5 Handy Resources for Writers

Every writer has a preferred modus operandi, including diverse details such as when we write, where we write, and what we use to write.

For those of you who write in a research-intensive style or genre, here are a few tools that can make your life easier:

  1. Microsoft OneNote. And its equivalent, Evernote. You will doubtless have your own preferences about the connectivity of the software you use that will determine which version of which program works best for you. In any case, there is nothing like this note-taking tool to organize everything from new book ideas to outlines to project to-dos.
  2. Scrivener. For really big projects, we cannot recommend this organization assistant heartily enough. Import research documents, take notes, write your manuscript—all in one place!
  3. Zotero. And if you need a bibliography, let this free database program do the hard work for you. Just enter the necessary information about your source. Zotero comes preloaded with several useful citation styles, and more can be added. Works seamlessly with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice.
  4. Newspapers.com. For those of you with a historical interest, there is a searchable goldmine of information just waiting for you here. You may be able to access the database through your local library. If not, try the free site Chronicling America from the Library of Congress.
  5. ALT Codes for Windows. Depending on what you write about, you may have occasion to use a lot of strange foreign characters. Penn State offers tables to help you find keyboard shortcuts for some of the most common. Accent codes for Mac are also provided.