5 Useful Tools for Writers to Help Boost Productivity
Writing can require a great deal of focus and mental stamina. To maximise your writing output, there are plenty of useful tools and apps to help boost your productivity and get organised - here’s 5 that every writer could benefit from using:
1. Google Docs
This handy in-browser word processor is a valuable free tool which allows you to edit your work wherever you go. It makes it easy to store and access your work in progress, without needing to carry around a memory stick or be sat at a computer. Download the app on your phone or tablet to check and update your work anywhere, anytime.
With the option for document sharing, it also allows multiple people to access, add to, and edit the document in real time - great for joint projects or during the editing process if you are working with a proofreader or editor.
Scrivener is a writing app suitable for Microsoft Windows, macOS and iOS that helps you to structure your writing and plan out your research. With a useful virtual corkboard feature, you can use digital index cards to visually plot and rearrange your story, which is ideal when you want to get an overview of what happens when, and identify areas that need restructuring.
Using this project management tool, you can create multiple boards for different writing projects. Within each board, you can then create individual titled lists and add or ‘pin’ multiple cards (like virtual index cards), which can be moved to different lists.
Some writers use one list per chapter, breaking down each scene within each chapter on individual cards, making it easier to reorder sections and get a useful visual overview of the story as a whole.
The boards can also be used to help organise research and ideas, so you’ve always got an ordered reference to turn to. Different boards could relate to different areas of research to support your work in progress, such as location, character, and events, which can be individually titled e.g. ‘Research on surgical procedures’, or ‘Research on Scotland’.
4. Web-based timer
Many writers swear by the Pomodoro technique, whereby you write for one ‘Pomodoro’, which is 25 minutes, followed by a 5 minute break. This has been proven to be an effective way to boost focus and productivity, by having shorter bursts of working time broken up by regular breaks.
Being more aware of the time you are dedicating to your writing can help you be more productive and waste less time, by reducing mental fatigue and discouraging you from distractions.
The old adage ‘little and often’ comes into play here, and you may find yourself achieving more by doing smaller, more manageable bursts of writing, than beating yourself up because you’ve been sat in front of your computer for 3 hours but have only written a paragraph!
Ideas and inspiration for writing can often pop up unexpectedly. Evernote is a useful app allowing you to save full articles and quotes from across the web, as well as writing your own notes, which can then be organised into different categories. This can help you during the research stage, but also help you focus and structure your drafts.
These are just a handful out of many other handy apps and tools out there available for writers, with many free and paid options to choose from. Writing requires considerable mental energy and determination - give yourself the best chance to succeed and boost your productivity by making the most of these tools at your fingertips! Happy writing!
Look out for Melissa's latest articles on Anita Frost's author website, where she'll talk about topics including business and publishing, author news and events, and giving back to communities. You can find her in-depth monthly feature on the News & Media page of the Green Bean Collection website, discussing children's books and reading, early years education, living a greener lifestyle and all things Green Bean!
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Melissa Brannlund is the features writer and editor, for author Anita Frost.
Look out for Melissa's latest articles on Anita Frost's author website, where she'll talk about topics including business and publishing, author news and events, and giving back to communities.
You can find her in-depth monthly feature on the News & Media page of the Green Bean Collection website, discussing children's books, reading, and all things Green Bean! For more information or any queries, please contact Melissa by emailing email@example.com.