Tools Of The Trade

I thought today that I’d go over some of the tools I use to research and write this blog as well as my other writing projects.

To write this blog I use MacJournal. Its a nice little piece of journaling software that can publish to WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, MobileMe and other blogging engines. You can insert images, PDFs, videos and other contents into your journal entries (you blogging engine needs to support those formats. For example, I use WordPress and you have to pay extra to insert in-line videos, so I don’t use them). MacJournal also lets you create custom tags for each entry and saves these tags for future use.

For more general writing projects, I use Scrivener. Rather than try to explain it I’ll just paste the description from the Scrivener web site:

“Scrivener is a word processor and project management tool created specifically for writers of long texts such as novels and research papers.”

It allows you to add research sources within the program. These can be websites, PDFs, pictures and videos. It also has a MultiMark Down system that can use BibDesk (a bibliography manager) and can export into LaTex format for professional typesetting. It is used by many professional writers and is a fantastic resource.

I am just learning LaTex. This is a document preparation system used extensively in science and academia, as well as many journals and publishers.

For research I, of course, use Google and Wikipedia, but I also use a large number of other blogs as well as traditional periodical. These are usually Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, American Atheist, and American Humanist. I also use the books I have read or are reading when appropriate.

Unfortunately, MacJournal isn’t available for Windows, but Scrivener is supposed to be releasing a version for Windows soon. LaTex is available for Linux/Unix, Mac OS as MacTeX and Windows as proTeXt .

So these are the main tools I use. The Mac is a fantastic platform for any writer, artists or musician. If you can at all buy a Mac, I would highly recommend it.


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