My Favorite Writing Tools

April 10, 2020

From a collection of color coded notecards to the latest in online-based, team-centric software, there are so many great options available to today’s writer for putting together the perfect project. Long gone are the days where writing projects were scribble out in wire-bound notebooks or banged out on an old, manual typewriter (although those are still fabulous options if they suit you>.) Since my background is in marketing and production, it was natural for me to look at easy to use, easy to access software options for my own writing projects.

I do most of my work on a MacBook Pro (I’m on my third one now, actually) because of how well it handles graphics and video editing, and I’ve sunk a lot of money into high-end software for jobs like that. But for writing, I’ve really done the exact opposite. I use Google Apps almost exclusively for my writing projects.

Google Docs is a lite, accessible, word processor that gives me access to projects no matter what computer I’m sitting in front of, or even what device I’m using. It has a robust grammar and spell checker, access to a built in dictionary and thesaurus, and keeps a copy of every single version of a document I create for those times when I have to go back and figure out why I changed something that I had forgotten about. It’s free to use with your Gmail account (privacy and data-sharing concerns aside) and is reasonable secure as long as you take the appropriate account security precautions. Given the monolith of data storage that Google has become, it’s highly unlikely that my files are going anywhere, although I’m religious about local backups just in case. And, when needed, I can easily export documents to Word or PDF files.

Between those two apps alone, I do ninety percent of my writing work. Because I’m also a designer and illustrator, I use Adobe’s Creative Cloud for cover art designs and layouts. But I pay for that software already, so it’s not just for writing.

My computer has Apple’s document app Pages on it, but I almost never use it. It’s lovely, and can create some great documents, and even has cloud sharing options available. But I have to use an Apple machine with Pages installed, or my Apple account and web portal on non-Apple machine, to access documents. Apple’s cloud drive file management is also not as simple or effective as Google’s is.

I own a copy of MS Word, as well, but I don’t subscribe to Microsoft’s Office 365 service. Word is clunky, takes forever to open, and has way to many formatting options for basic writing projects.

What are your favorite writing tools and software? How do you think your software choices affect your writing process?