This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while but I figured I'd give it until the end of the year to see if any spectacular resources cropped up before I posted this. I'm glad I did because a few resources squeaked their way in! I will openly admit that I'm a resource junkie (or maybe hoarder is a better term for it). Books, worksheets, software, etc. You convince me it will help with my writing and I shall acquire it. Now does everything I buy/own actually HELP with the writing? No. But that's why I wanted to share the ones that have worked in my experience. There are some items on this list I absolutely could NOT live without now. I always appreciate when other writers share their findings so I wanted to spread the love! Without further ado....

1. Scrivener

image source: Dennis Argall
There has been SO MUCH around the interwebs about Scrivener that I am cautious to go into depth on what a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC piece of software this is. I found out about it during my first go with NaNoWriMo. I did the trial version and though I barely scratched the surface on what it could do, I fell in love with it and purchased it when the trial was over. I honestly could not function in my writing life without Scrivener. It's a gift from the technology Gods. There is much debate on whether learning writing software should be more complicated than actual writing itself and this is what I say to those people: until you understand the powerful capabilities of Scrivener, you'll never realize what you're missing. I use Scrivener from beginning to end of my writing journal. From brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, formatting for ebook and print. It does it all. Seriously. Really, I'm not getting into the meat of the programs because there are far better resources out there to refer to. I highly checking out Literature and Latte for the software and description. Everything Scrivener is a blog I follow that always gives tips, tricks and testimonials on the software. I will say, that while Scrivener was made and is really suited for the Mac, there is a Windows version available to purchase. 

2. Brainstormer App

The Brainstormer app is a new resource for me but I'm already obsessed! It's this little app for the iPad that is basically a generator/randomizer when you're stuck (or if it's part of your process). It comes stock with "The Classic Brainstormer" which can you example like, "Letting Go/Robotic/Witch." It also comes with "Character Creator," "World Builder," and "Imagined Animals." The beauty is you can also create your own lists to randomize. When I was at a writing conference, a very famous author said, "The best way to hone your craft is to put yourself in a box and write yourself out of it." Meaning, challenge yourself with your characters, plots, etc. She said to pick 3-4 random things about your character and even if they don't initially make sense with your character -- it's your job to figure out how their backstory or future influences those things. So the pictures above are an example of a list I created called "Personality Trait Brainstormer." So, when it randomly chooses 3 different traits, like above, as a writer it's my job to figure out how to incorporate those traits into my character through backstory, situations and character development. Sometimes it's fun to challenge yourself like it (and also infuriating). I'm notoriously frugal when it comes to apps and software. I want to know I'm going to actually USE it before I pay for it -- and at $1.99 this app is worth it. I mean, c'mon, it's less than a cup of coffee and far more useful. 

3. Omm Writer

Omm Writer is a pretty awesome app for the Mac (it is available for the iPad, however, I don't use it on there). Scrivener actually has the capabilities to do full screen with cutting out all the distractions but there are times when I like just the touch of color and the soft typewriting pings I get from this app. It puts me in the "zone" when I'm having a hard time with a scene or I want to just free write. 

4. Spotify

The reason why I include Spotify on this list is because it has become invaluable to me as a writer. I'm literally obsessed with it. I can NOT write a novel without having a novel playlist created. I don't always listen to it *while* writing, but I'm most inspired by music, so getting into the "groove" and "tone" of my novel is insanely important and Spotify helps me do that. I also LOVE the sharing capabilities it gives me. I can share my playlist on a blog, via URL and have followers. Everything about Spotify screams convenience and I appreciate the ease with which it allows me to dip into my inspiration via music.  

5. Pinterest

Pinterest has more uses than I even care to count. It's like...the best thing to happen to the internet since sliced bread. But I've found it's INSANELY helpful to me as a writer. Other than procrastination, it's highly useful in sharing pictures/things that have inspired my novels. It's also a place to store that inspiration in secret. For example, I have some family photos that inspired my first novel, The Right Kind of Wrong. At the time, I wasn't sure I really wanted to share those with the billions of people using Pinterest, so I kept that board secret but when I made my photo teasers for my novella Whiskey and a Gun, I created an entire board to share with people so anyone could see it/re-pin the teasers or cover. I think readers appreciate seeing what kind of things inspire writers and their stories. It's also a way to engage with the story on a bigger scale. 

6. Holly Lisle's Enormous Library of STUFF

Holly Lisle is an enigma... I'd never heard of her actual fiction books but everyone in the writing blogosphere can't shut up about her. So a couple years ago, I decided to see what the fuss was all about. And find out, I did. This lady is crazy smart. And has the mackdaddy of resources. Everything from plot to character to world building clinics. Her stuff is insanely helpful but it can get overwhelming. Especially when you get everything of hers all at once and try to take in all of her knowledge at once. It's easier to isolate the problem you're having with your writing and then reading/using the resource connected to that problem first than trying to absorb everything. Check out her writing workshop resources and I guarantee you'll find something of hers that becomes extremely useful to your writing toolbox. 

7. Chuck Wendig

1. I wish I knew Chuck Wendig personally. 2. I wish I could meet his parents and tell them they did a great job raising him. 3. This guy deserves an award for being so amazing. 

So if you're not familiar with Chuck Wendig, GO HERE RIGHT NOW. He single-handedly restored my faith in mentoring people. He swears like a sailor, shows no mercy in his advice but you can tell it's so obvious that he's a good man, with a kind heart who really wants to see everyone succeed. He's INSANELY intelligent. I respect him and his advice so much. He's hilarious, witty and I always, always, always go to his website or books when I need a pick me up because usually when you read his posts or advice you're like...holy shit. He's right. He's so right. And then I dust myself off and get back on the writing horse. His books are worth buying and he often does unique things like bundling them together and then letting YOU choose the price you want to pay. It's neat. I'm embarrassed and ashamed to say I've yet to read any of his fiction yet, though, I've added them all to my TBR list because they all sound kick-ass. Anyway. This guy, right here, is a FABULOUS resource. So check him out. 

8. Writers Helping Writers (Formally The Bookshelf Muse)

One of the first blogs I followed when I started blogging/writing was The Bookshelf Muse (Now Writers Helping Writers). Two ladies whose only goal was to help other writers. They are two of the kindest, brilliant, most generous women I've ever had the pleasure of cyber-knowing. Their posts were always crazy helpful when it comes to writing but then they published The Emotional Thesaurus and I wanted to kiss them both as I've used the book to the point of exhaustion while writing my novels. Then they came out The Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus and I about died. These two can do no wrong and have earned their spots on my most coveted writing/craft book list. 

9. Character Profile Builder

This nifty Character Trait builder is a recent find and I'm kind of in LOVE with it. It offers 4 different variations of the builder ranging from extremely detailed to sparsely detailed. Whatever trips your trigger, they've made this website a brilliant tool for writers. It forces you to think about and imagine your character in ways you haven't before. What kind of learner are they? Team player? Do they have mental illnesses caused by childhood trauma or something they were born with. It really encourages getting to know your character on a deep and almost terrifying level. Thank you to the creators!

10. Writing/Craft Books I Swear By

There are far too many to list here so I'm using a Pinterest board to house them all. Clicking on the picture will take you to the Goodreads page and I've always included an Amazon purchase link for easy buying. The list is not meant to be exhaustive... I will be adding books to the list as I discover them.