Writers Can Stay Organized and Motivated with these Online Tools
As a writer of historical fiction, I find that one of my biggest challenges is how to manage both my time and all the little tidbits of information that I discover all over the Web. This is particularly tough when some of the data is sent to me from friends, or I uncover new articles and facts through random browsing, not just at times when I sit down to do research.
I could use a notebook, and I do, but those online notes are a time-sink to rewrite, and as a result, my notebook tends to be more for creative discovery, free writing, and notes from conferences, my writing group meetings, and other events.
Additionally, I write digitally, so keeping my facts in the Cloud and easily accessible is important. I also need tools to help me stay on track and manage my time and my tasks.
For all the tools below there are free versions with the option to pay for more advanced functionality. In all cases, the free versions are pretty darn good.
This service describes itself, quite accurately, as what would happen if Google Calendar and Trello got together and had a baby. I can see all my calendars and my tasks together in one view. I can easily drag and drop and create categories and views for my tasks. To keep my work calendar, writing calendar and publicity calendar and all those tasks in one place is something of a dream come true for me. The service is free for a limit of 100 tasks and to continue its $8.25 per month.
Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It's a system to help you stay on track and focus on specific tasks. This online timer will help you keep that focus. You can use the traditional 25 min work, 5 min break program of the Pomodoro Technique or set your own custom timers. Chrome users can also go with a more extreme extension called Focus that blocks distracting websites (that you predefine) from access until you finish your 25 minutes of work.
There have been a number of studies that show how ambient noise (sitting in a coffee shop, rainfall, white noise, etc.) can be helpful for concentration and focus. Noisli aims to help you out in this department by providing you with ambient sounds that you can mix to your liking. The site also changes color in soothing waves. I will often put the ambient noise on behind my regular Spotify playlist.
750Words is a site that helps you stay motivated. There is only one requirement: that you write 750 words a day. It was born from the need to create an easy, distraction-free system to record Morning Pages from the popular book The Artist's Way. But the beauty of it is that you can use it to write anything. There are challenges, streaks and tracking reports for progress. There is a 30-day trial and then its a $5 monthly subscription.
What tools do you use to stay organized? Let us know in the comments!
Crystal King is a 30-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and THE CHEF'S SECRET about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website: crystalking.comSee other articles by Crystal King