#1 The Snowflake Method

    I don’t really remember how I stumbled upon Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method, but it has been such a useful resource for me to flesh out ideas, stories, characters, and even fictional settings. It also reminds me that I have to trust the process of writing, and not speed through it – especially for big writing projects like writing a novel. I’ve tried to skip several steps of this method, because I get so antsy and just want to start writing my chapters, only to get back to the planning board, because there’s a part of the story, world, setting or characters that I am not yet well acquainted with, because I skipped steps.

    Find out more about the Snowflake Method.

    I usually transfer the Snowflake Method steps onto my Microsoft OneNote project notebook, and then check the steps as I finish them.


    This then brings us to…

     #2 Microsoft OneNote

    I use Microsoft OneNote for the planning stage of my novel-writing process (Steps 1-7 of the Snowflake Method). My character profiles, setting details as well as summaries and synopses are all found on OneNote. I like that I can sync and back-up online via OneDrive, so I’m secure that all my plans are backed up in an internet cloud. I’ve tried Evernote as well as Scrivener to do my planning, but neither one has been able to give me the capability to make my character profiles look like this:


    #3 Scrivener

    It took me a while before I jumped into the Scrivener train, but boy… I’m glad I did.

    A client of mine, who I used to ghostwrite for, asked me if I wanted it as a Christmas gift. If not, she was just going to send me cash. I was like, “OneNote and Word are enough for me. Cash please.” Did I miss out!

    Scrivener is so useful for organizing chapters and scenes, and it allows for easy export to various formats, like PDF, Word and even *.epub and *.mobi formats (for ebooks and Kindle).

    Here’s what my Scrivener screen looks like:


    The above is an out-dated draft of the book series I’m working on, Gossamer.

    #4 My (Often Very Messy) Workspace

    I have my trusty laptop, Amihan, and my printer, Bob. Yes. I name my electronic devices. My cellphone’s name is Snow. I’m weird that way. Don’t judge me.

    I also prefer to write with a dual monitor setup, because I can have my Scrivener writing space on one screen and my OneNote plans, settings and character profiles on the other for easy reference. I also have a bunch of my plans usually printed out and scattered on my desk.

    #5 WriteOMeter

    WriteOMeter is an Android App that has done wonders to motivate me to write. All for the sake of getting more guavas, and being able to reward myself for a job well done. WriteOMeter is basically a word count tracker that allows you to track multiple projects that you’re working on. It allows you to set reminders within the day where you can go on writing sprints at a default of 25 minutes (you can change this in the settings – I set mine to 30 minutes). One writing sprint earns you 1 guava, which you can redeem for your own rewards – whatever motivates you. Right now, my reward system is for every 9 guavas, I get to set aside a certain amount of money for a Polaroid camera I want to have for my journaling. Anyway, here are a couple of screenshots of the WriteOMeter app on my phone:

    #6 – Evan Duffy’s Piano Covers

    I need to listen to music while writing, but I can only listen to instrumentals. Ever since I heard Evan Duffy’s piano cover of Zedd’s Clarity, I’ve been a fan. For some reason, his covers just get me in a writing mood, so I have a playlist of his videos on hand and ready to play write before I click Start Writing! on my WriteOMeter timer.

    #7 – Caffeine

    This would’ve been a list with seven items – the seventh item being caffeine, but as of the last two or three months, I’ve managed to survive without coffee. Miracles do happen. Therefore, it seems this no longer applies to me:



    I really hope this lists helps you discover a tool or two that you can use for your own writing! But do tell me… How about you? What are your writing tools? 

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    Joanna Alonzo

    Author/Founder at Almond Tree Publications
    Joanna Alonzo is a walking paradox. She is a beautiful, albeit messy, mixture of thought and emotion, expressed in the form of hopefully readable – and relatable – stories. She is a kingdom kid, who looks forward to being a writer and storyteller even when she reaches heaven. She is passionate about the unreached, about those who have yet to know the Love she found in the arms of the Almighty. She is intrigued by the world and its people, who day by day, continue to convince her that God is the greatest Storyteller of all.
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6 Comments on "6 Writing Tools I Can’t Write Without"

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Kevin K

I like the look of the One Note character sketch you have created. I think I will give that a spin. I am still in my trial period for Scrivener, but I find it very conducive to doing more work than writing in several different word processing files. It still doesn’t help me to write every day though…

I gave up cigarettes and alcohol so far in my life … Not giving up the caffeine… 😛

I too need music to write and, most of the time, dislike vocals in the music. Have you looked at http://radiotunes.com? There is every type of music possible on there, a lot of which is instrumental.



[…] useful. I also saw an example recently about using Microsoft One Note for character sketches on this blog. I am going to give that a try as well. So long as I do not spend all my time on the tools and none […]

Rebekah Loper

O.O Writeometer looks fabulous! How had I never found that before…

I would completely replace #7 with ‘tea’, personally. Doesn’t have to be caffeinated. I just need a warm mug of tea to get my thoughts jogging, whether it’s peppermint or Earl Grey!


[…] – I recently discovered this Android app (thanks, Joanna!) and am loving it so far. The only downside is that once you start a timer, you can’t pause […]


Love these!!

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