Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

What are your best writing tools? Have you upgraded lately?

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What are the best writing tools you have? From computers to printers to fine pens and pencils, and everything in between — what tools do you find valuable for your writing.

More and more in recent years, I’ve turned all “geeky” and use a lot of online stuff, and a pretty fair smattering of high-tech stuff off line. But I almost never use a couple of tools that were my favorite not many years ago — namely, my trusty AlphaSmart Neo and plain old pen and paper.

Instead, my latest writing tool is a beautiful little netbook — one of those mini-computers easily carried to our local library or my favorite coffee shop. What tipped me into buying it was the battery life. My full-sized laptop won’t run much over 1-2 hours on a charge. My trusty little netbook will go around 8 hours on a charge. (I think the first time I used it, I got just over 8.)

It runs all the software my full-sized laptop runs, yet it’s small enough to fit readily into a small bag/briefcase and works just fine for most of the online writing I need to do.

What sort of writing tools, whether high-tech gadgets or software, do you use most? Are you keeping software upgraded and are you able to take advantage of some of the stuff out there to help writers.

But beware, also, of the gadget trap. Don’t think new or faster computers are going to make you a better writer. Writing is the only thing that does that.

I once worked in a retail setting where I had to run a cash drawer. I took in money, handed out change, etc., for an 8-hour shift. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had been using a fancy digital cash drawer setup or an ancient hand-cranked cash register. The point of the job was simply to take in parking fares, give proper change — and get the till total to balance every shift.

I’m pretty good at math, and I’m very honest and very conscientious at such work. But for whatever reason, there were two or three occasions when my totals were off during my three months at the job, and I came up short.

Likewise, not matter how good your tools as a writer, if you don’t work at the writing and get it done, the writing tools you use really won’t make much difference.

But since we’re on the subject: What are your favorite writing tools? What would you recommend for other writers? Leave us a comment and tell us.

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