Essential Tools For Writers

Each and every writer needs a certain set of tools to write. And, trust me, it’s not as simple as to just pick up a notebook and write. It might be for some, but for most of us there is a need for  much more than just a pen and a paper.

Following are 15 Essential Tools for Writers that, according to me, are really important. I can’t even think of writing without these tools.

Essential Tools For Writers

1. Laptop/Desktop and Smartphone/Tablet:

Having a personal laptop or a desktop is really important because if you’re a writer you’d need it day and night and, more often than not, at odd hours of the night as well. So having a machine all to yourself is really important.
A smartphone will also be handy to note down new ideas or to download multiple writer-friendly apps. or to simply open your written works and read them (via DropBox) for editing them.

My MacBook Air and Samsung Galaxy Note-4
My MacBook and Note-4

2. Writing Software:

Now that you’ve got your own machine, the next thing you’ll need is a decent writing software. It is one of the most important things as you’ll be spending a lot of time using it, so make sure that you explore all your options and choose wisely. There are tons of them, but the most basic ones are:

  • Microsoft Word for Windows
  • Pages for MacBook.
  • Scrivener

I personally use Word for MacBook (yeah, I know it’s odd, but Word for Mac is THE BEST!) But if you are willing to spend a little money and get a really professional writing software then you might want to get Scrivener. Honestly, though, I think that the basic Softwares work just as smoothly if you know how to get other fancy things done on your own (like compiling your doc files into mobi, etc.)

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 5.04.23 pm
Distraction free authoring mode in Word for Mac (seriously, what’s not to love?)

3. Notebooks/Journals:

Having notebooks or maintaining a journal might not be important for everyone but I’m sure most of the writers still love to write on a physical medium. I love writing in notebooks and journals, especially when it comes to note-making. I maintain a separate notebook for whatever book(s) I’m working on. That way ideas for a project stay together in a single book.

The notebooks I'm using presently (I plotted Deceived in the one on the left.)

4. Novels:

If you want to write, you’ll have to read. Read all the book you can get your hands on, especially the genre you want to write for. Read a mixture of books because reading teaches most of the things you need to know about  writing (at least that’s what I believe in.)
You can always buy books from shops or online or from sale or seconds. If you want to explore cheaper and better options then get e-books or a library membership. Also, there are millions of free books you can simply download and read on your laptop or phone if you don’t have an e-reader. The bottom line is that you NEED to read.

5. Language Guides:

If you don’t already have a guide for the language you are using for writing, then get one because grammar is one hell of a tough cow and at some point or the other you’ll need for guidance. So better be prepared. As they say, practice makes one perfect and perfecting your grammar can go a really long way in helping you to improve your writing.

A few references for English grammar that I use
A few books I’m using presently

6. Writing References:

As a writer, we need to constantly improve our writing by learning new techniques. Every writer needs references on writing as a craft. We all are learners, especially if you’re new (like me.)
If you’re a new writer and want to get your book written easily then I’d recommend How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. But if you want to save money you can always start by reading some great articles on writing by your favourite authors and writers.

Another brilliant book is On Writing by Stephen King.

A few book I recently downloaded

7. Printer:

I love reading my work in printing and it makes editing easier. It’s said that reading your own work in a different format or medium helps you to edit it better and, after trying it myself, I can say that it holds true.
Plus, it also helps you to gather all your research work at one place. I usually make one Page file for all my research on a topic and then print it out and put it in the respective folder. it makes it easier for me to remember where it is and also to make notes or highlight it later on.

My printer 🙂

8. A Decent Calendar:

A calendar might not be an essential tool for a lot of people but for me it is quite important. I always work with deadlines and to have all my deadlines in front of my eyes all the time I use physical calendar (not the virtual ones.) A lot of people prefer to set reminders on their phones, but I love to mark dates on a physical calendar.

If you want to mark deadlines on a calendar then make sure to get one which has enough space around it for you to mark it (with a circle) and also to write event. Most of the calendars are either too small or too big, so make sure you get the one that  you really think will be perfect.DSC05270DSC05273

9. Internet Connection:

Every writer needs to research at some point or the other and if you really want to get your work ‘out there’ then you’ll have to be active on all the different social media sites. And to do all this you need a really good internet connection.
You can get a broadband connection or a WiFi connection whatever floats your boat (I personally prefer and use WiFi.)

10. Dictation or Speech-To-Text Software:

I’m not sure about everyone, but I do workout heavily most of the week, along with jogging and yoga, so there are days when my arms or shoulders or neck pains like hell and I just can’t type, no matter how much I try. Now in these painful days the only thing that helps me is Dictation/Speech-To-Text. I have it in my  Note for note-making as well as emailing and messaging so no problem there, but what really comes in handy is the dictation feature in Word (I use Word for Mac so I’m not sure if Word for Windows have it or not.)

It allows me to simply sit back and dictate whatever I want to type and if flows smoothly.
It came in really handy when I fell sick during Camp NaNo this year. It helped me complete my goal and hence, for me, it’s one of the essential things a writer should have.

11. Speech Recorder:

We all have those days where you just don’t want to get up and open your laptop to write and just simply want to think, looking at the beautiful scenery outside. But whenever this happens there’s always a fear of losing all your thoughts. Whenever I sit on my swing in the rains I always try to record whatever beautiful thoughts I get. And later, when I’m in the mood for writing I listen to my recordings and make notes.
It also helps when I run out of ideas.

12. White Board or Tag Board:

You’ll need this if you are a planner like me. I simply can’t work without planning my projects on Whiteboard as I make tree charts and timelines on it and then post various post-its wherever necessary.

13. BackUps:

Okay, now this is really, really important. God forbid if somehow your laptop or desktop or phone crashes then you wouldn’t want to lose all your work. Or let’s say if someone is ignorant enough to delete your precious little folders and you don’t have a copy saved anywhere else, then you can say goodbye to all your hard work. And I’m pretty sure no one would want that to happen. So be smart and backup your work.
You could either use a pen drive, a hard disk or a file hosting service like DropBox. And remember to back up regularly!

14. Stationery Supplies:

Imagine that you’re really in a good mood and want to write about an idea that you just had. You open your notebook and right when you extend your hand to pick up your favourite pen (you have to be a zombie to not have a favourite pen) and realise that it’s not working or you remember that you threw it away the other day as it was out of ink. Imagine the frustration and irritation that it causes you. At least for it it’ll ruin my good mood and maybe I’ll end up not writing anything. So, you see how important having your stationary supplies is.

I, for one, absolutely love buying stationaries and when it comes to writing I’m quite a nag and extremely specific about what I need. So, to save myself the frustration of running out of something at the wrong time, I always make sure that I have enough supplies to get me through the entire month (actually I have such a huge collection that it can take me through a zombie apocalypse as well!)
When it comes to writing the most important ones on my list are:

  • Pens and Pencils – I Usually buy 3 colors of pens: Black for writing the main thing, blue for making notes and red for editing or adding really important notes. And pink and green if I’m color-coding the characters.
  • Notebooks, notepads and diaries (lots of them!)
  • Highlighters and markers
  • Post-its and index cards
  • Papers for printer
  • Folders and thin files
  • Stapler and its clips
  • Paper clips
  • Scotch tape
Some of my favourite pens
Some of my favourite pens
Post-its, notepad and note-cards
Post-its, notepad and note-cards
White Board Markers
Whiteboard marker pens

15. Miscellaneous:

There are so many things to be added here but, to list a few, I’d stress on four things: Spectacles (these are the most important!), a good playlist of all your favourite songs, a pair of headphones/earplugs and last but not the least a big cup of your coffee.

My earplugs, spectacles and pen drive

So, now that you know about all the essential tools for writing, you can take a leap of faith and begin writing without any difficulties. But remember, for being a good writer the ultimate tool that you really need is passion. All the tools listed above just make it a little bit easier for you to fulfil your dream to be a writer.

What tools do you like from the above list? Or are there any other tools that you use while writing? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article 🙂

Have a great day!

Ciao ❤

Note: All the pictures used in this article are my own property. Except for the featured image that has been taken from Pixabay.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Author: Heena Rathore P.

Heena is a published writer, novel critic and the chief editor at a local publishing house. Presently she is completing her degree in English Literature while also completing courses in Psychology from various international universities such as Yale University. She is a recipient of 2k20 Influential Women Award (Literature) and Top 100 Debut Novels By Indian Authors 2019. She is also a member of the Indian Author’s Association. Her works include Deceived, her debut novel, Life In Reverse: Big Bang Of Non-Fiction (co-author) and Pandemic, a collection of short stories (releasing by the end of 2020)

38 thoughts

    1. Thanks a lot. I can understand as inspite of having notebooks I sometimes write on little pieces of paper that as always lying around in my house (recites, pamphlets, menus, etc.) and I don’t know how but I never see them again, ever! Lol!
      I hope you’ll get the notebooks soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michelle! So that’s what they are called! I didn’t know what they are called so I cal them note-cards, lol! Thanks, as I learned something new 🙂
      And yea, they are pretty handy. I write briefs for my chapters on them, that way it makes it easy to arrange them according to the story.
      Thanks for reading, dear 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A good list. 🙂 I think you’ve thought of everything, I love to use Scrivener for writing. The fact that I can have all of my files available in one window is the best feature ever. 🙂 And I love stationary too. I actually need a re-stock on notebooks at the moment, so I’m looking forward to that shopping trip. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot, Phoenix. Even I’m considering getting Scrivener. Now that I know that you already use it, I’m relieved. If there’ll be any trouble then I can ask you 🙂
      Ooh! Buying notebooks is always amazing! Whenever I’m at the stationary, I feel like buying all the cute and beautiful notebooks… We girls can never have enough of them! Right 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Are you doing NaNo? I’ve lost track of who is and isn’t. I ask because quite often if you win NaNo, you an get a discount on Scrivener. That’s how I got it. It really is an amazing program. Feel free to ask hep if you need it and do get it. 🙂
        And no, we can never get enough notebooks! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I’ll be participating. But I’m not quite sure what I’ll be writing (so maybe I’ll get the research and basics done.)
          And really? Now that’s a great news! Thanks for letting me know, Phoenix. And thanks for clearing my doubts about it, now I’ll definitely get it 😀
          Haha! Hell no 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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