Amarna West Publications

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Top Tools for Creative Writers: A Review

Posted by amarnawestpublications on April 20, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I read this article on "Wired" months ago and it had some useful tips for writers just starting out. For those of us a bit more experienced the tips might be a no-brainer, however, I found some of the items a bit expensive, so I've comprised my alternative list for those of us that are um... financially challenged.



An ultra-portable laptop

I suggest the netbook because they're inexpensive. I have an HP Mini that I carry around with me all the time because it's as light as my organizer.

Rob Beschizza suggests a Sony Vaio or a Macbook...unless you've got 1-2 thousand dollars to spend I say skip it, although they are very nice machines. I've tested them both out at Best Buy, but I'll still stick to my little HP.



Durable Notepads with Cover Pockets

Rob suggests a Moleskine or Xonex Ru. I've used the reporter Moleskine which holds up really well and the paper accepts fountain ink. But my problem with Moleskines is that they're expensive and I can go through one a month. A regular notebook just won't do for me. My alternative...Piccadilly journals from Borders. They look just like Moleskines and are usually about $10 cheaper.

But I'm sensitive about my journals, I usually grab the one that "speaks" to me.



Digital Recorder

This is a must, I have to agree with him there. I've tried using the one on my phone and the one built into my computer, but when you're in the middle of a thought, there's nothing worse than trying to set all of that up in the heat of the moment. My recorder is as simple as one button push.




What is this? Another useless gadget that you'll forget about in times of crisis? I'll stick to what I have. Instead of this, I suggest something you might already own such as an ipod touch, a palm pilot, or a smart phone. These little gadgets allow you to write on the go when you've forgotten your laptop. But you wouldn't forget it if you had a netbook... right?



Power Accessories

Something I don't have, and I don't think I need them. Portable chargers, etc. works for people that spend most of their time away from home or the office. It is a rare moment that I desperately need to charge my laptop in my car.



A decent Pen

Rob suggests a Yoropen or a Fisher Space Pen. I have not seen these in Office Depot or Office Max recently so I'll skip it. If I have to order my pen online, it has already exceeded my budget. But don't get me wrong, I am always in search of a great pen. My absolute favorite of all time is the Rotring Art Pens series. These are some of the best pens ever. Period.



Handheld PC

Does the same thing as a laptop, palm pilot, ipod touch, or smartphone. Skip it.



A Fancy Phone with Fast Internet

This all depends on what you need your phone to do. I know some people that never use laptops and only use their phones...if you are one of those people this recommendation is probably for you.



Better Writing Software

This topic usually starts a debate amongst writers. There are those that use basic programs like Microsoft Word and those that like to experiment with Writing Software. I'm somewhere in between.

Rob suggests Scrivener (for those of you that own Macbooks) and Rough Draft (for Windows). I've discovered Writer's Cafe ($40) and Jarte (free). But I still use Word on occassion.



Unlimited Public Transport Access

This is a great suggestion. San Jose is the kind of city that is bus/lightrail-friendly. But if you are from a city where using public transportation is a real pain, skip it. I have done some of my best work commuting to work or to school...



Things to Avoid


Fancy Journals

I have plenty that I haven't written in because they were too nice. Rob may be on to something here.



Creative Writing Software

I agree if the software is too complicated to figure out quickly.



Big Laptops

A netbook would suffice or even a smaller 13-inch computer. Some older refurbished models are under $400, the price of a netbook. Check out




Check out the article here and let me know what you think.

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