Throughout the centuries, mankind has taken it upon themselves to record events of their particular era for posterity using whatever means were available to them at the time. From the hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians to the runes of the Vikings and writings of the medieval era and the Renaissance, writing has been a part of conveying information for a long, long time, regardless of method.
Although history often focus on the content of these writings, the tools used by the authors are equally fascinating. Consider the stones used by the Vikings for their runes. Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for whomever the author was to record his or her particular message for the future to see? A mind full of information, limited to primitive instruments to communicate their thoughts. Of course, it may also be that the urgency of instant information of today was muted by the tools they had to work with. Sometimes it seems we can’t think of a world without the Internet, much less one without paper.
Today, in the digital age, the tools we writers use have taken on yet a different form. From the typewriters of decades ago, today we punch away on our laptops, computers, tablets and smartphone while feeding our stories into the hungry belly of the worldwide web. Yet, even though we have advanced so far beyond what we used even just thirty years ago, picking the right tool for the job remains just as important. In my own short time as an active writer, I have explored a variety of tools, trying to find what works for me on my creative journey. Just as when I first started experimenting with writing fiction, today I am still constantly on the lookout for new software or devices that will allow me to best organize and write the stories that swirl around my mind.
As I poke around and discover new tools, I often find myself wondering if anyone else finds these tools as useful as I do. Do others face the same challenges and the same relief and finding a tool that helps solve a particular creative dilemma? It is with this in mind that I’ve decided to take some time to explore the tools available out there and give them a little closer look. What are the tools we as writers can use and how can they be beneficial to our writing process?
Over the next few months, you will see a series of blog posts on this very topic. Some of the tools I’ll be looking closer at I myself use today. Some I have tried and others I’m just exploring. In the end, my goal is to slowly build a list of tools you as a writer may find useful, complete with a proper review, regardless of whether it’s a dedicated hardware device, a piece of software on your computer, an app on your phone or a support group on Twitter.
Let me clarify one thing: my intent is not to provide another list of “top 100 writing tools” or another abbreviated list of apps. There are thousands of those out there already. Although this can be useful for discovery, these lists rarely give you enough information to tell you whether it’s worth investing the time in a particular solution or not. My intent is to add a bit more meat to each of my posts in an attempt to help you determine whether one solution or another can actually be a tool useful to your writing process.
As I start posting these reviews, I’d love to hear what you are using to organize your stories, to write them, to illustrate them and to share them with others through beta reading and such. Feel free to post in the comments below.
I hope you will join me on this journey of discovery. Hopefully it’ll be one that will make us all more successful in our writing, in one way or another.