MuseHack Members Dish On Writing Tools – And It’s A Small Dish

We got this question in the mail!

“Hello Musehack’s authors. I have a question. In your opinion what is the best Writing and mind map software out there? At the moment I’m using Scrivener for my novel and having good results, but more insight is always welcome. Still need a good one for mind mapping tho.”

So a lot of us here at MuseHack write professionally or semi-professionally. I did the rounds of the gang to find what they liked to use and the results . . .

We’re not exactly big on mind mapping tools. A few of us have tried Scrivner, and yWriter is an interesting alternative, but really we don’t use them.  Yeah, when it comes to it, the writer’s in our gang of geeks aren’t into specific writing tools.

This is due to several reasons:

  • Tools don’t always mesh with your authorial techniques. The tool can become a constraint or a block. A lot of us had that problem with Scrivner.  Some of us never even started using them (like yours truly) since there didn’t seem to be any reason.
  • A tool can end up blocking you if you’re not careful.  Remember you’re putting your mind in someone else’s hands.
  • Tools may give you the illusion of doing more work than you are.
  • Tools may be outgrown even if they do help you.
  • Tools have limited availability (Scrivner’s dev curve differs for operating systems) and functionality depending on OS.

What do we use? Actually a lot of stuff:

  • Some of us do or did use wikis to organize documents, TiddlyWiki being a big example. It may also help you create content for a support site.
  • A lot of us use whatever the heck is available, from paper notes to notepad to word processors. We’re not big on constraints.
  • A few of us use paper in whole or in part.

The most important thing about writing and being a writer of any kind is to develop the techniques and tools inside your own head to imagine, track, and create things. These in turn can be reflected in the tools you use, adapt, or even build yourself. But the core thing is to find what works for you, develop your methods, and implement them.

If you’re not sure how to organize your thoughts, give it a shot and do it your way.  If you’re not sure how to start, the internet is replete with brainstorming suggestions, writing groups, and more.

– Steven