Must-Have Tools for Writers

My biggest fault when it comes to writing is that I’m easily distracted. Why should I focus on how this one paragraph seems kind of out of place when Facebook exists? Twitter? Tumblr?

But when I really get in my writing groove, these are the three tools I can absolutely not live without!


I honestly can’t remember what I did before Scrivener. Microsoft Word? What’s that?

In all seriousness, though, this tool is wonderful. You can choose from templates ranging from screenplays to novel manuscripts, and once you’ve typed all your scenes and chapters, Scrivener compiles it all into proper manuscript format. This is perfect for the writer seriously thinking about publication.

Besides the compiling feature, this also allows for very detailed outlines, character sheets and descriptions, and location details. You can insert pictures and references in your personal notes to stick all of your research and writing in one place.

It’s on the expensive side, but it’s totally worth it. Be on the lookout for student deals, too! And even if you aren’t sure, there’s always the free trial version.

The Elements of F*cking Style: A Helpful Parody

Let’s be real: we’re not all grammar geniuses. I tend to misuse commas, and I don’t even ATTEMPT anything involving a semi-colon. But with this book, I can be certain that I’m using correct grammar, AND it’s just a ton of ridiculous fun.

From Amazon:

This book addresses everything from common questions (“What the hell is a pronoun?”) to philosophical conundrums (“Does not using paragraphs or periods make my thesis read like it was written by a mental patient?”).

 This book uses horrifically raunchy and hilarious examples to get the grammar points across, but it still works as a super helpful grammar guide. If ranch isn’t your thing, you can always dig through your old English textbooks and check out the one that this is parodying: The Elements of Style. 

Self Control

 I truly do not know what I’d do without this app. When my need to be distracted by something other than my writing kicks into gear, I consult my Self Control immediately.

This app specifically for Macs (sorry, PC users! I’m still trying to find the PC equivalent of this, but I’ll keep you posted.) allows you to blacklist certain websites for a given amount of time. And don’t be fooled: there is no beating the system. You set your Self Control for 18 hours? Well, you better find something to do, because you can not touch any of your blacklisted sites until then. It’s also helpful because if you find yourself on a website you haven’t blacklisted, you can still add it while the time is running.

This is truly a live saver. It’s great for when you need to concentrate, but just can’t. And best of all? IT’S FREE. Every  writer should have this.

(Students should, too. This app is perfect for essay writing.)

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