The stories we tell ourselves are like glasses through which we understand the world. They define the field we play on and guide the decisions we make, whether about book publishing or any other area of our lives.
Unfortunately, in the world of writing and publishing, there are a lot of false narratives floating around that create a romantic idea about the life of an author that can end in self-doubt, frustration, and stagnation. To avoid falling into the trap of bad stories, it’s important we pause and consider the world we exist in.
Recently, I shared why Microsoft Excel and Google Docs are some of my favorite pieces of book writing software. Spreadsheets might seem like odd resources for a writer, but I’ve found them to be invaluable tools for planning my stories.
I use spreadsheets to plan my stories in several ways. Today, though, I’m going to focus on just one: creating a beat sheet to outline a story before I write.
While finding a word processing tool you are comfortable with is crucial to writing, there are other types of book writing software that are just as important. Before I wrote my first novel, if you’d told me that an important part of my book writing software arsenal would be a good spreadsheet, I would have said you were crazy.
Now that I’ve published three novels, I realize my plots and worlds would never make sense without them.
It’s easy as a writer to fall into the trap of shiny new toys. There’s an endless number of book writing software programs claiming to be the best at one thing or another, from Microsoft Word to Scrivener to Vellum—and the list goes on and on.
They flash their sexy features at you and promise to be the very thing you need to become the writer you want to be. But sadly, these programs will not make you into the writer you want to be. They offer the world, but often only take your time.
That’s why I would like to offer a defense for using the industry book writing software standard, Microsoft Word.
As writers, we create new realities, which demands we use our experiences to inform our work. A stroll with a friend in a park or a dance in a fountain will translate into chapters.
We don’t just have to grab the good times. We can do this with illness as well. When we are sick, we should try and take a step back and learn about how our characters will feel when they are struck with a disease.