This morning I started the second draft of my fantasy novel. In July this year I finished the first draft. It took me eight years to write it since that first idea popped up in my head. What. A. Ride. Let's hope the next drafts won't take that much time haha.
Now that I have reached that big milestone, want to share my writing experiences with you. Everything I tell you on writing is no guarantee to success, these are just my own experiences. I would love to learn about yours as well! Don't ever hesitate to reach out on instagram or email!
In this blog post I will share the different writing tools I use. Every single one of them has had a positive influence on my writing. I hope they will help you too!
1. SCRIVENER & WORD
Let's start with the tool I am using the most: Scrivener. It is the desktop app for writers (as far as I know). Adrienne Young introduced me to this app when showing her way of working in one of her inspiring stories on instagram. (Visit her instagram page HERE.)
Scrivener makes it so easy to navigate through your chapters, write comments or check your character sheets so your character development stays consistent. I can't imagine working in Word anymore. I do use Word, however, to send chapters to my critique partner and beta readers. This way I have an extra back-up as well.
This is how Scrivener looks like when you open an blank page:
This is how my current work in progress (WIP) looks in Scrivener:
There is to much more to explore, however. The most easy way to do that is on the Literature & Latte website, the developers of Scriverer: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview
You can try this app for free for 30 days. Only the days you open the app will count, so don't worry if you don't feel like writing for a week! You won't have lost a week of your free trial. If you do want to buy Scrivener, it's a one time purchase.
I have filled multiple notebooks with scenes and notes for my story. I still prefer writing with pen and paper, but when you really want to bring it all together, a digital version of your story is just so much easier to overview. Even though I don't really use my notebooks in this phase anymore, I will go through them before starting on my second draft, to make sure I don't forget an amazing idea (😉) I had written down on one of this pages. If I have ever an idea for a new story, I am sure I will go back to writing in notebooks.
And lastly, it's just fun and motivating to see how your very first ideas and drafts have evolved to the story it is now.
3. MY INFO SHEETS
I also got all my info sheets close to me. I drew a map early in the writing progress so I can check the travel times and distances. I also have a chapter overview.
What I love to do when I don't have any inspiration but still want to feel productive, is making mood boards on Pinterest. They help me visualize my story. They are only two clicks away on my computer.
4. WRITING TRACKER
It really motivates me to set a writing goal and keep track of my writing. I have two tools to track my writing. First of all I make a monthly writing tracker in my bullet journal. On the left side I draw a graph. The blue line represents the amount of words I have edited. The red line shows how much of these words were newly written. I used to have only a red line, but because I have finished my first draft, I edit more text than I really write new scenes at the moment.
The tracker I use is the NaNoWriMo tracker. NaNoWriMo is mostly known for it's yearly challenge to start writing a novel on November 1st and write 50,000 words within that month.
But NaNoWrimo has other fun events as well, like Camp Nano in April and July. Next to these events you can set goals for yourself and track your writing.
After nailing Camp Nano with 25,000 words in April (my original goal was 20,000), I challenged myself to finish my first draft by the end of July (so editing/writing 65,000 words). And I hit that goal as well!
The NaNoWriMo stats help me to keep track of my writing in a very easy way. Take a look at my tracking below, and it should figure out itself!
5. EXCEL CHAPTER TRACKER
Next to a writing tracker, I also keep a chapter tracker. In an excel sheet I mark which chapters I have finished and which ones my critique partner read and gave feedback on.
So these are all my essential tools, but there are a few extra things I like to have with me while writing.
6. WRITING PLAYLIST
I have made a writing list with songs that inspire me for this particular story. I always put this playlist on because it puts me in 'the writing zone'. It can even make me cry...
7. COZINESS WITH A CANDLE AND A CUP OF TEA
I write best when I am fully relaxed, nothing in my head except this story. A candle and a big cup of tea help me relax and get cozy.
These are my essential writing tools! Do you use any of these?
Happy writing time!