Every author has their preferred tools of the trade, and they differ depending on the person. It has taken me more than five years to find that system that works for me, and I'm thrilled to say I have arrived.
Whether you're an aspiring author still trying to find their tools or a reader who's curious about the process behind writing a book, here are a few tools from my author's toolbox!
A lot of authors have a love/hate relationship with Scrivener, but I'm a diehard fan! For those who don't know, Scrivener is a program geared toward writers of all kinds. People use it for writing novels, screenplays, or even thesis papers. It has a ton of useful tools for writers, like outlining tools, goal trackers, and easy-to-use organization capabilities to keep track of revisions, notes, and background information about the project you're working on.
I actually got the program for free about five years ago at a writer's conference I went to, and I'll never go back. I typically write my first draft in Scrivener, then export it to Word to work on revisions from my editor. When I'm done with revisions, everything goes back into Scrivener so I can keep track of it. I love that you can customize the program for whatever you need it to be. It can be as simple as using it like a Word document or as complicated as an in-depth world-building system.
Speaking of worldbuilding, I use Campfire Pro to keep track of all my world-building stuff. I'm a fantasy author, so you know there's a lot to manage. World maps, new races and languages, magic systems, and detailed information like character profiles and relationships. Campfire is the best software I've found to keep it all manageable! They also have a drafting capability so I could write my novels in there if I wanted to, but I prefer to keep things as complicated as possible, so I do all of that in Scrivener. Haha!
Campfire used to be a program that you could download right to your computer, and that's the version I have. I love it! But they have since moved to a cloud-based system. I've heard that it's excellent, but I haven't tried it!
I'm a big believer in continuing to work on my craft, so I spend a lot of time studying and learning from other authors and coaches. I'm always looking for new ways to improve my writing, my process, or my mindset. Lately I've really loved Abbie Emmons on YouTube. She has some great craft-related videos and monthly in-depth trainings. She also does some Write With Me writing sprint videos on Youtube that are GOLD. My favorite takes place in an enchanted forest, and my word count per sprint doubles every time I use her video!
Because I'm a self-published author, I do all aspects of publishing myself. That includes formatting the final versions of my manuscript into publish-ready files for Amazon. So you can bet I've found the easiest to use software I could find, and that's Atticus. It is so user-friendly that it's kind of ridiculous, and it only takes me about an hour to format my books from start to finish. It's great!
... And a Secret Weapon
Every author has a secret weapon, and mine is my husband Grady. He is my creative content director, and he's always ready to let me bounce ideas off of him. He gives me honest feedback about my magic system (more magic please) and my battle tactics (do more research Ceara) and listens to me rant and rave as I'm brainstorming a new plot idea. He's the first to tell me, in a loving way, that I need to push myself to improve, and I'm so grateful for him!
Well, there you have it! A few of the tools from my Author Toolbox. Do you use any of the tools I listed above? Are there any I missed? Let me know in the comments below!