10 Writing Tools I Use

26 Jan 2014 Ruth L Snyder

NOTE: This is the second topic in a blog hop I’m hosting for writers. To check out what other writers have to say on this topic, click on the button below:

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Although there are many writers who insist that writing longhand helps them with the creative process, I’m not one of them. I prefer to “write” at a keyboard. Here are some of the tools I use in my writing:

1. My iPad – My iMac has too many bells and whistles that distract me while I write. Lately, I’ve enjoyed using the Pages app on my iPad. The only downfall I’ve found is that the document doesn’t always look the same when I share it as a Word document.

2. Dictionary.com – When I need to check the meaning of a word, look for a more interesting word to use, or find a synonym or antonym, I use Dictionary.com. If I’m interested in a detailed etymology of a word, I’ll use my husband’s Complete Oxford English Dictionary instead.

3. Biblegateway.com – This is a wonderful resource I stumbled upon about a year ago. This site allows you to search for any Scripture reference or phrase you want in 39 different English translations. It also features translations in over 50 other languages including Greek and Hebrew.

4. BrainyQuote.com – This site has quotes listed alphabetically by the last name of authors as well as by topic.

5. iStockPhoto.com – If I don’t have an image or photograph for the project I’m working on, iStockPhoto.com probably will. Although there is a charge to use most of the images on this site, I’m happy to pay, knowing that I won’t be breaking any copyright rules.

6. Youtube.com – This is a handy site to find videos on about any topic you can imagine. I find it especially useful when I want to know how to do something or see how other people explain things.

7. Twitter.com – I’ve found Twitter a handy resource for following trends, gathering people’s opinions, and finding information. Although I don’t use it as often as some of the other tools, I appreciate having access to it when I need it. Twitter is also a wonderful way to meet people from all over the world who have similar interests.

8. My writing notebook – In case you’re wondering, not all my tools are online. I keep a notebook with me almost all the time and I jot down interesting things I see or hear, composites of people I meet, quotes that catch my attention, etc. When I write, I often pull out my notebook and dig for some new treasures to add to my writing.

9. Strong’s Concordance – Although this is similar to the resources available on Biblegateway.com, Strong’s also gives the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic root of the English word used in the King James Version of the Bible. Often the same English word is used for many different words with varying meanings. I find this especially helpful when I’m digging for the meaning of verses.

10. Style Manuals – I have different style manuals I use depending on what I’m writing. Those I currently have in my library include:

  • The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn
  • Editing Canadian English
  • Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage by Margery Fee & Janice McAlpine

What tools do you find useful in your writing?

45 thoughts on “10 Writing Tools I Use

    1. Ruth L. Snyder

      Lorraine, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have to add On Writing to my reading list. Thank you too for participating in the blog hop. I appreciate your encouragement and support.

    2. Janet Sketchley

      What I liked best about On Writing were the examples. I’d read his “before” examples and think they were pretty good. Then when I read his “after” I really saw the difference.

  1. Janis Cox (@AuthorJanisCox)

    Ruth,
    I love Biblegateway and use it every time in my posts. For pictures I use public domain, paint my own, take my own. I guess I should subscribe to IStock – I will put in my list.
    I cannot write with my IPAD – I must have a keyboard (or a pen). Do you have the keyboard adaption?
    Blessings,
    Janis

  2. Ruth L. Snyder

    Janis, thanks for stopping by. Some of us aren’t as artistic as you 🙂 I have an iPad Air and bought the Zagg keyboard for it, which has a hard case to slip the iPad into. Most people think I have a mini computer when they first see it.

  3. Heidi

    it seems kind of obvious but thesaurus.com is often open in one window while I write in Google drive which is my preferred word processor (it goes with me everywhere there is internet) and sometimes I google things if I need to know something like how far a man on horse back can travel in a day or whether to use were or was in a particular sentence (subjunctive tense is tricky).

  4. June (@AriseMummies)

    Oh dear! I just left a reply but didn’t post it, so it’s lost. Good thing I remembered and came back. Anyway Ruth, thanks for telling us about the style manuals. Sounds like something I could use.

    I enjoyed reading your list. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Ruth L. Snyder

      Sharon, your comment about Twitter made me laugh. I know what you mean – it can be a time waster. However, it is a tool that can be very useful if we learn to use it effectively 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  5. Susan Barclay

    Echo everyone in saying ‘great list of tools’. I use some of those too, but didn’t think to mention them in my post. Agree with the suggestion of reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ – the first part of the book is largely about his life (and you can see how he came to write some of the books he’s written, given his background), but there’s lots of useful tips for the writer in the second half.

  6. Debra Hillier

    I am grateful for twitter because through it I found this bloghop and a whole community of writers. I am so excited and about writing again and inspired to “get back at it”. All the best to you all! Thanks for your inspiration!
    Debra Hillier @debrahillier

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