As a writer, being a creative person is a pretty big deal. We pride ourselves on how creative we are and yet there are times when we feel we just aren’t creative enough. It’s sort of a Ping-Pong match between the two. Some days it’s one, and a whole lot of other days, it’s the other. There have been quite a few times when I personally felt like I lost the game all together. Many times I found myself asking “Am I creative enough to be a writer?” or “What can I do to be more creative?”. In the end though, maybe it’s more of a question of how can we be the right amount of creative to accomplish our goals?
I want to tell you a story. Something that happened to me over the last few years that changed my life forever (causing me to abandon my blog for awhile too — sorry!) and made me see things in a little different light, especially concerning the way creativity works.
I’ll give you two guesses to see if you know the answer to this question… what is a writer’s worst enemy?
Well, I suppose it could be all sorts of things like not having enough time to write, a writing muse who decides to take an extended vacation, or here’s a goodie… the computer is broken and every pencil, pen, and blank piece of paper has mysteriously disappeared. Lol… okay so maybe that last one was a bit of a stretch (or maybe not — but I’m pleading the fifth on that one).
In my endeavor to write my new novel, I have found it difficult to keep track of all the little tidbits that encompass my massive story. I had been content to use a combination of Microsoft word processor documents, several handwritten notebooks, and scraps of paper with off the cuff ideas to be my artist pallet for ideas as the story unfolded. After awhile, chaos ensued and I realized I was drowning in lots of information strewn about every which way. I needed help! That’s when I decided it was time to breakdown and start searching for some novel management software. I found three that were on my top list and I thought I would share. Writing Outliner… This software is used in connection with Microsoft Word and it rocks if you are an in depth outliner. This program let’s you plot out your story from the overall big picture to the individual scenes. It is completely integrated with MS Word to make it easy to input files you already have written! You can edit multiple documents at once with document tags, and can use different icons to set apart different types of files for better organization. It also has the ability to compile documents in order you want for printing or saving. You can go here to get your free trial. If you chose to purchase, this program costs $49.00.
Write It Now… This software is great for organizing every aspect of your novel into one place. It has a section for creating characters, locations, events, and ideas. It has the ability to storyboard your ideas and create an individualized relationship map for each of your characters. The only draw back to this software is that it does have a little bit more of a learning curve, but the tutorials offered for the program are great in helping the learning process. You can access a free trail version here. The purchase price for this software is $59.95.
Scrivener… This is the software that I ultimately decided to purchase. I’ve been using Scrivener for a little over a month now and I love it! I love the way it breaks down the novel into parts, chapters, and individual scenes. You can use tags for easy organization, and put notes in files for later use. The compiling feature is amazing as it lets you choose scenes or chapters to print, or save as an individual file. I also like that you never have to hit the save button, because Scrivener saves everything automatically! You can download a 30 day free trial here. Purchase price is a reasonable $40 for PC users and $45 for Mac users.
It doesn’t matter if I’m writing a short story, novella, or novel, after using novel management software, I see it as a great tool even for shorter works. The best part is that most management software will setup a manuscript template, so all I have to do is put in my information, and it’s ready to send out for submission!