My Top 5 Writing Tools

Today I’m sharing some of the tools I use to write (apart from, you know, a laptop and Microsoft Word). I used to think that I didn’t need any extra things to write, and that just over-complicates things – but these really streamline the process and keep things organised.

Some of these were recommended by Ava Jae (who has basically the best writing blog ever. Follow her.)


This is such a simple concept for a website, but it’s completely changed my work life. I must use it twenty times a day. It’s literally just a To Do list, with expandable and hidden bullet points that you can manipulate according to what you’re working on.

My favourite thing about it is that it’s an app too, that syncs automatically with the website. Like a dork, for years I’ve been sending myself emails of my To Do lists to get them from my phone to my computer. This does that for me automatically now! No more emails to myself! I’m so happy!!

Every time I have a new little bit of an idea for a project, I write it in here first, and later compile it into my word documents. This is extra handy as I usually come up with ideas late at night or while reading other books, rather than when I’m sitting at my computer ‘working’!

I also use it to compile links of things I want to look at on a later date, which might be useful when writing, like this list of NASA sci fi terms.

Here’s my current writing list:



This is a website for writers which lets you personalise goals for writing or editing, and since I started using this site, it’s become a vital part of my writing routine. It has a lot of the same features as the NaNoWriMo website, but it’s available all year long and has less pressure.

It helps me keep organised, stops me feeling overwhelmed or panicking about how little time I have left to do things. Here are some of my goals. If you use it, you can add me as a friend here.



This might not seem like an obvious one, but tumblr is actually the most inspiring and creative writing tool I have. I tag everything that reminds me of my books on my blog, and whenever I need inspiration or get stuck, I scroll through them for ideas.

Here’s some of my tags: The Last Beginning, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Ghost House.

The Emotion Thesaurus

13554235One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each.

This writing tool encourages authors to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.

There’s a whole series of these ‘writer’s guides’, and I’m not convinced by most of them, but this one is really useful. It’s often hard to isolate the physical reactions of people’s emotions, and this is a collection of lists of possible reactions. I keep it by my desk and flick through it when I need a description other than ‘he sighed’ or ‘she let out a breath’. Very useful.

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles

Ambient Noise Generator

I’m currently doing my final set of edits on my third book, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. It’s set entirely on a spaceship, so I’ve been listening to this ambient spaceship noise generator constantly. It’s like white noise, but more atmospheric. It really helps me focus. I love this cave water one too (although my mum keeps telling me to turn it off because it makes her need to wee!).

In other news: New event announced at Waterstones Birmingham – Michelle Toy in conversation with Jennifer Niven and Lauren James,  18th November, 6.30pm, – Tickets available here.


Superstar authors Jennifer Niven and Lauren James join us for an exciting evening of conversation with Tales Of Yesterday Blogger – Michelle Toy! They’ll be discussing the trials and tribulations of being a teenager of today, as well as first-loves, mental health and time travel! Expect plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and some serious business, ask your burning questions and get your books signed.

Jennifer Niven is the author behind the tear-jerkers All the Bright Placesand Holding Up The Universe. Lauren James is the author of the time travelling-romance duology, The Next Together and The Last BeginningThis event is £3. (ticket price redeemable against a copy of one book)

I’m VERY excited about this!

My Kate/Matt short story is now up on Wattpad. If you use the site, please vote it up for me? Thank you!

I love this blog post by Non Pratt.

I’m obsessed with this book:

Finally: I’m so sorry, America. ❤

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

One thought on “My Top 5 Writing Tools

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: