Writing a novel is a dream for many people. I recently broke my wrist and, looking for something to do whilst housebound, I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo. I’ve always wanted to write a novel myself, so I thought that this would be a good opportunity.
However, NaNoWriMo involves writing 50,000 words of a first draft in a single month, and with only one wrist to use, the challenge was going to be significant. This got me thinking about how I could achieve my task, and I ended up discovering that there was some good software out there for writers.
I then realised that there are probably quite a few remote workers out there who might be considering writing a novel, so here are a few of the things that I found very helpful in case you want to write your own novel or are writing in any capacity while working remotely.
Speech Recognition Software
Not being able to type is a bit of a hindrance for writers, so I set out to look for some good speech recognition software. The software on the market is constantly improving, and I came across Dragon Speech Recognition, which I heartily recommend.
It can speed up your typing enormously, while helping to reduce hand strain, and it is very simple to use. It took a bit of getting used to, but it soon became more accurate because the more you use it, the better it becomes.
Soon I was writing away without actually having to type, and this was enormously liberating so I would definitely recommend trying it out if you do not want to spend too much time typing.
Regular readers of this blog will know how much I use and love Evernote – and it turns out that it can be put to use to write novels.
During the research stage of my novel, I put all my research into Evernote, including clips from the web and images so that I could find them quickly whenever I needed to.
I also made notes on the go using my smartphone when inspiration hit, so there was no need to purchase an audio recorder or carry around a notepad.
Evernote is free, so I would recommend downloading it and setting up a new folder or tag for all of your ideas for your writing. As far as organisational tools go, it is definitely one of my favourites.
A word processor is essential for any writer, and I especially liked this one. It is free to use, which is always a bonus, but in addition it is also an excellent way to plan your chapters, scenes and characters. Overall I found it much more useful than a standard word processor like Word.
I used this on my desktop to do all of my writing, but I then backed it up to Evernote very easily so I did not have to worry about losing any of my work.
A paid option you may want to consider is Scrivener, loved by novelists and writers around the world. This has more features than YWriter and is therefore more customisable, but as a result it has a steeper learning curve and takes a while to get the hang of.
Get Writing, Wherever You Are
If you, like me, want to write a novel one of these days then the above software could come in very handy, and whether you are travelling the globe or writing from home, you can make use of them all.
Just remember to back up all of your work. If you don’t use Evernote to back up your notes, use something like Dropbox instead. It never hurts to back it all up onto an external drive as well.
Good luck with your novel, and perhaps I’ll see you at NaNoWrMo next year!