The tools of our trade are important to us since tool-using defines us on some of the charts in biology classrooms across the globe.
These are the tools I currently use:
Writing & Research
- MS Word – but not for more than the first drafts. When I finished my first 100,000 word manuscript I learned why real writers don’t finish manuscripts in word. The program promptly froze, like all the gurus back then warned it would at 100,000 words, which is why they suggested leaving it in chapters instead of one big document. Maybe that doesn’t happen anymore, I wouldn’t know because I moved on to better things.
- InDesign –for the finishing steps. InDesign works well enough but only an expertly expert von-experto could rapidly turn out all the different output formats I needed for print book and multi-formats of ebook. Or a bunch of paid plug-ins which only work with paid subscriptions, etc. So I still use it but I am slow.
- Scrivener – (still testing it) Scrivener redefines flexibility. I suspect that if I make an effort to learn it thoroughly, it will cut my software struggling time into itty-bitty fractions and fuel my productivity.
- Filemaker Pro – to organize research and publishing business info, but mostly because I know it very well so I can quickly build custom databases.
- Evernote – for database functionality in a more user-friendly environment that is truly portable. I can update via mobile, which I can’t do to my Filemaker Pro files as easily.
- Excel – for all the things excel can do that nothing else can do as well in the business of writing, but also for organizing information and ideas.
- Snowflake – a beautiful piece of software created by a writer for writing which helps structure my characters, scenes, and story structure. It is also a writing guide as well as a writing tool.
Website & Blogging:
- WordPress – self-hosted on Bluehost, using only free themes until I find a paid theme that I can’t live without.
- GoDaddy & Bluehost & iPower & DomainIt – for domain purchases. I wish I’d stuck with just one domain site instead of buying from all over the place. I was trying to see how different the pricing and customer service was between providers and there is no real difference. I could transfer them all to one but don’t want to spend the time.
- Chrome – because Google knows where I live. I liked Firefox but liked Chrome better. I won’t even mention Microsoft Exploder. And Safari is lovely except that nobody will talk to it.
- HootSuite – easy to use and will cross-post to Facebook and LinkedIn, where Tweetdeck will only post to twitter. At least for me. It used to cross-post but I think I offended it by not tailoring each post to the specific platform.
- Flipboard – an app for iphone and ipad that makes watching my social media streams like reading a magazine. Flipboard enabled me to finally understand what twitter could do for my mission to self-educate.
- Createspace – because it’s Amazon, and has so much background support. I am looking at going to Lightning Source to see if Ingram will then pay attention to me, but we’ll see.
- Worzala – a book printer in the midwest USA who was willing to stray into short-run printing while the economy was still slow. They were very patient with my inexperienced self and I got a very nice short print run.
- Time versus Money – I do it myself whenever I can and still put out a professional product. If I don’t know how to do something, I take the time to learn. Except for cover creation and editing, there I spend real money.
- Living within my means – My goal of earning enough to cover my rent is going to be more achievable if my rent is low. I became debt-free due to disaster, but I’ve stayed debt-free due to personal choice. If my lifestyle is reasonable, then my day-job time can also be reasonable, leaving me room to write.
- Listening – to my readers, to industry gurus, to my family, to the heartbeat of popular culture, to podcasts, to Billy Idol (cuz he is so LOVELY – even now!)
And those are the tools that I use – missing only those that I’ve forgotten to list.