeping up with creative writing blogs. There’s always a danger of too much distraction but, being a very solitary writer, I find it important to have a stream of ideas and nuggets as I work. It is also a source for tweeting and blogging – I email things to myself to process later.
  5. Google maps – assuming your location is earth-bound, work out distances, routes and get Streetview of locations. You can create a map with pins for all your important spots.

Things I’m missing:

– A really good outline tool – Google Doc’s spreadsheet is clunky but I need something a bit like that, only better…not found it and my current table-in-a-doc is groaning with the task.

– A timeline tracker. I did try using Storybook for a while which handled this well but we didn’t get along.

Any suggestions appreciated!


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