In the background. The unseen heroes

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject.

We’ve talked about the tools we used for our blogs a while back. How about for your writing in general? What are your favourite tools?

If you discount all the other things that I need to be able to write, the inspiration, endless supply of black coffee and the rather uncomfortable office chair in my study, we come down to the act of getting the words down. I have a huge supply of notebooks and a beautiful wooden-barrelled fountain pen but I rarely use them. Instead, I use two fingers at a keyboard for most of my writing (one from each hand, usually).

I’ve tried all sorts of writing programmes and yet, every time, I come back to good old Microsoft Word. Now that I have it on my phone, I’m able to dictate notes when I’m out and about, which has really helped my productivity.

Discussing murder or spaceships into my phone in public does, however, get me some strange looks.

People, especially on social media, are never slow to tell anyone who’ll listen that some other software package would be a much better one to use. Because it’s what they use and are comfortable with. It may well be better as far as they’re concerned but I really can’t be bothered to learn how to use something else.

I’ve used Word for years, at work, long before I started writing. It does what I want, my editor is happy to work with word files, plus I get the online storage with my subscription to Office, so I never have to worry about losing my files again.

I KNOW that it’s not unique, that I can get the same document security with other packages, like I said, I’m happy with it. As my old chief engineer, Kenny used to say, if it works, don’t fix it. He also said what’s the point in having rank if you can’t abuse it every now and then. While that’s not relevant it’s a very sensible attitude.

For graphics, I use Canva, because it’s free and again it does what I want. All of my graphics are obtained from royalty-free sites such as Pixabay.

There’s also a useful site that will make a 3D book cover from your image, in various arrangements, at

For formatting eBooks, I use Calibre, which is very versatile, if a little quirky. It requires a basic knowledge of HTML but once you have a template, you can cut and paste into it.

I’ve just invested in a new programme called Atticus to format my paperbacks, instead of using Word, which can be a little flakey when it comes to exporting pdf files. This new piece of software seems to have the potential to be the equivalent of Vellum for the P.C.  I’ve practised with it and, so far, it’s easy to use.

Once I have made two paperback files with it, it will have paid for itself, compared to the cost of getting the formatting done professionally by someone.

Until next time.

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10 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    Yes, I use good old Word too, and like you have done so for years. I have a stack of notebooks, but it’s easier to type on a keyboard.

    • Richard Dee

      I’d hate to spoil a pristine notebook with my scribble 🙂

  2. Daryl Devore

    Spot on. I use Word – Canva – Pixabay as well. Word is comfortable and kept up to date. Canva and Pixabay are free and free is a cost I like. I’ve ocassionally used Cailbre. Will have to look up Atticus.

    And now for my weekly math test. 🙂

    • Richard Dee

      I’m a huge fan of free, especially when it’s useful and high quality.

    • Richard Dee

      Over the years, these two fingers have got really quick!

  3. P.J. MacLayne

    I consider learning to format my own books once in a while, but feel like my time is better spent actually writing (for now.) Keep us up to date on how atticus works out.

  4. Ornery Owl

    I use Pixlr for creating book covers. I do use the paid version, but it isn’t that expensive. I’ve been using Word for more than 30 years now.

    • Richard Dee

      Pixlr is a great programme, I have used Word since I started typing reports at work, far too long ago.

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