Why I Don’t Need Fancy Writing Software

Mar 1, 2010

There are a million different types of writing software out there, from the free yWriter, to fancier ones like Scrivener or Dramatica Pro. Some are more expensive, some are more useful, and some writers swear by one or the other. I used yWriter for a while, then tested some free downloads, and you know what I learned? They don’t help me be a better writer.

I’m not saying they don’t have their uses. Depending on the person and your organizational needs, maybe you can’t live without one. Personally, not only do I not have the money for one, but I can do some of the same things without them! I find them overwhelming– there’s so much planning and structuring that I feel like I’d never get to the actual writing.

I still use the old standby of Microsoft Word. I have a folder for each of my works, and I have documents for world-building, character outlines, and plot outlines. Now granted, using a Word doc for a novel can get cumbersome. After I stopped using yWriter, the main thing I missed was being able to organize my work into easily navigable scenes. But guess what? Word can do that too! If you have Word 2007, just go to the View tab and click Document Map. Voila! I give each scene a quick title, and I can jump anywhere I need to, and do rearrangements a lot easier as well.

The main thing I learned was that I had to find what worked best for my writing style. We each need something that allows us to organize and write the way we need to. In my case, I need only the most basic tools.

What about you?


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