Writers only need a pen, a piece of paper, and an idea. But, at least in my house, by the time you’ve found the pen and the paper, the idea has fled for warmer climes. So here’s a look at a few somewhat-essential tools for the writer.
This list has two ideas behind it: 1.) Money is tight, so the tools should be free whenever possible, and 2.) the tools should be tailored to writers.
Amazing software for writers
Dark Room – Word Processor
Sure, Microsoft Word has lots of bells and whistles, and OpenOffice does a good job of being a free alternative, but they’ve both got lots and lots of buttons. Dark Room fixes that, and how! It is also designed to be run full-screen, so no new e-mails, instant messages, or tweets can distract you.
Sonar — Submission Tracker
Want to know how long your story’s been sitting on Tales of Extreme Awesomeness’s slush-pile? Need to know how many of your stories weren’t extremely awesome enough? Enter Sonar, the submission tracking tool.
Evernote — Notes
Your muse is a cold, heartless shrew. Tame her by keeping copious notes with Evernote. You’re not limited to text: Pictures, web pages, and audio files are all fair game. It also syncs across multiple devices. So the next time you’re in the shower and have your next great idea, you can whip out your iPhone to capture it and get back to lathering. (Please don’t use your phone in the shower)
Free Mind — Mind Mapping
I’ll let you read about mind mapping with Free Mind on this Wiki page. Go on, I’ll wait.
Services for Writers
Imagination Prompt Generator — Writing prompts
The Imagination Prompt Generator is used to generate and use writing prompts. The best part is that If you don’t like the one it gives you, you can press the button and get a new one.
WordPress.com or Blogger — Online Publishing
WordPress is nearly the de facto standard of online publishing but has lots of whizmos and doodads to distract. Blogger has a much simpler interface, but its commenting system is atrocious, so it may cost you interaction. Either way, both are free ways to get your otherwise-unpublished work in front of readers, so take your pick and roll with it.
Lulu or Create Space — Self-publishing
I couldn’t possibly help you choose between the two. Create Space gets you on to Amazon with no upfront fees (save for buying a copy to proof) while Lulu can get you into more outlets for a price. But these seem to be the two heavy hitters in the print-on-demand arena. Ultimately, the decision between the two comes down to your needs.