As part of the blog hop I'm participating in, we were asked to share what writing tools we use.
Honestly, this question is harder than it looks. I feel like I should tell you about particular writer-related resources - books, websites, software, etc. - but the truth is, although I have purchased such books and software, these are not the tools I use on a regular basis. Often, the books go unread and the software unused. Time is a precious commodity and I'd rather be writing!
That being said, I do read. I read quite a bit of fiction and non-fiction (over 90 titles last year alone according to my Good Reads list. Reading both quality and less spectacular work helps me to distinguish between good and poor writing, to know what works and what doesn't. I learn from the efforts of others.
Another tool I use is my brain. Herein is the seat of the imagination, from whence the ideas flow. If only I had time to work on all these ideas, it would be great. I do work on a few pieces simultaneously, but even so, there are more ideas than time. And I'm not one of those writers who sits with a pen and notebook at the side of the bed to capture thoughts that occur in the middle of the night. I'm supposed to be sleeping, right?
My ears hear and my eyes see. Of the two, my ears are best at capturing information. Perhaps this is why, in my opinion, my dialogue is stronger than my attempts at description. [Note to self: as a practice exercise, start writing down the details of what you see.]
Two of the best writing tools I have are my critique groups. I belong to two and each meets once a month for the purpose of sharing our work and giving and receiving feedback. The members don't always agree, but their insights are always helpful, and when I go back and revise, my work is always better.
And that's the purpose of tools, isn't it? To improve the quality of our writing. The tools don't have to be fancy, and you don't necessarily need a lot of them; they just have to be effective.