Tools of the Trade

In my last post, I wrote about being a writer in the digital age and my preference for it.  Notably, how easy the internet makes research.  Here are some other tools I use for writing.

My laptop, obviously.  What’s nice about writing is I don’t need a fancy-shmancy computer with the fastest processor or huge amounts of RAM.  In fact, I once walked into a Best Buy (before Amazon dominated the market) and said I wanted the cheapest laptop they had.  I used it for years, even wrote that ill-fated first novella on it.
Scrivener–a writing software that’s the bee’s knees.  It has a host of tricks: split screen writing, easy revision saving and recalling, storing webpages and pictures, character and setting profiles, automatic compiling in standard manuscript format.  I used Microsoft Word for about a year, before deciding this writing thing was going to take.  But when I did, Scrivener is one of the first investments I made in this career path.  There’s a bit of a learning curve, but completely worth the time if you’re serious about writing.
Duotrope and Submission Grinder.  Two websites that track submissions to different markets and publish statistics on acceptance and rejection ratios; how long they take to respond; the statistics on how many people have submitted and when; and the most recent responses.  Using these two websites, it’s possible to stalk track the market to see where your submission is in the queue, when you should expect a response and in some cases how to determine if you’ve made it out of the slush pile.  I also, leverage with Duotrope for automatic updates, which I’ll write about another time (it deserves its own post, it’s awesome).
Scribophile—an online workshop.  A password protected site to workshop your writing with a community of like-minded writers.  And it really is a community.  I’ve been impressed with how supportive everyone is and when the occasional troll pops up, they’re put in their place rather quickly by the crowd.
That’s it.  There are some other things I do that are specific to trying to win Writers of the Future, but I think I’ll leave that for another time.
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