Here’s what I can’t live without:
Scrivener: I’m most often using a vertically split screen to write in my new blank document and cut-and-paste from my old crappy draft. I love the organizing tools, and the way it can handle my notes as well as my writing.
Microsoft Word: Sad to say, but a paper doesn’t really feel done until I can see it in Word.
Biblography program: I’m using Bookends right now, which I’ll stick with through the dissertation. I don’t think it’s fabulous, but it’s functional. I do love having a searchable bibliography with notes and pdf attached to relevant entries.
750words.com: Whenever I’m stuck (which is often), a 20-minute freewrite can often get me unstuck.
A Pen and a Piece of Paper: I’m a list-maker, and I have to see that list on paper. Backs of envelopes work too. (Here’s my latest list of what I need to put in my introduction. It’s on the back of an extra 2010 Schedule H tax form.)
Tiny Post-it Notes: My books end up with crumpled messes of book-marker post-its at the edge. I’ll often write one or two words about what I’m marking.
Pretty folders: I prefer my copied articles to look a little more attractive and enticing, so I splurge on fancy folders. (See above.)
Printer/copier/scanner: I’m old school. I like to read off of paper.
What tools can’t you live without?