I respect your privacy and will not rent, share or sell your personal information.

Keep Your Writing Tools in Shape: Check Your Computer Before July

As a writer you likely depend on your computer. Here’s information I learned from our resident computer tech at a meeting this morning.

I won’t go into the technical details, but many of our computers are infected with malware that has taken over as our DNS servers.  In July, the U.S. government is making changes that will block this malware and those who have it will lose their ability to connect to the internet

Verify that your computer is not infected by going to http://find.pcworld.com/72975

If the background is green, like in the image above, your computer is fine. You’re good to go.

If it is red or any other color, I understand it is an easy fix, but you will want to take care of it before the July deadline. Contact your tech person to get your computer on target for smooth sailing.

Your Writing Journey: What to Pack

Starting to write a book is like starting on a journey. You have to have a destination in mind, a purpose for your trip and at least a starting route. As you travel you may be lead to stop to rest, take a side trip or even end your trip early because you found a destination better than the one you envisioned.

Like any other trip, you will need to pack a few things for your writing journey.

If you are the type who packs light, just a pencil or pen and stack of yellow pads may be enough for your writing trip.
I wrote my language arts textbooks on loose leaf notebook paper and No. 2 pencils.

For some writers, the tools have be exact: a college-ruled spiral notebook, a PhD pen and a hardback chair facing east on the back porch.

Then there are the colorful writers who insist on a fist full of markers, highlighters, post-its, and  index cards to plot out their characters and scenes. I can remember that notecards were very important for organizing my thoughts and keeping track of my sources when I was writing my dissertation many decades ago.

What writing software is best?

Nowadays most writers probably compose on computers creating documents with Microsoft Word but there are many other choices. There are fancier writing tools if you’re so inclined to pay the price of money and time to learn.  Here’s a list in reverse order lined up by Michael L. Martin, Jr., mostly with fiction writing in mind.  You’ll get a kick out of watching his video. Even though it was created a few years ago, it’s still timely with his rationale and explanations for the software his lists.

5. Google Docs

You can edit on this free tool anywhere.

4. Office Word 2007 (now 2010 is available)

Great formatting, but is pricey. New PCs come with free trial, but
at the end of that period, you’ll need to have $299 ready, unless you’re
college student and get a bit of a discount.

3. PageFour

Lightweight program for fiction writers, costs $39.95.

2. yWriter

Created by author Simon Hayes is great for outlining and different point of views
This is free and has great support.

1. Scrivener (was MAC only, but is now also available for PC)

Does it all. They have a 30 day trial. Costs $40.

What is your favorite tool for your writing journey?