favorite writing tools
| |

9 favorite writing tools and resources I can’t live without

What are your favorite writing tools? Here are nine I use daily and weekly to be more productive and effective. 

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no extra charge to you).

I love when someone I follow shares their favorite tools and resources in a blog post or podcast episode. I nearly always discover something I can add to my arsenal.

Maybe I can offer you an “aha!” or two by sharing the favorite writing tools I use day in and day out, too.

A couple – like the mug warmer on my desk to the left of my keyboard – are things I use so much I take them for granted. Others are tools I use weekly, rather than daily.

But they’re all resources I’d panic without – every single one of them.

Category 1: Writing basics You’re Probably Using, Too

favorite writing tools 2

I’m a blogger, freelance writer, author, and book marketing resource creator. I wouldn’t be able to earn a living without the tools that are foundational to writing.

Click on the name of each resource to learn more.

Do you write in Word, too?

This is so basic for me that I’m always (still) a little surprised when someone in an author group asks what software they should use to write their book.

I remind myself that not everybody has been pounding away on a keyboard since desktop computers – along with Word – entered the workplace.

I’m hearing good things about Scrivener for books, too. (If you use it, please tell me what you like about it in a comment below!)

WordPress is the tool my website designer used to build my website. It’s particularly blogger friendly – I can create and format content for you without knowing anything about programming.

WordPress has a lot of competition, especially among small business owners like you and me (yes, authors are small business people). Even so, almost half of all websites are powered by WordPress.

It’s both powerful and easy to use. I’m sticking with it.

Category 2: Office Supplies

favorite writing tools 3

There’s nothing cool or whizbang about the products in this category that I use daily. But I’d be lost without them.

I can’t write anything longer than an email without a cup of tea next to me.

This gem keeps it hot as long as there’s something in the cup.

Big thanks to my bestie Marcia for introducing me this side-spiral notebook I use as my “big ideas” notebook.

I record product ideas, capture brainstorming notes, and track progress of products or programs I’m creating. I pay $1.25 for them at Dollar Tree, so check your local dollar store first.

How do I love thee, blue G-2 roller pen? Enough that I bought a 14-pack at BJ’s for a great price.

Word flow is easy and smooth.

Category 3: Success Tools

favorite writing tools 4

These are my favorite time-saving, productivity-boosting tools.

I use this headline-writing tool so much that the brand invited me to join its influencer team.

It’s both a WordPress plug-in and web-based tool that helps writers create effective, attention-getting headlines.

The first week I started using it to craft new headlines and rewrite older ones, my site users increased by 56% and time spent on the site increased 50%.

There’s both a free and premium version. I have a premium account; my influencer link lets you try it free for seven days.

The top graphic you see on this post? I created it with Canva.

I use this graphics resource almost daily for my weekly blog post images, social media graphics, and to create printable products that include worksheets (I’ll be introducing a printable bundle soon!).

Canva Pro, the premium version, has more options that reduce the amount of time I spend creating content. Still, if you don’t use Canva as much as I do, you can probably get what you need with a free account.

There was a time when I spent hours scouring free photo sites for images for my blog posts and social media graphics.

But time is money. So I now pay for a Depositphotos image pack and get what I need in seconds.

Huge. Timesaver.

ConvertKit, my email service provider, was designed for creators like us.

It’s powerful, yet easy to use, and technical support is excellent.

The brand also works hard to help its customers succeed. I recently participated in a free ConvertKit mastermind webinar where participants broke out into small groups to discuss their email marketing challenges. That time with people who are far more experienced than I am was invaluable.

What are your favorite writing tools?

I use other tools, too, such as QuickWrite as a writer’s assistant, and Qwoted to find experts to interview for articles assigned by clients, but not always daily or weekly.

Be sure to check the Resources page on this site for even more help solving problems we all share.

I’m curious about what you use and love, too.

What are your favorite writing tools or resources — from tangibles to software or even services? Please tell us about them in a comment!

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


    1. Thanks, Linnea! I just recommended Pixabay to my brother last weekend. I used to use that one and Pexels, but eventually found them too limiting. I need to try Grammarly again. Do you use the free or premium version?


  1. Hi Sandy! Thanks for this great list. I also use WordPress/Bluehost and Pixabay, though I’ve recently heard of Deposit photos and will look into. Besides Word (my fave), I have blue ball point pens (yes, the G2!) and spiral notebooks everywhere!!! Hahaha. Thanks for sharing.

    1. We’re in sync, aren’t we Carolyn? I use the classic top-spiral steno pads to take notes when I’m taking an online course or watching a webinar, too!


    1. I’ve never heard of that, Rolynn, but it looks like a fantastic resource! Thanks for taking the time to comment with a link — very helpful!


  2. I use Grammarly, and it’s terrific. It works on nearly everything I write on my Mac, and I can set the tone. The AI learns my writing style, and you can tune that as well. You can accept or dismiss any of its recommendations. It’s a time save, and most importantly, it reveals my bad writing habits.

    I use WordPress for my website but GoDaddy for my landing pages because when you buy a domain name, you get a free landing page. This is great for new book launches!

    I use ChatGPT to take a pile of my notes and make an outline for my content plans. I can input an article I wrote and have GPT generate LinkedIn posts, hooks, and calls to action. It let me assemble my 18 month content campaign in under an hour.

    1. Ohmygosh, Jeffrey, so many gems here! Thank you! Do you use the free or premium Grammarly version? So many have recommended it here and in my Facebook group in response to this article that I’ve decided I definitely have to try it.

      That’s a great tip on GoDaddy landing pages — it’s where I buy my domain names, too.

      I’m just started to tap into the power of AI tools like QuickWrite and ChatGPT, so I love the example you provided. Related to that, I’m working on the sales page for a publicity tool bundle I’ve created, and asked 3 AI tools to write headlines announcing the new product. Headline Studio’s options are far superior — and there were so many good ones out of the 10 provided that I’m having trouble picking the best one. Such a timesaver!

      Thanks for sharing these!


  3. I use pexel.com for royalty free photos. Also, I love Scrivener. It keeps everything all together in one place—has a file for research so I put in the URL and never lose a resource. That’s just thing I love about it.

    1. Thanks, Larada! That “everything in one place” aspect of Scrivener is what’s making me think I need to try it. Is there much of a learning curve?


  4. I’m going to address tools for WRITING only, not marketing.
    1. Not just Word, but MS Office Suite – the whole thing. I use Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint, and Outlook frequently.

    2. Google Scholar – I constantly check academic resources published in journals and reviews, and it also cites for me.

    3. Search Engines (I like Google, Yahoo, and Bing). Similar results, but enough differences for checking when one doesn’t work. Research on the fly. Along with Google Scholar (which can be trusted for its highly vetted credentials).

    4. Character Map – it’s on your computer, use it!

    5. Numerous FREE picture sources. Pexels, Pixabay, FreeImages, Unsplash, Freepik and more.

    6. Starting to slowly introduce AI as a search tool and image generator. I do NOT use what it writes, but ask it questions and then check sources myself. Also, I tell it to make an image of a diverse group in a library discussing literature and it cranks out a 3D vector image of what I described that I can use.

    7. NEVER USE GRAMMARLY: Little known fact, in the user agreement it’s noted that Grammarly records every keystroke you make on your keyboard whether you are using it to check a document or not, so everything you type, passwords, etc., are digitally stored on a storage device somewhere. No need to be paranoid, it’s not like anyone is using the info. But if hackers get it, or the government mandates Grammarly turn over their data, your records are there. Also, who knows when your keystrokes will be sold to companies for use in training AI? Not something I prefer to be involved with. Not alarmist, just not happy with that scenario and choose not to participate.


    1. Thanks, David! This is great! I had to Google Character Map. How do you use it in your writing?

      Thanks for the Grammarly warning. Are you saying that it logs all keystrokes on all software you use on the computer? That would have to be the case if it captures passwords, right?


  5. Scrivener is pretty great if you have a lot of notes or research to keep track of. You can keep it all in one file, which is super helpful for world-building! It’s cool how you can literally just drag web pages into the program. So it looks like a screenshot but you can scroll all the way down etc. it’s helpful when you need to refer back to backstory (to avoid plot holes) or needing reminders of how something looks visually. Word is more user-friendly I think. So I generally write and edit in Word but I’ve used Scrivener for first drafts and will still refer to it after I’ve exported to begin second drafts.

    1. This is such helpful feedback, Taylor! Thanks so much! I think what’s kept me with Word is that I’ve heard from others, too, that it’s more user friendly but something that keeps all research, notes, etc. in one place is really appealing.


  6. I write my suspense novels directly into Atticus. After three traditionally published novels, I turned to self-publishing; paid a formatter for the first self-pub novel, but then bought Atticus – one time purchase, no looking back. It automatically formats your novel as you go along.
    If you buy it mid-manuscript, you can plop your Word document into Atticus and it will format it. Can also add your cover, save your finished document to your computer if you’re worried about their cloud storage and upload directly to anywhere you publish once you’re done.
    Has some lovely fonts for chapter headings and so many other options for both fiction and non-fiction writings. No charge for upgrades and they are adding features all the time.

    1. What a fantastic tip, Sue! I definitely need to look into Atticus. I hope people read these comments and see your feedback on that one. Thanks!


  7. I use Atticus Formatting Tool and love it. ProWritingAid integrates through Chrome extension. WordPress, Uniball Signo 207 pens, legal pads, Canva, Shutterstock, Mockupshots after uploading my book covers it creates hundreds of different mockups for my books. Just started using Coverkit.

    1. What a great list, Randy! Thanks! Is Atticus relatively easy to figure out?

      I’m also glad you mentioned MockupShots. It’s one of my favorites! For anyone reading this, it’s on sale now for a few days for just $67 with my affiliate link: https://www.mockupshots.com/special/?orid=231507. It’s an amazingly powerful (and useful!) tool.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *