By: Sara Matz | A five-minute read
The summer is here, and if you’re like us you’re busier than a puppy in a room full of rubber balls. The summer holidays, vacations, kids being home from school… How do you find time to write quality content on the go? You don’t find the time, you make time. Not everyone can make time sitting at their desk at night away from distractions, you need to be able to write your ideas out in the car (when you’re NOT driving), at Auntie Gertrude’s 4th of July barbeque, or from the shore with your family.
So, what do you do when inspiration strikes?
One of my favorite parts of the technology age we’re in is the availability of basically everything we need in the palm of our hands, and that includes tools for writing and organizing your book. Can you imagine what it must have been like to organize your thoughts in pen and ink? My handwriting is mediocre at best, so that is my nightmare. Let me jot this down so I can decipher this later! I have always been a fan of Microsoft Word and now that they have an app for my phone and tablet my familiar app is in my pocket and ready for adventure. We’ve come a long way since my BFF Clippy was released, but the best new feature added is the ability to track edits in your document, allowing a writer to keep their thoughts more organized as well as making sure the edits are done when running around are exactly as you intended them, saving you precious time during your proofreading later.
Another really popular writing app is Google Docs, and honestly, with the majority of office functions free at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you use it? Your work can be as private as you need, and when its time to share there are three types of document editing available. You can share your document in a read-only format, commenting available, or have full editing and collaboration privileges. I am a fan of the commenting feature for many reasons, but my number one is it is a great tool for editors to leave detailed feedback that is tethered to the exact location it references as well as being clearly labeled as to which editor left you the note. This feature completely removes the dreaded, “somewhere in chapter 2 the main character was talking to someone and the dialogue was weird.” Whereas that is appreciated advice, it is not specific enough to go back and work on that choppy dialogue.
Having your document shared as read-only has benefits in attracting readers that would have great feedback for your book, but perhaps not as defined as an editor. Similar to the Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) we offer you can send your book to people who would have advice about the readability of your book, if character development is as profound as intended, and even if the plot line is easy to follow. These readers are also excellent to ask for your first book reviews once you have published, I find people who have helped in the writing and editing process and more likely to leave you a quality review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and other popular bookstores.
Evernote set the standard for the aforementioned writing-tools, being one of the first writing apps to work on both PC and tablets, with the phenomenal added tool of being able to save your work without having a cell phone signal. For the past few years I can’t imagine a world without signal everywhere I go, and when signal dips out when traveling through more rural areas losing signal for a few seconds could mean a loss of several paragraphs of work with the wrong program. Evernote is designed for taking notes, as alluded to in the name, to make them accessible when it is time for you to update your final document. Many authors have used Evernote to write their book in its entirety, but if you prefer other programs, most connect to your Evernote account and bring all your thoughts to your document. Evernote was not designed to be your word processor, but instead the sticky notes of your dreams.
Probably the most tedious part of getting your book ready for publishing is the editing process, and to be blunt about it, writing in a rush is just asking for spelling and grammar disasters. Grammarly really takes the brunt of the editing burden off our shoulders. It’s not perfect (they do not always use the Oxford comma and it drives me a little crazy) but catches most grammar and spelling mistakes and syncs with most programs, including email and Facebook. One thing I find irreplaceable with the app is they give you the option to look at WHY they are correcting your grammar with a thorough explanation! It sounds simple, but I can attest that I know how to use a semicolon better because of Grammarly’s tips. They have special apps for Windows, Microsoft Word, and Office, making it a really well-rounded add on, although can be a bit buggy after 10,000 words.
There are so many apps for writing, but what do you do when you need to work on your outline from the comfort of your beach house? Thankfully, the writing gods have gifted us Scrivner, the only program I’ve found that is designed for the organizer in all of us. So far this software is not available on tablet or phones yet, but it would be perfect if it was. Their claim to fame is a split screen option with your outline on one side and your book on the other, making it incredibly easy to just write and write and write. Our very own published author/Production Manager/Editor Maria Arnt really can’t speak highly enough about using this app to write her book Vampire, Hunter.
“Scrivener is a game-changer when it comes to organizing your thoughts and making revisions without losing material. You can only use it on computers thus far, but you can download the software to as many computers as you like. Using your purchased license number you can access your files from any computer it’s downloaded on, so it can be very handy if you find yourself working at multiple different locations. If they ever come out with an app, I will be all over it.”Maria Arnt
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
And with these tools at your fingertips, your writing will be part of the journey.