In E's Notebook: My Writing Tools
I used to wish I could have fancy ass writing merch that many Instagrammers and Pinterest users boast. Pretty gold-coloured spiral-bound notebooks, expensive pens, elaborate planners — it’s all beautiful, but does it get the job done?
I decided to start putting money towards tools that benefit me, keep me feeling fly and most of all, get the job done.
My favourite notepads are from Dollarama. I have dozens of them. They’re thick, spiral-bound with ruled pages and are big enough to take notes and small enough to fit in all your purses. They're also way cheaper than any notebook I've bought before.
The ultimate writer’s software, Scrivener is a great tool if you’re writing a book or even an article. You can story map, work on character development, work on an outline and much more. There are endless tutorials on how to use Scrivener (there can be a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’ve been using Google Docs or Microsoft Word to write), but this is the most valuable writing tool I’ve spent money on.
Some of the best pens I’ve written with are also from Dollarama. I also love fine-tip pens, and I love the selection at Muji, especially their multi-coloured pen, which comes in handy when doing big revisions.
4. Sticky Notes
Sticky notes are the shit. I use the regular size for notes, mapping ideas and and as a page divider.
I am a lifelong fan of the paper agenda. Writing stuff down not only makes me remember, but the act of scheduling plans and crossing things off my list sends a nerdy shiver up my spine. My whole life is in my agenda.
Since my agendas get a lot of use, I splurged a little on this durable Ban.do agenda last year.
If you’re not digging paper, Google Calendar is the shit. You can schedule writing blocks and remind yourself with notifications.
6. Editorial calendar
I have spent years looking for a good editorial calendar, and alas, I have found it.
I use this fillable calendar to finish my book, and it keeps me on track. I’ve become a bit obsessed with it, bringing it everywhere so I can admire all my progress — and how much more I have to go. Knowing I can just pull it out of my purse and start planning is the greatest.
7. Laptop bag
Oh, the dreaded laptop bag. Takes years to find the right one that looks good, feels good and doesn’t break your bank (or back). I’ve recently purchased a Matt and Nat bag on sale and it’s the only bag that I can carry my laptop, notebooks and books without feeling like I’ve busted my shoulder.
Don’t settle for bags that aren’t meant for laptops or don’t have a thick strap — you’ll end up feeling the weight of your laptop and you'll just wind up with unnecessary pain.
The best email tool if you’re pitching or sending important emails to editors and clients. You can save the message and send it at a later date. Maybe you got home late and don’t want to send an email at an ungodly hour — you can Boomerang it for the morning (or any date, really).
9. Gmail Undo
Undo has saved my ass when I send a message off and instantly realize I've messed up its contents. It's really easy to activate.
10. Google Docs and Google Drive
Swap Microsoft Word for Google Docs — it saves with every word typed and saves to its cloud. You can export documents as Word docs or PDFs and you can share them and track changes, making it a collaborative project if you’re working on a draft with your editor. With Google Drive, you can keep all your writing on the Google cloud and in folders that are always accessible to you (if you download the app).
This is a great proofreading tool that’s free. Paste your text into the app and it runs it for long sentences, complex phrases, too many adverbs and passive voice and more.
As a freelancer, I use Wave to keep track of my finances. I never have to worry about crafting a professional invoice because I can create a custom one on Wave. It also keeps track of what payments are due or overdue, makes a report of my income and tracks my expenses. My writing tools have changed over the years, but right now I have a pretty decent combination of apps, stationery and planners that keep me productive and inspired.