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060: One Writer’s Toolkit

Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick
Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick
060: One Writer's Toolkit

This episode of Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick is chock full of recommendations straight from my writer’s toolkit: the software and services I use day in / day out in my creative endeavors and in my work helping other creative writers.

Also in the episode: more hints at what’s to come for my patron member community, and a bit more on the situational depression that still lingers since the previous episode.

Links and Topics Mentioned in This Episode

  • Dynalist is my offboard brain, as well as my to-do list keeper and an excellent outliner. Simplicity makes it as complex as you want it to be. First on the list because it’s my most valued tool.
  • Notepad++ is a plain text editor on steroids… it’s really “double plus good.”
  • Scrivener is accepted as the standard writer’s outliner, word processor, asset organizer, and formatter… but its “everything and the kitchen sink” nature is exactly why I use it — and recommend it — only grudgingly. A free, much lighter, and more focused program is yWriter, which I find almost just right for the way I like to write. Here’s an article I wrote about yWriter, especially as it compares to Scrivener. Try them both. Use them both! You may find one or both are just right for you.
  • The free Q10 is my favorite full-screen, distraction-free plain text editor and the one writing tool with which I can most often slip into the coveted flow state. Highly recommended!
  • There are many mind-mapping software options, some free, some not. None of them offer the simplicity and flexibility I find with Mindomo.
  • Do you use a whiteboard? Do you wish you had a whiteboard with functionally infinite space and deep zoom? How about one on any of your devices? How about for free? Check out Excalidraw.
  • Microsoft Word (and its attendant Microsoft Office suite, which apparently is now called Microsoft 365 or some such), is synonymous with word processing (and spreadsheets and so on). Did you know there’s a completely free alternative that’s also compatible with the offering from Redmond? Check out LibreOffice. You might not ever pay Microsoft a subscription fee again.
  • Speaking of icky software-by-subscription attempted monopolies: When it comes to image creation and manipulation and desktop publishing, the Adobe suite of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are the assumed defaults. They can also be expensive..! While there are free alternatives for bitmap image editing and creation, vector image creation, and desktop publishing (GIMP, Inkscape, and Scribus, respectively), in my experience they’re not quite ready for prime time. I use a for-pay suite of products that give the Adobe programs a run for their money… and cost far less of your money, too! Check out the Affinity applications Photo, Designer, and Publisher, and cancel your Adobe subscription!
  • I use Affinity Publisher to design the interiors of paperback and hardcover books for myself and for clients. For e-books? While there are a number of “meatgrinder” solutions out there, I prefer the free, open source Sigil to create industry-standard EPUB e-books (suitable for any e-book reader / device / marketplace except Amazon, and capable of perfect conversion to the format(s) Amazon does use).
  • We’re in an era when being a writer also means being… a content creator. And that usually means recording, and editing, video. You can get away with the basics using the programs that came with your computer, or even simply using your phone. But when you want to take it up a notch and create professional grade, high definition videos… did you know there’s a free tool that will let you do just that? Once again: there’s no need to turn to an Adobe subscription or pay hundreds of dollars for a software license. The free version of DaVinci Resolve gives you everything you need… and lots of features and capabilities you might not realize you need to make really good looking videos.
  • My latest non-fiction book is Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure, a distillation of some of what I teach when I coach new writers considering self-publishing.
  • I mention the day job, which is helping authors, podcasters, and other creators bring their creative endeavors to fruition, to market, and to an audience. Can I help you?
  • Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started” is my fiction serial set in the 1980s and delivered weekly, for free, to subscribers. Get in on it and start at the beginning!
  • My patron community receives the uncut, unedited version of every episode. For this episode, they’re privy to almost fifteen minutes of extra content! Want in on that? Become a patron for at least $5.00 per month (cancel any time) and get a bunch of other perks and special access, too.
    • Around thirty people listen to each new episode of this show during the first week it’s released. If most of the listeners became Exceptional patrons ($5.00 per month), patron revenue would surpass $100 per month, and I could begin donating 10% every month to 826 National in support of literacy and creative writing advocacy for children. Let’s go!
    • Oh, and speaking of patronage: This episode was made possible in part by the patronage of listeners like you, including J. C.  Hutchins, Ted Leonhardt, and Chuck Anderson! Want to support the show and be listed in the credits, plus get lots of other goodies, perks, and exclusive access? Become a patron with a $5 monthly pledge!

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The Music!

The opening theme song of Sonitotum is “Anastasia” written, performed, and recorded by yours truly, Matthew Wayne Selznick. You can hear or buy the full song on YouTube, Spotify,, iTunes, or just about anywhere you can buy or stream music online.

The closing and interstitial music is a little ditty I call “Gwinton,” also by yours truly, Matthew Wayne Selznick. It’s super-short and really just a looping thing, so it’s not available outside of the show.

On both songs, I play a 1972 Gibson Ripper bass guitar and a Fender “Bullet” Squire electric guitar. On “Anastasia,” the drums are performed on an Akai Professional MPD218 MIDI drum pad controller. For “Gwinton,” the drums are royalty-free loops found in the excellent Mixcraft Pro Studio software, which was also used to record, mix, and master both “Anastasia” and “Gwinton.”

Podcast Production and Hosting

Sonitotum is usually recorded using an Aurycle a460 large diaphragm studio condenser microphone through a Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD (audio interface for directly connecting microphones and musical instruments to a computer). Outdoor / remote episodes are often recorded using my Audio-Technica ATR-3350IS omnidirectional condenser lavalier mic. The show is edited and mixed in Adobe Audition. The episode files are hosted and delivered by; the website is hosted by Dreamhost.

Interested in starting your own podcast? Need help managing your existing show? I can help you like I help The What Matters Most Podcast and The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz, among others. Reach out!

Affiliate Declaration

Many of the links in these show notes are to products and services with which I have an affiliate relationship. This means that when you purchase that product or engage in that service, or, in some cases, related products or services, I may receive a modest commission at no extra expense to you. This is a great way to help support Sonitotum and my related creative endeavors, so thanks for doing business with these companies!


Sonitotum, including the Sonitotum podcast media, is released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License. You are free to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
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  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

The full license can be found here.

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