5 things – tools for [writer] productivity

five things


Evernote for writing, plotting, notes, story details
I fell in love with Scrivener but hated the lack of cloud-ability (there was no app when I started using it and I’m still leery of the Dropbox option for reasons). Cue, Evernote.

I create a notebook for each project and add sub-folders for Characters, Settings, Details, Research, and Drafting. I then create individual notes per element (some, like minor characters, are part of a single “character bible”). I return to this method again and again because I can access it from anywhere and it gives me the all-in-one-file feel that Scrivener provides.

Google Calendar/Happy Plannerfor time-blocking (scheduling time to write)
I rely on Google Calendar for time blocking, which is essential for me. Combined with the Happy Planner (link to video/post) that I use for work, it keeps me on track and helps me plan for writing when life gets in the way.

Spreadsheet – for wordcounts
I keep a long-running spreadsheet in OneDrive, started when I first started drafting Crown of Ice, which helps me keep track of my words on a single manuscript over time. I have individual spreadsheets for each project, but I combine final word counts by project in a single, yearly spreadsheet that helps me track progress over time.

Trellofor planning and content creation
In an effort to create more content and maintain a steady post schedule, I decided to give Trello a try (I used it once for work,  but it didn’t catch on). It’s perfect. I use it as a content planner, and organize projects for the podcast, details for querying, and more. It’s an all-around win for me.

HB90 methodfor quarterly [writing] project planning
Whether it was serendipity or the magic of algorithms, I stumbled up author Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings channel and all the wonders therein. One of these wonders is Cannon’s dedicated planning method for writers (HB90), based on a 90-day quarterly system that encourages writers to think of their work in terms of goals, projects, and tasks. It’s brilliant and I’m using it to plan/track my current writing project, as well as the query process, and future plans for a story that needs editing.

video: writing and financial safety nets

Today’s video was inspired by Theodora Goss’s recent post on “Writing without a net,” wherein she discusses the reality of writing without a financial safety net. I’m definitely a writer without a net.

Next week, I’ll share some thoughts on NaNo-prep, readthroughs, and revision plans.

Some writerly inspiration for your morning

I’ve been writing a lot lately and, in doing so, I’ve started thinking about those writers who have been most influential in my developing my own idea of myself as a writer, and helping me discover what it means to recognize oneself as a writer in all its messy glory.

So here’s my shortlist of writers who make me want to be a better writer

Robin McKinley (writer of Beauty and dozens of other retellings and fantasies)

McKinley may be the writer who made me want to write. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always identified with writing, but it wasn’t until I read Beauty that I really started to think about what it would mean to tell my own stories.

Patricia C. Wrede (writer of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles and more)

Not only has her writing influenced my idea of YA writing in general, her blog is one of the best sources I have found for information on writing and publishing.

Kristin Cashore (writer of Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue)

There is something about Cashore’s perseverance (just look at her travails with Bitterblue) that always inspires me and makes me realize that as long as I keep at it, I can make something good happen.

Gail Carriger (writer of the Soulless and Finishing School series), Eloisa James (writer of dozens of Regency romances), and Diana Gabaldon (writer of the Outlander and Lord John series)

I’ve lumped these three together because each of these women manages to make it work as a writer and an academic, and that’s something that I always need to remember.

Holly Black

When I read Tithe, I found something I wanted to try for myself. Her writing is one of my greatest inspirations for writing urban fantasy.