tools for imaginative writing

30 Tools for the Imaginative Writer

being an imaginative writer is all about saying what you want in a way that appeals to as many people as possible. 

But some writers often find it difficult to tap into their imagination. Being an imaginative writer is, in part, down to how you see the world and how you convey your information to your reader.

My name is Stewart, the founder of Lore, and I have compiled a list of tools that can help you become a more imaginative writer.

I have broken these tools down into four categories for ease of browsing, and to help you target exactly what you want to develop for your own imaginative writing. 

photo of imaginative writer stewart storrar

The four categories we will focus on today are:

  • Organisation tools
  • Tools for a relaxing environment
  • Tools for improving knowledge foundations
  • Writing Aids

RELATED: Micro Poetry – What Is It and Why Should You Write It?

Organization Tools

Organization tools, for this list, will cover a wide range of aspects to life that you may need assistance with organising. Keeping things ordered can help free up your time and efforts for what matters. To that end, I have included apps that I think can help you create a better working environment for writing!

1. XOWA – Offline Personal Wiki (a must for an imaginative writer)

So, this one is part organizational tool, part writing aid. I decided to list it here as XOWA is the perfect tool for world-builders or researchers alike to organize their ideas.

XOWA allows you to set up your own personal, offline, localized Wikipedia style directory on your computer. It can be a bit challenging to set up, but absolutely worth it!

For researchers, it allows you a centralized place to collate all your research offline on your PC. You can organize it your way, meaning you can find whatever information you have downloaded in an easy manner.

For novelists, it can be used as a world building resource or as a way to keep track of your novel’s plotlines. 

Find XOWA here.

2. Habitty

As a writer myself, I know that my own worst enemy is forming habits that stop me from writing what I want, when I want. Bad habits can be difficult to shake sometimes, and forming new habits can be an even tougher challenge. This blanket statement can apply to all aspects of life, but equally, can apply to writing. 

I also know as a writer that we are a stubborn breed at times, and sometimes we don’t realize what habits we have or how they are impacting our lives.

Habbity is a nice little app that can help you with your habits. You can set your goals, track your progress, and use it to help you form new habits (or get rid of old ones). For example, if you want to write every single day, you can set yourself a content goal. Or maybe you want to pace yourself and focus on quality over quantity?

No matter what habit you want to shake, or form, habbity can help you along the way.

3. Sticky Notes

Many people don’t know that they can get sticky notes for their desktop (I didn’t). Most of you, if you are on Windows 10, will already have a built in app that comes with your computer called Sticky Notes. 

Activating this application will give you your very own sticky note pad on your desktop, so you can quickly takes notes when needed, and don’t need to search around for the word document you made that one time.

I didn’t know about sticky notes until I looked into transitioning from hand writing my ‘To Do’ list on a piece of paper into an electronic form. Now, I use them every day to keep track of what I want to do, or what I need to do. But for writers, it can be a good way to plan out your ideas and become a better imaginative writer.

4. Google Workplace (aka G-Suite)

Many people know about Google Docs, but having a Google account will give you access to the full Google Suite of tools.
Google Suite is a plethora of tools that you can use for writing, and in this case, organization. While Google and it’s apps (like Google Docs and Google Sheets) are very popular and well known, I couldn’t have a list without at least mentioning it.

But Google Suite goes beyond just Google Docs and Google Sheets. It gives you access to over 11 different tools for various different functions. What you may end up using will differ from writer to writer, but generally speaking, Google Drive will be our focus.

Downloading Google Drive onto your desktop will allow for a seamless experience when it comes to using Google Sheets and Google Docs to plan out your stories, blogs, or content plans. And honestly, it has made my own writing ventures soo much easier (and better organized).

What I would recommend is setting up a new Gmail specifically for writing and writing alone. This will give your up to 15GB of storage space just for writing. This also means you can organize your associated Google Drive and solely dedicate it to writing endeavours. 
I find this divide between my personal Google drive and my writing Google drive very useful when trying to find old drafts of my work.
As a last little note, not many people know about Google Sites – which you may want to consider (even though it isn’t really and organizational tool, some people here may find it useful).

5. Google Keep

Google Keep is another tool that comes as a part of Google Suite, but I thought it deserved its own little place on this list. Not many people know about (let alone use) Google Keep but it can be a valuable tool for a writer. 

Google Keep is Google’s answer to other note taking and note organizational tools and is very similar to other tools mentioned here. However, how it differs from other note taking tools is that it is able to sync with your Google Account, and by extension, all your other Google related work.

So, if G-Suite, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google’s other tools are already in your arsenal then it makes perfect sense to add Google Keep to the list. It can provide a place to keep all your little (or big) ideas noted down and sync-able with your other Google tools.

6. Pinterest

I already know you are reading that entry and thinking, “wait, what?” and I don’t blame you! But hear me out. When it comes to being an imaginative writer, you need something to help fuel your imagination.

For different writers this can vary wildly, but I am a very visual person. I love photography, art, and filmmaking. Seeing beautiful photographs and works of art can fuel my own inner zeal to create. Pinterest is brilliant for this.

Pinterest allows you to view what you love, but also organize what you love to see. This organizational capacity of Pinterest is vital to why I use it, and why it is listed under organization tools. You can create your own custom feed of visual inspiration.

What this can help you facilitate is a place you can browse to and scroll through for organized, tailored inspiration!

7. Microsoft To-Do

For those who aren’t a big fan of Google and prefer to use Microsoft’s applications, then Microsoft To-Do is something to consider. Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to what software to use after all!

Microsoft To-Do functions in a very similar way to Google Keep and other note taking applications. However, it does have one key difference that adds value to your note taking and organization (and this also happens to be it’s main ‘selling point’ despite being free).

Microsoft To-Do brags itself as a cross-platform app that allows you to stay up-to-date with everything that you need to do; no matter if you are on mobile, laptop, tablet, or desktop. As it is an app in it’s own right, it has a greater range of flexibility for cross-platform use in comparison to similar apps.

It also syncs with Office 365 and Outlook, for the busier bees amongst us that need a tool to organize their workload and writing time with greater efficiency!

8. Milanote

Milanote is a software you can use to create a visual space for writing, but also for organizing your ideas. Think Pinterest, but with far greater functionality for the working writer.

The software allows you to organize your projects and ideas into visual walls for ease of navigation and organization. It is almost like a wall board!

It has a ton of functionality such as forming to-do lists, uploading images and files, saving links and content from other websites, and interlinking with your phone.

It is a niche software for the visual learners out there but certainly one that can prove extremely useful. Visit their website here!

Tools for a Relaxing Environment

Now we are moving onto a small section, but on I thought was important for any imaginative writer to consider. Many of us can create relaxing environments for our writing. For some, this means going out to a coffee shop and enjoying the buzz of our city or town. 

For others, they prefer finding a quiet spot in the local park. Everyone is different when it comes to creating a place to write in. With that in mind, these 5 tools can help you bring a little slice of whatever is relaxing for you to where ever you are.

9. Jour

“You’re listing a journaling app under organization tools?” – Yes. Yes I am. Jour is an app that is tailored towards journaling and having a place to jot things down; writing related or not. 

What I like about Jour is that it isn’t just focused on journaling, but also mental health, overall mood, and mindfulness. It can help you take a step away, decompress, and give you that much needed space to think when you need it. 

In a way, Jour can help you organize your mind space and mood for the writing you need to do; be it fictional, journalistic in nature, or non-fiction like technical writing. All kinds of writing need an imaginative writer, and an imaginative writer needs a stress free headspace.

The app also allows the sharing of journals, if you want, and the browsing of shared journals. It performs mood check ins, and can offer useful advice for handling different stressors that life may throw at you.

10. Unplug

Sticking with the mindfulness direction for a moment or two and we come to Unplug. Unplug is a meditation app that is designed to help you focus. 

Yes, the F word. It is something that can stop a lot of writers in their tracks. Losing focus can be a game changer, and for those in the professional writing industry in any capacity, losing focus can meaning missing a deadline.

For the hobbyist writers or novelists, losing focus can mean spending hours or days on only just a page or two. Losing your focus can even lead to the dreaded writer’s block. But Lore has a small article written for those suffering from block.

Unplug helps you with guided meditations, but also offers self-direction. What tends to separate this app from others is its noticeable lack of annoying timers that can disrupt your session and its inclusion of ambience to aid your meditation. Certain worth a look!

11. Catch It

This tool is niche, and focused towards those who are having a hard time (mental health wise). Using the last two apps as a spring board, I wanted to include an entry on this list for the writers out there (or anyone) that may need a little help in handling anxiety or depression.

This is sort of straying a bit from the main premise of this article but as someone that has struggled with mental health in the past, I felt compelled to include it. 

Catch It is an app developed by both Liverpool and Manchester Universities to help people notice, log, and help them cope with negative thoughts. It was constructed in such a way to “illustrate key… psychological approaches to mental health and well-being” to help people live happier lives.

While not everyone on this list may need such a tool, someone, somewhere, might. And that is good enough for it to get an entry on my list.

12. Relaxing Ambiance

Nothing relaxes the mind like music. But finding the perfect ambiance? That can be a bit trickier. Everyone has their own ideas and concepts about what ambiance suits them. For some, the sounds of a deep pine forest sooths the soul. For others, the bustling city rejuvenates their wonder. 

Relaxing Ambience gives you access to plenty of choices to create your own type of ambiance. It’s varied choices also come with the option to visualize this ambiance via their stylish backgrounds. It is only available on mobile, and the background stuff is optional, but the idea of offering a visual component to the ambience is unique!

Maybe, if you are open to it, combining such an app with incense can really get you de-stressed for your next writing session.
The best bit? The app is free and you can use it anywhere!

13. Nature Sounds

This is an app that I love! It has a similar concept to Relaxing Ambience, but has a particular focus on the sounds of nature. I decided to include both apps as their libraries of sounds are different in their own ways, so much so I just needed to inform on both.

What Nature Sounds does well is provide a vast array of nature sounds to select from, all for free. It also has useful built in functionality like timers, so that you can perhaps time a meditation, or even time a writing session to the calming sound of gentle waves.
Give it a try!

14. Ommwriter

The last entry for this section is partly a writing aid, but I thought it was better categorized here due to its sole purpose.

Ommwriter is a writing tool, or word processor, that aims to create a unique environment for writers to work in. It is all about atmosphere and giving you a pristine feel for writing. It is as much a writing tool as it is a relaxation tool.

It’s unique outlook on writing has given it the ability to create a truly peaceful atmosphere for all your writing needs. The company behind it describes their software as bringing back the feel, smell, and experience of writing – be it the satisfying clacking of a typewriter, or the calming visual notes of the software itself.

You can find out more about it here.

Improve your Knowledge Foundations as an imaginative writer

The next category will be extensive, and will probably have niche apps that you won’t use, but I want it to be as comprehensive as possible. Every imaginative writer out there needs sources of information to write from and educate themselves with.

This is especially true for those writing non-fiction, but isn’t just limited to them. Fictional novelists need good places to source information from too!

I am going to start this section with a bunch of popular YouTubers that create awesome educational content on a wide variety of subjects.

15. Anton Petrov

Anton Petrov is a YouTube channel focused on science and teaching complex subjects to his viewers. He covers a wide range of different topics, but mainly his content relates to space, space exploration, and explaining physics concepts.

He makes use of research papers, stays up-to-date with the latest scientific releases, and even endeavours to correct himself and his older videos if he makes any mistakes (which doesn’t happen often). He also lists all of his sources in his descriptions for further reading!
Explore his channel and learn something new!

16. Wendover Productions

Wendover productions is a wonderful channel that produces short documentaries, all for free, and accessible on YouTube. The channel has a focus on helping to explain how the world works, and exploring niche topics you may not think about.

Examples could be their videos on ‘Living Underwater: How Submarines Work‘ or ‘The Super-Fast Logistics of Delivering Blood By Drone‘. 
They have an extensive catalogue of interesting videos to delve into and they may just have something that will help your next writing project!

17. Real Science

As the name suggests, the YouTube channel Real Science is about educating their viewers on scientific concepts. They have very informative videos on everything for physics concepts to biology. While they don’t have as much content as other channels listed here, their content is very detailed.

On average they post a new video every month (sometimes two a month). Their focus is on accurate information portrayed in a succinct way, to allow you to grasp the fundamentals of a particular concept fairly quickly. This is ideal for people writing about scientific concepts, no matter if that be in fiction or non-fiction form.

You can find their channel here.

18. Real Engineering

From the same people that brought you Real Science, we have Real Engineering. Again, as you have most likely guessed, their channel is fairly self explanatory. They go into depth about real feats of engineering and what humans have accomplished with machines.

They cover a wide range of topics that are ideal for writers and the research that comes with writing any kind of content. Be it the 101 of Material Properties, or The Spitfire’s Fatal Flaw. They make it their mission to cover any engineering question you may have.

So, if you have burning engineering questions that you need answered for your writing needs, this is a good place to start!

19. Veritasium

Veritasium is a science based YouTube channel run by Doctor Derek Muller, an Australian-Canadian scientist and educator. Attaining his PhD in Physics from the University of Sydney, he decided to pursue physics as a career.

However, filmmaking had always been close to his heart. As a result he merged his two passions into his YouTube channel Veritasium. In his own words he creates compelling, well-research videos about “science, education, and anything else I find interesting.”

You can feed your brain via his YouTube channel.

20. Cinema Therapy

Straying away from the world of hard science for a moment and I would like to introduce you to Cinema Therapy. This YouTube channel is run by professional Filmmaker Alan Seawright and licensed therapist Jonathan Decker. 

They run their channel by breaking down characters and movies with their own unique perspectives. Their insights as a filmmaker and therapist into mental health, character development, and the emotional intelligence of certain screenwriters is something that is of value to any imaginative writer.

Their channel can help you understand concepts that can help you develop your characters, or storytelling outlook, in a profound way. 
I love their breakdowns!

21. Open Library (essential for every imaginative writer)

This entry is a fascinating one and a great way to learn about new books! Not only that, but you can learn about new authors too. Open Library is a website project dedicated to cataloguing every book in existence and works in a similar way to Wikipedia.

This fantastic resource can help you identify new books to read, or identify books that you can use to further educate yourself about a topic before writing about it. This is a great tool for imaginative writers looking to expand their horizons in the publishing world.
Exposure to new ideas may prove to be the fuel you need to finish your current project!

22. Free PDF Search Engine

As an extension of our last entry regarding Open Library, we have the Free PDF Search Engine. This search engine (enhanced by Google) is a search engine that will find you scientific papers. It lists free to download papers, legally, for people to access.

It was started as a way for people to research concepts they are interested in and gain access to public domain works published for free. Anyone that has looked into gaining access to scientific papers knows how much it can cost!

This is a wonderful resource for those looking to delve deeper into a subject before writing about it. You can find the search engine here for all you scientific paper needs!

23. LegalEagle

To finish off the knowledge base section, we have one last YouTube channel. Like some of the other YouTube channels on this list, this one is a bit niche, but still useful nonetheless. LegalEagle is a channel run by a practising lawyer in the United States.

As the theme suggests, LegalEagle delves into aspects of the criminal and civil law systems that govern the United States. Some popular videos that he does cover legal myths, reddit legal advice sub-reddits posts, and even taking a look at legal practices in popular TV shows and Films.

You can find his channel here.

Imaginative Writer Aids

This last category will feature tools, apps, and websites that can help you with all your needs as an imaginative writer.

Like the past three categories, I have delved into the internet to take a look at some resources that writers of any discipline may find useful – be it fiction or non-fiction that you are focusing on. Some entries will lean towards one genre or the other, but I have made efforts to keep the full list balanced out!

Do note that while I tried to focus on free resources, some of these resources listed below do cost money, sadly. But, in any case, I hope you find some of them useful.

24. Related Words

One of my own biggest banes when it comes to writing is finding not only new ways to say things, but express concepts in new ways. So, why not just use a thesaurus? Good point!

Related Words is acutely different from a thesaurus as it suggests words or phrases related to that which you have typed in – not just synonyms or antonyms. I have found this particularly useful for exploring new ideas and concepts for my creative writing.

Granted, this is more for the fictional writers out there, but it doesn’t need to be. Give it a try and see what new concepts you explore!

25. DraftIn

DraftIn is a wonderful website that allows you to improve your written work with the assistance of other writers and authors.

It not only allows you to get valuable feedback, but allows you to keep track of all your work and even compare your current work to your old work (seamlessly).

Some writers are held back because they can’t find people that can critique their work without paying. DraftIn is all about community and collaborative efforts!

To all the writers out there, this is absolutely worth a try. Oh, and it is free!

26. Name Generator

Sorry non-fiction writers, this one is for the novelists (but I still love you!). Where would any of us fiction writers be without a good name generator? It can be the corner-stone of being a great imaginative writer!

That being said, I have always hated the random ones that give you a name without any wiggle room to control the parameters. This is where Behind The Name diverges from other random name generators. I feel, on a personal level, that this separates Behind The Name from the other generators out there.

It allows you to not only search for names or give you suggestions, it also allows you to learn about the names you choose. It’s search function gives you an extensive array of choices to help you select a name based on a number of factors. Some of these factors are mythological, language related, related to religion, and so on.

Check it out here!

27. Apache Open Office

Open Office is a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Office for those who don’t want to splash the cash too much. Yes, a free word processor!

Much like Microsoft Office, Apache Open Office offers you a range of tools such as a Word processor, spreadsheet creator, presentation creator, allows you to create custom graphics, databases, and more. It is trusted the world over and even has governmental institutions using it.

As if it couldn’t get any better, Apache Open Office is available in many different languages to ensure it is accessible to as many people as possible.

You can find their site here.

28. LibreOffice

If Apache Office Open doesn’t wet your whistle, then LibreOffice might just do the job. Choosing a productivity suite and word processor that you will use is as much a personal preference choice as it is a functional one.

Some folks might just prefer one processor over another, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

LibreOffice offers many of the same functions that Microsoft Office and Apache Open Office do, just with their own unique flair. They too offer different languages for their suite, and the suite itself is developed by a dedicated community.

You can give it a try now here.

29. Hemmingway Editor

Before you read further, Hemmingway Editor is not a free software, nor is it a word processor (strictly speaking).

Hemmingway Editor is an editing software that can help you refine your writing and message. The software was primarily designed with blog writers in mind, but can be applied to a range of different writing situations.

It gives you a grade scoring, and suggestions to edit your text for a number of factors. Some of the factors it will assess is sentence complexity, use of adverbs, use of a passive voice, and gives you various suggestions to improve your overall message.

And now the dreaded price tag. In all honesty, it has a fairly fair price for what it offers in comparison to its competitors. It is a one time fee of $20 (£14.50 or €16.88) for a downloadable, offline resource.

You can find out more here.

30. Grammarly  (an essential for an imaginative writer)

Every writer has heard of Grammarly. Is it worth it? Well, that is a whole other blog worthy exploration! 

In my time as a professional in-house writer, and as a freelance writer, I can vouch that using Grammarly does save valuable time when meeting deadlines. It does a wonderful job of giving you more options when it comes to editing, and tightening up your overall grammar (unsurprisingly). 

With that in mind, it is not correct all the time but it is useful as a gentle reminder of words and sentences that could be written in a different way. As a software it is good at showing you a new way of looking (or writing) the same content.
The free version is certainly worth using. As for the paid version? That is more down to your own personal preference, but I would always recommend trying everything once!

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