Laura Haley-McNeil

3/24/19 Writing Software

Hello, Everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying a lovely spring, if you live in my part of the world. The nicer the weather, the more difficult it is to stay indoors and write, but I give myself incentives as I’m always looking for ways to convince myself to plop myself in front of the computer. Writing software is one way to do this, but it has its pros and cons.


Because I’m a complete technophobe, learning anything technical can make my head explode. I’m not much for reading instructions. That’s cheating. But I’m great at clicking until I get the desired response, but then I forget what I’ve done to achieve the desired result. The battle never ends.

There are many writing software programs available and all promise to help writers create the great American novel. The software helps to give us the desired format, create characters, compile notes, etc.

I had used one program recommended by writers I admire. The program was ridiculously inexpensive and on sale. I’m sure I only used the basics. I tried to follow videos to learn the software’s capabilities, but most of what was offered didn’t apply to my writing. All I want to do is write a book. I don’t keep research notes. When I need to know something I google it and use it on the spot.

Organize Writing

I do write brief outlines before I start writing, but I don’t spend a lot of time on these, i.e., outline each scene, outline each character’s arc, because my stories and the characters often take an unpredictable twist and I usually recreate the outline so I can direct my writing toward the new ending. For that, the writing software was helpful. I don’t create character sketches, but I do keep a list of names that I like or have used and refer to as I write. I do the same with titles. So, in those cases, it was nice to have files I could open and use while writing.

Then my computer crashed. I lost everything. Most I had backed up. This was months ago and I’m still recreating files.  Going through the process of digging through flash drives to find the needed files has been arduous. I’m not very organized. Most writers I know love charts and graphs and folders, folders, folders. I’m not one of those.

Computer Crash

One of the programs lost was the writing software. I haven’t reinstalled it. It saved files in an odd configuration and wasn’t easy to back up. Since the crash, I started using Word and have decided that it can do nearly everything the writing software can do. For my books, I don’t need a lot of data. Everything’s linear. For now, Word works fine. Maybe after I’ve fully recovered from the computer crash, I might reload it and try it again. Sigh.


Remember to enjoy this lovely weather and get outside and breathe fresh air. We have many wonderful months ahead of us that we have to enjoy. Have a wonderful and blessed week!