As a writer, all I really need is a laptop and an internet connection. But there are a handful of things that help me write better, faster, and easier. Below, the 10 things I can’t write without:
1. Zenbook laptop
It’s not a Macbook. But this laptop checks all the boxes for me: lightweight, fast, and affordable. It starts up in a flash and lets me flip between screens without hesitation. And at 13″, it’s compact yet big enough for writing and editing without feeling crunched. (Plus, it fits in my carry-on.)
The digital version of sticky notes. I keep my to-do lists, blog ideas, swipe files, notes, and research in Evernote. I can sync my notes from my phone to my computer to the internet, so they’re always with me.
3. Google Drive
I work with tons of documents, so keeping them organized is a job in itself. Whenever I start working with a new client, I create a folder for them in Drive. This nitpicky naming system helps me locate files (no more wondering “What did I name that thing?”):
Everything related to client projects gets stored in their file in Drive. I can track changes, share docs with my clients using Gmail, and access my files from anywhere.
4. Diet Coke
You can gauge the intensity of my projects by the number of Diet Coke bottles littering my workspace. It’s a non-negotiable part of my writing process.
Ever try a tool and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” That’s Airstory. With Airstory, I can drag and drop ideas into an outline using cards. It’s a huge timesaver whether I’m writing a blog post, email, or social media blurbs.
6. Swipe file
Anytime I see a great subject line, landing page, or email, I add it to my swipe file for reference. I store all these files in Evernote, and use them for ideas and inspiration whenever I write copy.
7. Notebook & pen
Although I do most of my writing on my laptop, I keep a notebook handy just in case. Sometimes I’ll brainstorm on paper, or I’ll sketch an email sequence by hand. Either way, I usually end up with pages full of scribbles.
The first time I tried the Grammarly proofreading tool, I wasn’t a big fan. But it seems like they’ve made quite a few improvements over the last year or so. Grammarly is great for catching those mistakes that spellcheck misses (like when you leave out a word). The Chrome extension is particularly helpful.
9. Hemingway App
Hemingway is a different kind of editing tool. Unlike Grammarly, Hemingway helps make your writing bold and clear. The app highlights lengthy sentences, complex words, and weakening phrases.
10. Standing “desk”
After reading about the health and productivity benefits of standing desks, I turned our breakfast bar into a makeshift standing desk. Now I’m more productive, my neck and back feel better — and bonus points for burning off lunch while I work.
What about you? What are some things you can’t write without?