The great thing about being a writer is that I don't need to spend a lot of money to hone my craft. Technically, the only tools I need are pen and paper/computer. Everything else is details.
But I like details. I like immersing my senses, creating rituals, and doing anything I can to help me sit down and write. And lord knows, I need all the help I can get.
Below you'll find my most cherished novel-writing tools. Some are specific to my story, but they can still give you an idea of how you can use something similar.
P.S. Please note that some of these links are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thank you!
K.M. Weiland Books
I struggled with plotting/outlining for years. It seemed so simple, and yet, I couldn't get any of my characters to do anything. I loved them and they seemed like beautiful, complex characters to me, but they drifted through the stories.
I read books about plot and books that promised to help me write a novel in three months. But none of it worked. I just couldn't grasp how to structure a novel, but I knew pantsing wasn't going to get me anywhere.
Then I found K.M. Weiland's books and everything changed. Everything made sense!
I read and re-read her books about structure, outlines, and character arcs. I follow her suggestions and structures. She writes about these complex (complex to me) things in such a clear and understandable way that I was finally able to outline the novel I'm working on now. Plus, I have my character's arcs, backstories, everything! It's made things so much simpler.
If outlining, structuring, and creating plots is something you struggle with, I highly recommend Weiland's work. I also use her Outlining Your Novel Workbook Computer Program. It has easy fill-in-the-blank questions that guide the writer through every step of the outlining process, from premise to characters to setting. It's all there and fun to use.
Different crystals hold different energy, so look for the ones that suit your needs. I've chosen titanium aura quartz, fuchsia agate, and quartz.
The fuchsia agate and quartz have been charged specifically with the intentions of writing and finishing my novel. They sit on my writing notebook when I'm not using it, and when I'm writing on the laptop, they sit beside me.
The necklace you see is one of my favorite crystals - titanium aura quartz. I wear it almost every day and definitely while writing. Titanium aura opens all the chakras and releases auric blockages. It amplifies strength, courage, tenacity, and endurance. I've always felt that it holds a certain creative energy, as well. I think it's the rainbow of colors.
Fuchsia agate has a few different properties (protection/security), but I chose it for its ability to reinforce belief in myself and my skills. Plus, I love the violet-pink color, which has always been a kind of creative color for me.
Quartz is such a versatile crystal, as it can be charged with the properties of any stone. It is used for magnification, intensification, and the sealing of intentions. You can see why I use it in tandem with my other charged stones.
Notebook and pen
I always find a notebook that speaks to me, for whatever reason I need it. This pink one with gold elastic wrap was the perfect fit. I wrote my outline and character sketches in this notebook and continue to use it for notes, scenes, dialogue, whatever comes to me. Sometimes writing in a notebook frees my mind, so I go between the paper and screen.
My favorite brand of pen to use (for anything!) is the Pilot G-2 07.
I bought the Scrivener computer writing program a few years ago during NaNoWriMo. I was a bit hesitant because I heard that it had a steep learning curve, and in some cases that's true (if you want to get into its depths). I like it for its organization and one-stop-shop feel. All my folders, chapters, scenes, notes, etc. are right there and easy to access and move around.
There's A LOT of stuff you can do with Scrivener, so it depends on how much time you want to put into it. I'm a pretty simple user, but it's still an effective tool and worth the small investment.
rose lotion and candle
Like I said, I love immersing my senses when I'm writing and I've found that attaching a scent to my story helps me "get in the mood" to write.
Roses play a part in Love & Hysteria so I slather on Grounded Rose body butter before writing and light my Fresh Floral Romance candle, which smells like a rose garden. Bliss!
Scents can help you get into the story and can signal your brain that it's time to write. Creating a ritual (like lighting a candle and putting on perfume/oil/lotion) can also get your brain on the right track. #brainhack
my older, wiser self
Your older, wiser self is a tool? You bet you are!
I check in with my OWS quite frequently, whether or not it has to do with writing. She came to me once, a slightly gray-haired woman wearing a black turtleneck and standing by a fireplace. That's where she always is and what she's always wearing. *shrug*
I ask her advice, go to her for inspiration, and touch base with her when I feel like giving up. She always has something wise to say and a smile on her face. And she always tells me to keep going - it will be worth it.
I love creating novel soundtracks that I can listen to while I write and for inspiration when I'm not writing. My Love & Hysteria soundtrack is a mix of moody instrumental and heartbreaking love songs.
It's super hard for me to write without music. I just feel so much more inspired when I do and things come to me. Many of my scenes materialized as I drifted off to sleep while listening to my novel soundtrack.
I use Spotify to find music and create playlists, but you can use anything from YouTube to iTunes to whatever else is new and hip these days.
So there you have it. My list of go-to novel-writing tools that I hope will see me through, from chapter 1 to the sweet bliss of completion.
Do you have any tools that help you write?