5 Invaluable Tools I Use as a Full-Time Author

Mia Hayes
5 min readSep 27, 2022

Being organized is the key to being a productive writer

photo: Photo by Ivan Samkov for pexels

Yesterday, I turned in the final, edited version of my new book, The Has-Beens and let me tell you, it’s been a beast to write. For nearly five years, I toiled away going down different paths, only to discover they didn’t work the way I wanted. I wasted literal years writing chapters and scenes that ultimately didn’t make the book. It’s been frustrating.

This is unusual for me. After I pantsed my way through my first novel way back in 2010, I became an avid outliner. I don’t create elaborate outlines, but rather loosely list major plot and subplot ideas, and I sketch out my main character and important supporting characters. Normally, this is enough for me.

What’s ironic about my five years of spinning my wheels is that I book coach and teach others how to write their own books. But sometimes, even those of us with years of experience forget our own advice.

So, a few months ago, as I complained to my editor about being stuck, she asked if I thought it was my concept or did my issue stem from not being able to tame my outline and ideas.

100% it was my lack of organization. I had abandoned some of the powerful tools I’ve used in the past and had ideas scattered everywhere — in notebooks, in multiple Notes on my iPhone, and in random Google docs.

As I tamed my organizational disaster, I used a few of my old favorites and discovered some new tools, and I am happy to report that I finished my novel on time all while being able to keep up with my side-hustle of article writing.

Writing Tools I Can’t Write Without

#1 Scrivener

photo: from Scrivener

Scrivener is a proven software that has been around for a while. It does cost $49, but in my opinion, if you are working on a large-scale project that requires a lot of research, it’s worth the investment. While you can write in Scrivener, I don’t. Instead, I prefer to use it to keep track of characters, settings (you can save images), and create note cards that can move…

Mia Hayes

40-something who 💯 doesn’t have it all figured out, but long story short, I survived. Love big. Love hard. Love you. www.miahayesauthor.com