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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?