Monday, January 27, 2014

On the Subject of Writing Tools

Blog Hop for WritersAs 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. 

8 comments:

readfaced said...

I think READING is the most important writing tool of all. It can't help but make me a better writer.

Just so you'll know, you have to repost to the InLinkz to be on the Blog Hop for this go around (I just figured this out and thought I'd spread the word to others like me who are only on the first incarnation of the links). The link to RE-sign up is: http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=363500

Janet Johnson said...

I really like your list! Critique groups are GREAT tools. And reading is so underappreciated. Those are my best tools as well. :) (That and Janice Hardy's blog when I need info on a specific writing topic).

Ruth L. Snyder said...

I never thought of adding critique groups to my list, but they are definitely a wonderful tool! I don't know what I would do without people who will give me honest feedback. Thanks for participating in the blog hop :)

Patti J. Smith said...

I'm going to check into a critique group....thanks for the input and thanks for being on the blog hop!

Janis Cox said...

Yes using all the senses that God gave us certainly are the best tools for the job.
blessing
Janis

Janet Sketchley said...

Susan, I love the reminder to value and use our senses. They're such a key part of what we need to convey when we write, and I hadn't thought of this at all.

Susan Barclay said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone, and I'm glad I could contribute to your own toolboxes in some small way!

Donna Dawson said...

Yes! The critique group is mentioned. There is nothing better than bouncing a draft manuscript off a bunch of writers so they can tear it to shreds and help you sew it back together. Awesome.

Donna Fawcett
www.donnafawcett.com