10 Writing Tools I Use

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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 –Β 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 Comments

  1. Lorraine Pestell on January 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks, Ruth. Have you read Stephen King’s “On Writing”? Although it’s part autobiography, his idea of good writing style taught me a great deal. Best wishes!

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      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.

    • Janet Sketchley on January 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      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.

  2. Janis Cox (@AuthorJanisCox) on January 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    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

  3. Ruth L. Snyder on January 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Janis, thanks for stopping by. Some of us aren’t as artistic as you πŸ™‚ 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.

  4. Heidi on January 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    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).

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      I’ve never tried Google drive, but I definitely use Google when I’m writing. Thanks for stopping by, Heidi πŸ™‚

  5. Cate Russell-Cole on January 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Ruth, thanks so much for the blog hop. I promoted it on CommuniCATE Resources for Writers and it’s had a fantastic response.

    Very best wishes.

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 26, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Cate, you’re welcome. Thank you very much for helping with promotion. I appreciate your participation πŸ™‚

  6. stephseclecticinterests on January 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Love it, Ruth. I use many of the same resources. All the best with your writing. Until next time . . .

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 26, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie. I hope you’re benefiting from the blog hop as much as I am. It’s a great way to learn from others!

  7. Rose F on January 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Oh wow, I did not mention online resources in my post, great ideas Ruth.

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 26, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Thanks, Rose. Isn’t it fun learning from each other?

      • Rose F on January 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

        Yes indeed. And you’re welcome.

  8. […] And now, for installment #2 of the Blog Hop for Writers. […]

  9. Tracy Krauss on January 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

    This is a fantastic list. I use many of these same tools, but have never tried BrainyQuote – another goal for this week!

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Isn’t it great learning about useful tools for writers? Thanks for stopping by, Tracy πŸ™‚

  10. Bobbie Cole on January 27, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Continuing thanks, Ruth for hosting this fun Blog Hop. I will definitely be consulting Brainy Quote!

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 27, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Bobbie, you’re very welcome. This is a great way to learn from each other.

  11. Bonnie Way on January 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

    This is a great list! Thanks for hosting the blog hop. We have a few tools in common… πŸ™‚

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

      I was thinking the same thing when I saw your post πŸ™‚ Thanks for participating.

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    […] 10 Writing Tools I Use (ruthlsnyder.wordpress.com) […]

  13. Leanne Ross on January 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for the list and for hosting the hop.

    I can always use a few more reference materials and fellow writing friends.

    Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com ).

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Leanne, I’m glad you’re participating in the blog hop. The more we work together, the better it goes for all of us πŸ™‚

  14. Violet Nesdoly on January 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    That Brainy Quote site sounds like one worth bookmarking! Great list.

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks, Violet. I’m glad you’re part of the “hop” πŸ™‚

  15. June (@AriseMummies) on January 28, 2014 at 3:43 am

    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. πŸ™‚

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      June, thanks for coming back and making sure I received your comment πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re participating in the blog hop.

  16. Sara Davison on January 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing your list Ruth – I was thinking software and apps when you said tools; I actually do use a lot of these and wouldn’t want to be without them.

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      You’re welcome, Sara. I’m glad you’re participating in the blog hop. Happy writing πŸ™‚

  17. Patti J Smith on January 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Great list Ruth! I forgot I used the Catholic Bible Website for scriptures…

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 28, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks, Patti. I’m glad you’re participating in the blog hop. I found it very educational reading all the posts for this topic!

      • Brenda J. Wood on January 29, 2014 at 5:36 am

        Sounds like commsense writing to me..! Brenda J Wood

        • Ruth L. Snyder on January 29, 2014 at 5:39 am

          I’m assuming you mean common sense? I like your new word πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Brenda.

  18. Sharon Bayliss (@SharonBayliss) on January 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    You’re right. I use dictionary.com a lot too, just to make sure words really mean what I think they mean. πŸ™‚ I have to say though, I think that Twitter is more of an anti-tool for me!

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 29, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      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 πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  19. Janet Sketchley on January 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Great list of tools, Ruth! It’s enlightening to me to see what other writers are using. I’m picking up some good tips.

    • Ruth L. Snyder on January 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks, Janet. I agree – this topic has been a great learning opportunity for all of us.

  20. Susan Barclay on January 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    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.

    • Ruth L. Snyder on February 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks for adding your comment, Susan. I’ve learned a lot from reading other posts on this blog hop!

  21. Donna on February 2, 2014 at 4:25 am

    You have quite a comprehensive list Ruth. Really good stuff here and much for writers to keep in mind.

  22. Debra Hillier on February 28, 2014 at 6:00 am

    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

    • Ruth L. Snyder on February 28, 2014 at 6:03 am

      Debra, I’m glad you found us πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and leaving an encouraging comment for me. I’m glad you’re excited about writing again πŸ™‚

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