4 Simple Tools I Use to Write Stories (and How They Can Help You)

If you’re looking for some simple tools to help your writing process, you’re in the right place!

And today I’m gonna show you the items I use to help me write, and how they can help you!

As a few quick sidenotes before you scroll on down to the list:

  • These tools won’t automatically make you a better writer. Writing is the only way to improve, these are just tools I happen to use that work for me. If you feel like trying them, see if they work for you, too.
  • These tools are more focused on how I outline. So if you’re a pantser, this post won’t necessarily be a waste of time, but that’s the angle I’m coming from.
  • I’m looking at items common in the U.S. So prices and availability will differ for other countries
  • None of the links provided are affiliate links, and I make nothing off of them. These are just products I use and enjoy.

And that’s about it!

Scroll to your heart’s content.

Tools to Write Stories

1. Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are great for any project, but extra handy for a writing project.

Whether you jot down story ideas, keep track of things to research, or use them to outline; they’re a great tool to get your thoughts down and keep you organized!

Personally, I use them to help me outline.

I do this by drawing a map of my story’s setting, and then placing notes where the character would do something.

You can read more about my outlining method in this blog post.

Alternatively, if you have a pair of scissors and any sheet of paper (computer, construction, notebook, old envelopes, etc.), you can cut up the sheet into small squares and use those as note cards instead. Not quite the same as a sticky note, but similar enough to get the job done.

If you don’t have access to scissors: you can fold the paper in one direction, unfold it, and then refold it in the other direction over and over until you can more cleanly tear the pieces of paper.

Here’s a video I found showing this method if you can’t quite picture it.


  • Easily removable so you can organize your notes however you like.
  • A variety of colors and sizes to match your style, color code system, or project.
  • All Post-Its brand sticky notes are recyclable, and some versions were made from recycled material.


  • $10 – $30 USD for 5 – 24 pads (depending on size and number of units in a pack)

2. Loose-Leaf or Lined Filler Paper

Loose-leaf or filler paper is just that: paper that is loose or unbound and usually used in three-ring binders.

I find it easier to free-write or brainstorm when I keep the process simple. So for me, having a few pieces of paper and a pen is helpful to just start writing.

It’s also great for organizing any of your story’s notes! Since the pages are not bound together in a certain order, you can reorganize the pages as needed.

Also, It’s nice to be able to organize everything in a three-ring binder or even using a plain ol’ paperclip.


  • A variety of sizes to suit your needs.
  • There’s a version made out of 100% recycled material.
  • Three pre-punched holes for putting into three-ring binders, allowing for ease of re-organizing your notes.


  • Loose-Leaf/Filler Paper: $5 – $23 USD per pack (depending on size and number of pages in a pack)
  • Three-Ring Binder: $4 – $60 USD per binder (depending on the size of the binder)
  • Composition Notebook:

3. Banner Paper

This isn’t entirely necessary, but it’s something I personally use for outlining (check out my outlining methods blog post for the full explanation).

Basically, I draw a map of the setting in my story, and place sticky notes where a character is performing an action. This method gives me a bird’s-eye view of my story.

To draw a large map of an area, I use banner paper!

It’s large and I can cut off whatever length I need. Even though the height is fixed, you can always cut two equal lengths and tape the backs.

Although, at that point, you might just want to draw your map on a smaller scale.

Speaking of smaller scale!

Before you draw a full map on some banner paper, you might wanna consider drawing a rough map first.

I like to use computer paper for my rough drafts, but you can use whatever spare paper you have.

Drawing a rough map is so you don’t waste the big, expensive resources before you have the final plans ready. But if this is all you can afford, then don’t worry about using it too much (or even getting the banner paper in the first place).

Again, none of this is a necessity if this method of outlining doesn’t work for you, but I wanted to share it since it’s a tool I use.


  • Can be used for any of your paper needs if you cut it into smaller pieces (e.g. loose-leaf writing paper, note cards, filler paper, etc.)
  • A large surface to draw a big map of your story’s setting for outlining (or for fun!).


  • $15 – $26 USD (depending on the size of the product)

4. Uni-Ball Vision Elite Pens

These are my absolute favorite pens!

I squeeze my hand while I write, but I do it less when I use these pens.

That’s because the ink runs very easily while I write, and they don’t run dry as easily.

Even if they do run dry, I just swap them out with another pen. Meanwhile, I set the dry pen cap-side down in a pen holder so the ink runs to the tip again.

I dunno if that actually does anything, but I’ve had other types of pens leak from me doing that — so it must do something.

Now, these pens do smudge, and they are pricier, but the lack of hand strain and dry pens is worth it to me.

Maybe that’s not worth it to you, and that’s perfectly fine!

Find the right pen for you and your hands.

If you’re left-handed, here’s a blog post on the best pens for that.


  • Airplane-safe design.
  • Ink runs really easily and doesn’t run dry quickly. Great if you’re a pen squeezer like me.
  • A variety of colors and sizes to match your style, color code system, or project.


  • $7 – $32 USD (depending on size and number of units in a pack)


Ultimately, what tools you use don’t matter.

All that matters is that you write.

Whatever you have on hand is perfectly fine, as long as it helps you write. The items on my list are just what I use that help me.

And if they end up helping you or giving you ideas: it’s a win-win for everyone.

Thanks for reading, and happy writing!

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