For the past few days I have basically been doing nothing but writing, doing math, and listening to mostly the same two songs on repeat while I do so. (Honey by Derivakat being one of them, please go check it out its such a bop, and Sing to Me by Missio being the other because of a banger animation)
It’s been alright. I got quite a lot of work done on books which is nice. But it feels a little time-loopy, y’know? Not entirely unenjoyable, though, just weird.
I reckon today I should, like, teach you guys something. Or explain something that I know, anyway, because I’m not very good at teaching things.
And that something is writing resources.
You may be asking ” . . . what do you mean, writing resources?”
Well I’m GLAD YOU ASKED!
Writing resources are things that help writers do that stuff that they do.
So . . . writing.
The term itself is very broad, and includes things like apps, books, videos, and even entire communities and competitions. I myself have used a ton of writing resources and am now going to tell you my favorites, ones that I’ve tried and found helpful, ones I have tried and found unhelpful, and ones that would probably be a lot more helpful if I could, like, be consistent for more than three days at a time.
So BUCKLE UP, kiddos, we’re getting right into it.
WriteTrack is a website developed by David S. Gale that is essentially a word tracker calendar. Say you’re doing NaNoWriMo or a similar challenge, or you have a deadline to get a certain amount of words written by a certain time, but you can’t always write the same exact amount of words every day without fail. That’s where WriteTrack comes in. All you do is set your timeframe, and then tell it how many words you need to have written by the end of it. It divides up that word count between every day. Then, you can set each day with a ‘weight’. So say on Mondays, you’re busy all day like I am and there’s no way you can write 2,000 words or whatever. You could change that day from a 100% day to a, say, 20% day. Or you have one day where you’re completely free and have enough time to write, say, 170%. Then all of the other days would adjust accordingly.
Isn’t that AWESOME!?
As you write, you put in your word count for the day. The daily goals are adjusted based on how much above or below the goal your count is, so that you’ll always be able to finish your project provided you actually do write when you say you will.
That’s where I have issues, but maybe you won’t.
This is how I got through the last two years I did NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, as well as other times when I just wanted accountability. As long as I’m sticking to it and disciplining myself, it works absolutely perfectly.
It’s also free and incredibly easy to use, so that is a huge bonus.
Don’t you just hate notebooks? You try to write down all of your outlining and character profiles and plot thoughts, but you can’t remember which book you wrote what in, and they’re very fragile, and small children tend to steal them and scribble a single scribble on every single page for no discernible reason. It’s really just a big hassle.
Notebook.ai is just what it sounds like; an online place to organize all of your nefarious plots. I used this ALL the time back in, like, 2018. There’s character pages and creature pages and place pages and story pages and object pages and they can all link to each other like an interconnected web of red yarn. It’s very easy to figure out and navigate.
The big issue is that it is not free, and you can only use the most basic functions unless you pay for it.
Which brings me to my next one:
World Anvil is basically just Notebook.ai, but BETTER IN EVERY WAY. For one thing you get all of the functions, all of them, for the low low price of absolutely free. And there’s more of them too. You can also group them together into worlds, which Notebook.ai can’t do.
The options are like actually limitless. You can create timelines that intersect with each other. You can create entire fantasy races with enough in-depth questions to make you scared to write it. You can organize all your prophecies and foreshadows. You can figure out the intricacies of governments and syndicates and how they do their dirty deals with each other. You can explain EXACTLY why that one sword is magical and how and why its relevant to the plot.And all of them slot together nicely. The site is a little harder to navigate than Notebbok.ai’s, but really it’s worth a little extra clunkiness.
This is half video game, half speedrunning timer, allllll stress.
At least in my opinion.
Fighter’s Block is a good resource for somebody who knows exactly what they’re gonna write and just needs the motivation to do it. I tried it and it went horribly, but I always freak out under a timer.
The basic idea is you tell it how many words you need done and pick your little character. Then you are pitted against a beastie and when you write words, it does the beastie damage. If you’re not writing, you take damage. The goal is to kill the thing by reaching your goal before you die. I’ve heard many great things from other people about this one. Maybe it’s perfect for you, maybe an adrenaline rush is just what you need to vomit out some story from your whirlwind of a brain in speedrunning fashion while you hum Trance Music For Racing Game.
I both applaud and fear you.
I like maps in books. They’re cool. They’re also very hard to make unless you’re an art wizard or something. But sometimes you just need to know where your stuff is and what it looks like, maybe as a mock-up for your illustrator, maybe just because you want to have a map and you’re in charge so you do what you WANT.
Inkarnate makes the maps. Well, you make the maps, but you use Inkarnate to do it. It’s very easy to use and has lots of options. You can draw different types of terrain, like dirt or sand or water, there’s different styles of stamps for forests, cities, castles, mountains, anything you like. Different fonts for labeling, if you want to name towns or specify that there might be dragons in that particular mountain. Then you just save them and send them to whoever you like. I’ve used this for two different worlds and believe me, it’s much better than when I tried to draw them by hand.
Also it’s freeeeeee!
Listening to music is a great way to shove your brain into the groove of writing. Except when it isn’t. Ambient Mixer is like music, but . . .better. Basically its a community of people who cobble together different sounds to make audible settings, pretty much any setting imaginable. Rain, forests, coffeeshops, wind, libraries, trains, flying on a dragon, the ocean, inside old buildings. Every track is incredibly specific and just right for tricking your brain into thinking you’re actually where you’re trying to pretend you are. I use this when I’m having trouble describing settings or weather, because once you hear the sounds your brain makes up for the other senses.
You can even mix your own sounds, in the event that the one you’re looking for is just too specific. There’s a practically infinite stock of audio files to choose from and a simple interface for mixing them. You’re even able to edit existing tracks. Don’t want the occasional wolf howl in your spooky night forest? Just mute it! Is that phone ringing too frequently in your office? You can change the timings as much as you want.
Or you can just turn on some rain and chill for two hours, I won’t judge.
Story Embers and Kingdom Pen
These are different than the rest of the things I’ve suggested in that these are online communities as opposed to helpful sites to do on your own. I have been part of both of these, and if I hadn’t I would never have grown in my writing. Kingdom Pen came first, back in oh, 2017 was when I joined I believe. They’re lovely people and all know a whole lot about how to craft stories and how to teach teenagers how to do it well. They’re also hilarious. (Any Kapeefers in the chat? 😉 All hail the Raspberry King) It costs nothing to join and you’ll enjoy yourself and learn so much.
Story Embers was started by the Kingdom Pen people who grew up and decided they could do more. Story Embers is open to kids and adults and goes more in-depth into the theory and technical bits of writing, offering classes and learning opportunities as well as general community and support. Along with authors, editors and artists also populate the articles and forums, and there’s something for everybody if you’re willing to take the time to learn.
I know several of the staff members of both sites personally, and they’re complete darlings and love what they do and are fantastic at it. If you find yourself wanting to get better at what you love but you’re not quite sure who to ask for help, ask these people. And who knows, maybe you’ll do what I did and make some best friends.
What a strange abbreviation, you say. What could it possibly mean? Why do you keep talking about it?
Well you see
National Novel Writing Month is kind of a big deal in the writing community. November, the month where authors grind their hardest to write 50,000 words in one measly month. And a lot of them do it, believe it or not. I did it. It was wild. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great practice with deadlines and discipline.
There’s also Camp NaNo, which is in April and July. It’s basically a chill version, where you can pick your own goal and do it as a team with your friends.
It’s a huge achievement if you can do it, and you’ll have bragging rights the rest of your life.
This one seems simple, but it’s probably the best resource you have. Whether they also write or not, your friends will help you more than any timer or chart ever will. They can read your stories and tell you what you did wrong, or what you did right (that happens more often). They’ll be your tiny fanbase and beat content out of you with a stick. They’ll catch the spelling and grammar mistakes you missed because you wrote that last chapter at 1 AM and your eyes were glazing over. They’ll let you ramble about your plots and act excited and they probably actually are. They’ll motivate you with music or memes or putting characters in peril until you reach your word count goals. You’ll want to write for them, not just because you have to. They’ll make theories and conspiracies and you’ll have to giggle and try really hard not to spoil things for them, or maybe you will and they’ll be in on it when no one else is expecting a thing. They’ll gush about the latest livestream from your favorite streamer with you and gleefully support your decision to steal ALL the found family dynamic. They’ll tell you that you’re being an idiot when you are.
Get yourself a friend who will tell you you’re an idiot and that no matter what, you’re doing okay.
Dangit I got a bit sappy there, uh, you saw nothing.
Tell me about your personal favorite writing resources! I probably need more. Or, tell me if you’ve used the same ones I have! We can be twinsssss. Leave a comment anyhow, they make me happy. See you next week!