My Three Favorite Writing Tools

Do you ever sit down to write something only to end up blankly staring at your computer? Yeah, me too (don’t you just love writer’s block). Before you can get going, distraction kicks in. You open a new window browser to surf your feedreader, Twitter, an interesting link here and there and it’s like “wait a minute…where was I? Oh yeah, I’m stuck on this post…”

(If you never get stuck, good for you, you’re officially a writing machine).

Lately, I’ve decided to change up my routine and the tools that I use to write. And here they are…

My 3 Favorite Writing Tools

1. My Moleskine Ruled Notebook – I take this with me everywhere I go. I don’t lug around the laptop any more. Instead, I write down all my random notes and ideas (post titles, bullet points, sketches) in the notebook and reference it daily to see what I can cook up. I find that I’m writing more this way and getting distracted a whole lot less (no more endless browser tabs and other online distractions).

2. My Taylor Timer – I picked this tip up from Christopher Penn at Blue Sky Factory. It’s the 10-2-5 System. Focus for 10 minutes on something. Take a 2 minute break and repeat this process 5 times. It works like a charm…try it!

3. WriteRoom – Last but not least, I use WriteRoom. It’s a distraction free writing program for Mac. Basically, it creates a full screen writing environment so that you focus on just that, your writing. Sure, you could use a basic word document, but hey, don’t knock it till you try it. So far, I love this. I write every post in there instead of in my WordPress editor. Wanna try another cool writing programming, check out OmmWriter.

Ultimately, if you want to be more productive (with your writing or anything else, you just have to focus and do it). That means cutting out distractions…

  • No watching TV,
  • No camping out on Twitter and Facebook,
  • No spending hours on your FeedReader (reading is good but do it in moderation),
  • No checking your cell phone every two minutes (I put that sucker on silent and don’t take calls),

Identify your distractions and eliminate them. Then, find when you’re most productive (what time of day are you most creative), and schedule time to write then.

How do YOU do it? What are your best writing tips and what are your favorite writing tools? Do you ever get distracted, if so, how do you deal with those distractions?

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  1. says

    Funny you bring around a physical notebook Ricardo. I don't write much any more. I can type on my iPod touch a lot faster than you can write. :-)

    As far as tools go, I just use Text Editor to write my blog posts. Very simple, but that's why it works.

    And as you've noticed, these aluminum iMac/MacBook keyboards are excellent for speed writing. I can type out 72 wpm on a bad day. It's always a trial switching back to an old PC keyboard lol.

      • says

        Well, I imagine you'd trade an empty notebook for an iPod riddled with notes & ideas. It's just a matter of where you chose to build your sandcastle. :)

        Fun to watch this site evolve. I recently bought Genesis and I'm really pleased with it. The out-of-the-box customization is more scant than Thesis, but it's a lot easier to edit in the long run if you know a bit about code. Especially because it allows you to play with skins!

  2. says

    Ricardo, great tools, man. I have used the WriteRoom app and it's awesome (who'd have thought we would want to return to the days of Commodore 64, right?) I have heard about the moleskin notebook twice this week. I suppose I should get my game on better. Will check it out. Thanks for posting!

    • says

      Heh, yeah totally, but it works like a charm (re: WriteRoom)! The reason I like the moleskine so much is because well, it cuts out all of the other distractions. When I'm on my computer, there's a million things I want to work on. By carrying around the moleskine and hanging out at B&N at least I'm focused on one (or two) things and those things only: 1.) reading and 2.) writing.

      Have a good weekend amigo!

  3. says

    I write everything just in wordpress.

    One thing that helps cure a writer's block for me is to change from my iMac to my MBP. I'm not really sure why I think just the different seating position, or maybe that I associate laptops with writing. Who knows!

    I always have a real notepad with me. It's pretty scribbly though.

    • says

      Some of the best ideas come from scribbly notes :-)

      I used to write everything *just* in WordPress too (I have lots of drafts). Moving to the notebook and WriteRoom was strictly for productivity purposes and so far, so good.

      Thanks for the visit and for the comment Marta!

        • says

          Ha! You know Marta, I love technology. But as much as I do, I still can't resist (and I prefer) a good ol' fashioned hard-cover book. I think it's that fresh book smell and the fact that I can riddle it with post-its and chicken scratch that makes it easy for me to refer to.

          Though my co-worker has a Kindle. When she reads on her Kindle, it syncs to her iPhone and picks up on the page she left off from her Kindle. I gotta say, that's pretty awesome! And yet still, it won't replace my preference for a hard-cover.

          But because I do travel a lot, I'm trying to resort to more books on tape and podcasts while I'm on the road. Does that count?

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