Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Review—Essential Digital Tools for Today’s Writer

Now, let me preface this post with a caveat. I know that TECHNICALLY we can write anywhere, anytime, with nothing more than a pen and a pad of paper. The things in this post are digital tools that make my writing life flow more smoothly.

I for one love being a writer in this digital age. Sure there are challenges. Can anyone say DISTRACTIONS? But the positives outweigh the negatives for me. So here’s my list of essential tools for today’s writer.
  • The Internet. I know it’s a no-brainer, but sometimes we get so caught up in complaining about the distractions we forget what a tool it is. It’s great for research, connecting with other writers, business people who might need our services, learning new skills, finding our readers, truly the list can go on and on and on.
  • Digital Camera. Since social media is vital to making a living as a writer, so is blogging. And I use my digital camera to take photos to illustrate my blog, and post on Facebook. But it also gives me inspiration because I can see new things through its lens.
  • Writers Group. I know there are stories about writers who do it alone, at least without other writers, but I’m skeptical. I need the perspective other writers bring, as well as the encouragement. And while I love connecting with writers in person,  online groups are so great. It gives me a lot of flexibility and I need it with my schedule!
  • Skype. I thought about putting this in as part of the writers group bullet, but I think it deserves one of its own. I use Skype for interviews, consultations and especially for hanging out with my writer friends in other parts of the country.
  • Pandora Radio. In these days of distractions, I can choose my Pandora station, pop on my headphones and bang out the word count I need. Some of you use your MP3 player to do the same thing.
  • Smart Phone.  This is an especially useful device for networking. At conferences you can keep up with the latest changes and trends. You can also stay up to date with social media by using its many features.
  • Laptop Computer. As you may have gathered from my husband’s post yesterday, I’m driving a MacBook Air, but even a PC will do. I love the freedom this device gives me to write when ever and where ever I choose.

I’m sure there are tons of things we could add to the list and I imagine you’re noticing some major digital gadgets missing, like an iPad or tablet. The reason I left that off the list is because, for me, I find my laptop and phone cover what a tablet does. I love my tablet for surfing the Internet and reading. I also use it when I teach or speak, but I don’t consider it one of the essentials, at least for me.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in with your opinion. What would you add to my list of essential digital tools?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. How does one go about finding a writer's group? I have yet to join any, I keep hearing that I should....

    1. I look for groups through recommendations. Several excellent ones: My Book Therapy, - free or paid membership
      ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers - paid membership

      If you've been or are going to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference we have a Yahoo Group that's moderated and free.

      I'm also a member of a couple of online groups that have sprung up out of meetings at conferences or through call outs online.

      Locally, ask at your local library or bookstore.

      These are just a few possibilities.

      Hope this helps, Blessings, E

  2. I may have mentioned this before but I still think it's a great tool for writers: the Livescribe pen. It's a digital pen. You write on special paper and it even has a recording feature. You can upload everything to your computer. There is even software that will convert your writing into text. It's great for conferences and interviews. Or, if you're an old-fashioned pen and paper type, you can write longhand and upload it to your computer. It's the best of both worlds.


    1. I hadn't heard of this pen and I write all my novels longhand. Wow! I will definitely check this out! Thanks!

      Edie - I just got my first Smart Phone. You are right! I can use those spare minutes to check email and social media. Love it!

    2. Deborah, I remember you have mentioned this, but I'd forgotten to check it out! Thanks so much for the reminder!

      Morgan, it's amazing how helpful it is!

      Thanks to you both for stopping by and leaving a comment, Blessings, E

  3. I love, love, love Scrivener. It helps me organize my book and the visual of the corkboard helps me "see" the plot. Great post!

    1. Pat, oh yes!!! I've become a Scrivener convert. I love, love, love it. Thanks so much for the reminder, Blessings, E