Five Great Tools to Help Your Writing
Just recently I blogged about some of the really helpful writing software available out there. We explored a few different options, but focused in on yWriter and Scrivener. Check out that blog to help you get started with some great, affordable software specifically designed for writers.
Looking beyond the writing software, there are some great apps out there which will help you organize your thoughts and focus in on your writing. In this blog, I want to explore some of this software which can help you accomplish your goals.
By the way… I get no kickbacks from any of these programs (or the ones in the above mentioned blog). 🙂 I don’t actually get kickbacks from any of this stuff. Why not, you ask? Not because I’m Batman. I’m not reviewing this to get kickbacks, but to be a resource for writers.
None of these areas below need to cost you anything either. There is a free option for each app (other than Tressorit, but I’ll address that one).
This is great. It’s simply a to-do list. You can sync it up with your phone, tablet, desktop/laptop and there’s even a Todoist Extension for Google Chrome. You set up an account (free) with Todoist and put what you need to accomplish right into your to-do list. You can set up goals and put them in. You set the date you want your task/goal completed on and it’ll pop up on that date.
For example: Next Thursday you want to research crossbows for a part in the next chapter you’re writing on annoying neighbors. Put that in your to-do list for next Thursday and forget about it. It’ll disappear for now and you can focus on the things you need to take care of right at this moment. On Thursday, your crossbow task will pop up on Todoist! Every time something pops into your head that you need to take care of, put it in your to-do list and deal with it later. Focus on the tasks you need to do, when you need to do them.
I put in tasks like, “Write 1000 words today” and “Post on the blog today”. It helps keep me on track.
Todoist syncs up with its servers so if your computer goes down, you don’t lose your to-do list. I put tasks in there which aren’t due for months down the road. When the date comes for it to be taken care of, that specific task pops up in Todoist and away I go!
There are paid options with Todoist (as with all of these apps), but you have to evaluate if the paid perks are worth it to you.
This is a great piece of software. Again, it’s available across platforms and it syncs up on its own servers so you don’t have to worry about losing info (it’s tied to your account).
With Evernote, you create notes. Install the software, create an account (free) and click on “New Note”. You can make that a note for your next novel and anytime you get an idea, throw it in the note for that book! I have created notes for novels, for a novel review, for another novel series that I’m thinking of writing later and more. If you were to see my notes in Evernote for a book I’m planning to write sometime in the future, you’d be amazed. Not because what I have to say is amazing, but you’d be amazed at the amount of information in there. I have collected a huge amount of thoughts and ideas and yet I haven’t written one word of the actual book. When I do, a lot will already be worked out. I input these thoughts into this note on my phone every time an idea pops in my head. Sometimes the ideas contradict each other. That’s fine, I can pick the best one when it comes time to actually write the novel. In the meantime, I’m just collecting thoughts.
Evernote also allows you to take pictures and store lots of stuff in there. If you see a rock that has a really cool pattern, snap a picture, save it in Evernote and use the pattern for something on the cover of your book!
Onenote is a lot like Evernote. I like the feel of Onenote more for checkoff lists (I tend to use this for lists I need to make which I can check off after the task or matter is dealt with). In the past I’ve used Evernote for collecting information and Onenote for checkoff lists. I don’t have a lot to say about Onenote, other than to say it’s a lot like Evernote and, personally, I prefer Evernote over Onenote.
4. Calendar (I use Google Calendar, but you can use just about any option)
Plan your schedule. Depending on the way you operate (I’ll be posting shortly on goal setting), you may need to schedule in specific times to write. Do it.
Here is one of the keys. If you are going to write on Saturday morning from 9-12, schedule it in. When someone comes to you and says, “Hey, what are you doing Saturday morning?”, look at your schedule, see that it says you’ve booked yourself for writing and say, “I’m sorry, I’m booked that morning.” If you don’t do this, you’ll respond by saying, “I had some stuff I needed to get done…” and the person you’re speaking with will assume you can get those things done another time. You will have just lost your writing time. You can only do this so many times before you find you’ve never actually written anything. Consider your writing times to be an appointment. Schedule it in!
Get the time in with writing. You won’t get your book done without spending the time. A calendar like Google Calendar helps!
5. GoogleDrive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Tressorit
I’m a big fan of cloud storage. One of the problems is you can write for hours, days, weeks, years and then lose it all if it’s not backed up. You are wise to back it up in a number of different ways (cloud storage, a USB drive, a second hard drive, email it to yourself, print a hardcopy, etc).
I would recommend that you use some cloud storage. Some people fear it’s not as secure. Well… use a good password. I find GoogleDrive quite secure because of their security features. If you use GoogleDrive, take advantage of their security options. OneDrive and Dropbox are similar. They are all very helpful ways of backing up your work.
The way these work is you set up an account and they give you some free, online storage space. You set up your passwords and so forth in order to keep your work secure. Then you back up your work with them (cloud storage). This way, if your computer goes down and everything is lost on it, you can simply access your cloud storage through your account and get your saved work back. For storage space, Google Drive gives 15 gigs, Onedrive gives 5 gigs and Dropbox gives 2 gigs. These are all free options and you can pay to get some more storage space if you like.
There is also Tresorit mentioned above which is extremely secure, but it costs (no free option). I would recommend using something like Google Drive and save your story directly to it (from yWriter or Scrivener), but use the best security features they offer. Tressorit, however, is (as mentioned) extremely secure. If security is a worry for you, Tressorit is the way to go. They do not (as I understand it) help you recover your password so if you lose your password, you’ve lost your saved files.
If you are not comfortable with cloud storage, get an external hard drive and a USB stick and use them both (even if you have cloud storage… use both of these). Better to have it backed up in multiple places than to have to rewrite the whole book due to a computer crash or some unforeseen problem!
There you have it! Five Great Tools to Help Your Writing! These tools can help you get your work done and keep it safe!
Comment below about different software you have found helpful in reaching your writing goals!