Writing is a scary endeavor in itself, but writing fiction? That’s downright terrifying!
Luckily, there are plenty of available resources that make writing fiction a lot more approachable and even, dare I say, fun.
But it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast amount of resources out there, especially when you’re a new writer. My best advice is to start simply with a Google doc or a word processor. You don’t need to spend any money on writing tools at first. Just focus on showing up every day to write.
Then after you start to get comfortable and establish a regular writing practice, certain resources can be invaluable in your writing journey.
Here are 7 tools that will take your writing to the next level. They’ll help you master the craft of writing, stay organized, grow your writing career, find community with other authors and readers, and keep you inspired.
Just a heads up, this post contains affiliate links—that means I get a small commission of any sales made from the links below, but the price is the same for you whether you purchase via my link or directly from the merchant 🙂
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is the #1 place to start if you want to write fiction. It’s also a great tool for seasoned writers. This book expertly walks through every single beat (plot point), chapter, and scene you need in order to have a captivating novel that really works.
I delayed reading this for so long because I was skeptical—I didn’t want to turn to a formula and end up writing a generic novel that didn’t stand out. But it turns out, the Save the Cat! method is the key to writing a great book.
And the best part—it’s presented in a clear, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-apply way!
Anyone who achieves success in their chosen endeavor didn’t get there from their innate ability alone—they sought out knowledge from the experts and applied it until they became experts themselves.
To be a successful writer, you must be committed to lifelong learning and education. From technical how-tos to advice from those who’ve already been there, writing books are an invaluable tool in your writing journey.
And pro tip—don’t just read them, read them and apply them. Combine passive action (reading the books) with massive action (applying the new knowledge) to become the best writer you could possibly be.
3. Google Calendar—For when to work
To be a writer, you have to write. And to actually write, you have to plan it effectively.
Use Google Calendar (or a physical planner) to determine beforehand when you’re going to sit down and write.
4. Asana—For what to work on
Once you’ve figured out when you’re going to write, you need to figure out what the specific to-do tasks are. A huge cause of procrastination and overwhelm is not knowing where to start.
Use Asana (the free version) to map out your writing sessions. You can create your action items as “Tasks” and file them under “Projects” and “Sections”.
You can also set deadlines and sort your task list by due date so you know what tasks take priority.
I used Google Docs for my first two novel drafts. That worked fine, but I didn’t do much planning for those drafts—I just wrote.
But now that I’m on my third draft and feel confident in my ability to follow through with my scheduled writing times, I’m focusing on the craft of fiction writing—meaning there’s a lot more planning involved this time around.
I realized Google Docs wouldn’t cut it anymore.
Scrivener has turned out to be the answer to all my problems. It categorizes your folders and documents like a 3-ring binder, so you’re able to easily see the docs and folders you’ve created.
Scrivener is well worth the one-time purchase fee. They also let you try the program for free for a month. And they have really detailed tutorials that will give you a full sense of its functionality.
6. Instagram, a blog, and Pinterest (for your Author Platform)
If you’re planning on getting your fiction published (whether traditionally or via a self-publishing route) you need a killer author platform. Why? Because you need a way to market yourself and your work.
Even if you’re at the very beginning of your writing journey, you should start your author platform now.
A simple strategy for beginning writers is to create an Instagram account, a blog, and a Pinterest account.
Instagram is a great way to create a brand around you, the author.
A blog is a great place to showcase your writing and get practice and experience writing on a regular basis. I use Bluehost as my hosting and WordPress as my blog platform.
And Pinterest is a great place to gather tools and resources for your writing journey as well as drive traffic to your blog.
Creating an author platform can be confusing so start with this simple method. A solid author platform will greatly enhance your chances of becoming a successful writer.
7. Writing Blogs
Writing blogs are great for two big reasons: 1) they help you add to your writing education and 2) they let you connect with other writers on similar journeys—aka, they help you build community.
Some of my favorite writings blogs are:
Well-Storied is my favorite writing blog. Kristen posts everything from nitty-gritty “how-to write” tutorials to common fears writers deal with to handy tools you can use in your writing journey (in fact, she’s a big advocate of Scrivener, too!).
Savannah Gilbo is a book coach with extremely valuable blog posts, courses, and even 1:1 coaching. Her posts and courses help make the huge task of writing a book much more doable.
A Well Told Story is “a site for writers to develop the tools, attitude, and lifestyle for success—from a writer who’s been there.”
Meghan is a published author who posts about the writing craft, the writing process, and also her publication experience.
What are some of your favorite writing tools? Share them in the comments below!