5 things: writing implements

five things

I like pens. I’d say it’s a fairly common addiction among writers and academics (or nerds in general), and I am all these things.

I went through my collection and identified my pens of choice.

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In no particular order…

Stabilo point 88 (in mini and regular) – colored ink 

I’m especially partial to pinks, purples, and green in this range. I pick these up at my local Michael’s, but have also bought the minis on Amazon (if you have pen friends, the minis make great gifts). Will ghost through thin paper.

PaperMate InkJoy retractable ballpoint pens – colored ink

Bright colors and smoothie smooth ink. These are great for color-coding. I like the gels too, but the ballpoint pens won’t bleed through delicate notebook paper. I buy the 8-packs.

TUL retractable pens – black gel ink

I use these exclusively for my nightly journal. The ink is stark black and quick-drying. It will ghost through thin journal pages, but I’ve never had it bleed. All in all, A+. You can find these at Office Depot or Amazon (the white barrel was a special edition that I refill).

Sakura Pigma Micron 05 – purple and black ink

Microns are the darlings of ink-based artist (or so it seems). The 05 tip is the perfect thickness for a nice, bold line without scratching (common with the thinner tips). No bleed or smearing, but will ghost through thin paper. I usually buy these at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but Amazon has them in packs.

Ticonderoga pencils

Who does not love a Ticonderoga? I prefer pens, but when I want a pencil, I reach for these. I am especially attached to the ones I find around campus (it’s like the fry at the bottom of the bag).

 

Are you a pen addict? What are you favorite brands? Let me know 🙂

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5 things – tools for [writer] productivity

five things

 

Evernote for writing, plotting, notes, story details
I fell in love with Scrivener but hated the lack of cloud-ability (there was no app when I started using it and I’m still leery of the Dropbox option for reasons). Cue, Evernote.

I create a notebook for each project and add sub-folders for Characters, Settings, Details, Research, and Drafting. I then create individual notes per element (some, like minor characters, are part of a single “character bible”). I return to this method again and again because I can access it from anywhere and it gives me the all-in-one-file feel that Scrivener provides.

Google Calendar/Happy Plannerfor time-blocking (scheduling time to write)
I rely on Google Calendar for time blocking, which is essential for me. Combined with the Happy Planner (link to video/post) that I use for work, it keeps me on track and helps me plan for writing when life gets in the way.

Spreadsheet – for wordcounts
I keep a long-running spreadsheet in OneDrive, started when I first started drafting Crown of Ice, which helps me keep track of my words on a single manuscript over time. I have individual spreadsheets for each project, but I combine final word counts by project in a single, yearly spreadsheet that helps me track progress over time.

Trellofor planning and content creation
In an effort to create more content and maintain a steady post schedule, I decided to give Trello a try (I used it once for work,  but it didn’t catch on). It’s perfect. I use it as a content planner, and organize projects for the podcast, details for querying, and more. It’s an all-around win for me.

HB90 methodfor quarterly [writing] project planning
Whether it was serendipity or the magic of algorithms, I stumbled up author Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings channel and all the wonders therein. One of these wonders is Cannon’s dedicated planning method for writers (HB90), based on a 90-day quarterly system that encourages writers to think of their work in terms of goals, projects, and tasks. It’s brilliant and I’m using it to plan/track my current writing project, as well as the query process, and future plans for a story that needs editing.

tools of the trade

When I first started on this writing adventure, I was a strict MS Word sort of girl. Then Google Drive (nee Docs) appeared on the scene. Of course, there was also paper and pen—mostly Moleskine pocket and large ruled notebooks, generally in the color that I most associated with a particular story. I still rely on these tools, but I’ve definitely upped my writing game as my process has evolved.

The new essentials:

  1. Evernote: I love using the Evernote webclipper to save bookmarks and research. I set up folders for Characters, Settings, Research, and more, and clip my findings. I also use it as a handy place to store “scanned” book pages and images. However, for my latest novel, I decided to draft only in Evernote, transferring finished chapters to Scrivener as I went along. This really worked out; it made it possible for me to draft from anywhere, at any time, without having to worry about backups and file conflicts. There is a bit of a learning curve to start… and you have to get creative with your use of folders, file names, and tags, but once you have a scheme, it’s as effective as Scrivener. (caveat, make sure files are fully synced before closing the program to avoid sync issues between machines)
  2. Scrivener: Writing on Word will never work after using Scrivener (at least, not for me). Scrivener houses all your files in a central location, making it incredibly easy to switch between chapters, notes, drafts, etc. Like Evernote, there is a learning curve, and lots of features to get used to, but the trial is worth it.
  3. myWriteClub: I need to track my progress. I use a calendar and stickers to good effect, but I also like the visual appeal of a progress bar. Scrivener has a built-in system to track progress as well, but I generally use an excel spreadsheet to track words written/rewritten or steps taken towards completion. MyWriteClub adds a little extra.
  4. Aeon Timeline: I literally just started using this and I love it already. Keeping track of time is one of my greatest challenges when working on a multiverse type novel (hello, Anúna), Aeon Timeline looks extremely promising as an outlining tool to take care of just that. I started playing with it yesterday (thanks to the NaNoWriMo winner discount) and look forward to using it during my next read-through.

What are your essential writing tools? Have any experiences to share?