There’s a lot of information in the world telling writers they have to write more to be successful. While it’s true that, the bigger your backlist the more money you’ll bring in, creating that mountain takes time. The more time it takes, the more disillusioned you may feel.
If you’re like me, you’re schedule is tight and you feel great when you can squeeze just 15 minutes out of a day to write. That being said, there are some tools that can give that 15 minutes (and any other free time you can find) a boost in productivity. Here are just three I use:
Pen & Paper
Sure, it’s old school, but this is a no-fail classic. You don’t need to worry about battery life or finding an electrical outlet. There’s no need to be concerned about a secure wifi connection. It’s perfect for those times you know you’ll be without modern conveniences. It’s also great for times when you have to sneak in a few words without anyone noticing (like your boss ;)).
Word or a Word alternative
While this is not the best place to write an entire manuscript, in my opinion, it’s a great place to whip up a scene or two when I’m on the go before transferring it to my favorite program for writing, Scrivener* (More on that later!)
Microsoft Word comes pre-loaded on most computers, which makes it great for typing up a scene or draft. Unfortunately, it’s not available on all devices or computers, though you can use Word Online free if you have a Microsoft account. If you want to buy Word, it comes with a hefty price tag: a subscription of $99.99/year for Microsoft Office 365. If you’re on a shoestring budget, this is probably more than you want to pay.
Another alternative to Microsoft Word is Google Docs. It’ll work in a pinch and many people love it, but I find it rather cumbersome and I hate that it modifies my document settings when I open a .doc I’ve written in another program.
An alternative to Word that I use quite often is WPS Word. The entire suite of WPS Office can be downloaded for multiple devices and computer operating systems. Best of all, it’s free. Now, the free version is ad supported as most freeware is, but I haven’t found the ads to be intrusive. If you hate the idea of ads cluttering your space, you can purchase the premium version for $29.99/year. That’s a $70 savings over Microsoft 365.
I’ve written a lot of posts on the use of freeware for your writing and I stand behind all of them. However, there are a few programs that just can’t be duplicated by freeware. Scrivener*is one of them.
This amazing software is by far the best writing aid a self-publishing author can have. It can import Word documents and split them into scenes, chapters, whatever you want. Scenes can be easily re-arranged and categorized in a multiple of methods. You can use editing software like Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool* when you do your first edits before sending it off to editors and beta readers. And, lastly, you can create ebooks for Amazon and other e-tailers straight from Scrivener*.
Those are just a few of the things this fabulous program can do. There is a learning curve, but with the proliferation of tutorial videos, blog posts and ebooks available, it’s nothing an enterprising self-publishing author can’t manage.
Like other writers, I believe in the value of a large backlist and I know just how hard it is to create that when your schedule is tight with work, family, volunteering and a host of other things that vie for your time. That’s why I use these three tools to increase my own productivity.
Now, I’d like to know about yours. What tools do you use to be the most productive writer you can be?
*While I am a Scrivener and Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool affiliate and these are affiliate links, this in no way changes how I feel about the software nor does it mean the cost of the product is more than it would be otherwise. I personally used both Scrivener and Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool prior to becoming an affiliate and will continue to use both in the future. I fully endorse all the programs on this post because I believe in their merit as writing tools for better writing.