The goal of most of the writers I know, including me, is to maximize the amount of writing we do while retaining the highest quality possible. Most writers also hold down full-time jobs and are raising families while trying to contribute to the world in a meaningful way with their words. Here are three apps that I have found that help me write more effectively, and will help you, too.
One of the apps that has helped me streamline the writing process is Scrivener by Literature and Latte. The app comes in two versions for Mac or Windows and is reasonably priced at $45 for Mac or $40 for Windows.
I originally transitioned from drafting all of my books and articles in Microsoft Word to using Scrivener after receiving a copy of the book Scrivener Superpowers by M.G. Herron. Herron takes you step-by-step through the app, showing you how to gather and save research, and draft and edit books, articles and blog posts.
Herron also explains in detail how to use the “Compile” feature to gather the disparate parts of your writing into one concise document in several different format options, including Microsoft word, a .pdf or an E-Book.
I originally wrote and edited my memoir, Adventures in Dating, using Microsoft Word, and spent about six hours one weekend getting it formatted properly so that it could be submitted to an agent. (That is just formatting time, too. Not writing time.) After discovering Scrivener, I imported the text for Adventures in Dating into it, and am now ready to compile it as an E-Book to send to Beta Readers or as a manuscript to send to an agent, editor or publisher with a few clicks of the mouse.
My favorite aspect of Scrivener is the Binder, which allows you to organize your work according to chapter and scene. Each scene is an independent document that can be dragged and dropped into any chapter, making global editing a considerably simpler task.
Scrivener saves documents on your hard drive and automatically backs up to Dropbox, providing automatic protection against losing your precious words.
Literature and Latte offers a thirty-day trial of Scrivener, which is plenty of time to decide if this app is right for you.
SimpleMind is a mind mapping tool that helps you organize your thoughts and ideas. It is available on iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac, and synchronizes across all of your devises.
Here is the mind map I prepared using SimpleMind for my article Fifteen Hawaiian Words You Need To Learn Before Visiting Hawaii.
I knew I wanted to write an article about Hawaiian words and phrases. I used SimpleMind to create a mind map of the Hawaiian words I was most drawn to and to make notes on their meanings.
After finishing my mind map, it was fairly simple to sort through and choose the fifteen words I most wanted to share.
I’ve also used SimpleMind to create mind maps for my Kirk’s Bluff Trilogy, which has helped me track characters, plot, and structure.
SimpleMind gives you the option of storing on your local device or saving to Dropbox.
SimpleMind offers a free version, and for $5 you can unlock all of its features.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management system that breaks tasks up into set periods of time separated by short breaks.
The long periods typically last for 25 minutes, with a five minute break after the first three sessions and then a longer break after every fourth session.
I use the Pomodoro Time app by Xwavesoft that is compatible with iPhone, iPad and Mac, although you could use any timer. One of the reasons I like using this particular app is because it helps me track how much time I am spending on each project.
I love using the timer because it reminds me to get up every 25 minutes to step away from my computer, drink a glass of water, take the dogs for a walk or anything. I’ve found by committing myself to an uninterrupted period of time, I accomplish more because it shuts down my butterfly-brain that wants to flutter from idea to idea and task to task.
Wrapping It Up
These three apps have helped my writing immeasurably. They provide me with the tools I need for brainstorming ideas, keeping my writing organized, and managing my time to produce the highest quality writing in the time I have available to me.
Have you tried any of these apps? If so, what do you like or dislike most about them?
If you haven’t tried any of them yet, follow the links above and download the free versions and let me know what you think. I am not a paid affiliate and don’t get anything if you download any or all of them. I just love them, and want you to give them a try.
I can’t wait to hear back from you. Until I do, keep your minds and hearts,