Choosing tools for your workflow remains a personal and idiosyncratic process. The following options are some of the tools that we've used with success. A number of these productivity assets operate invisibly, yet these types of support systems prove invaluable for helping you stay organized, focused, and on top of your A-game.
- Scrivener : for Mac and Windows, this powerful drafting software will help you write your novel, store your research notes, format ebooks, and export into a variety of document formats. So versatile we wrote this book using Scrivener-one of us on a Mac, the other on Windows, shared via Dropbox. Scrivener comes with phenomenal customer service and technical support. Investigate templates for Scrivener that can save you time and trouble. Many popular writing guides have been adapted for Scrivener including Hollywood's three-acts, Save the Cat, Vogler's mythic journey, Snowflake method, and more.
- Liquid Story Binder XE : Another writing package which allows you to create a structure that works for you and assemble different types of document in one space for easy access.
- Pomodoro Technique : a productivity system which breaks large tasks down into manageable stretches with scheduled breaks to keep you focused and efficient. Several popular (free) apps exist for computer and mobile devices. Damon uses TeamViz pretty religiously.
- Rescue Time : Tracks your daily work habits to allow you a snapshot of how much time you spend working vs. surfing Facebook, etc.
- Write or Die : a simple whip-cracking app focused on forcing you to type without editing, deleting, or second-guessing yourself. This software began as a website for rough drafting ("putting the prod in productivity") that screeched and whined if you stopped typing and hosted head-to-head wordcount-wars, but its popularity inspired a desktop app that does that and more. The (hilarious, gifted) creator has also built the WordWar, EditMinion and BoredMuse apps for writers.
- yWriter : a free software package that allows flexible structuring and tracks daily wordcounts written and distributed by the writer who created it
While it's not an essential, project management software can be a real blessing for busy authors. From tools to help you write, keep you writing, calendars to organize your projects, forms to help you collect information-here are some of our productivity faves.
- Google Apps : Need a second mail account? Want to funnel your email@example.com email to the Gmail interface? This service allows you to do that for a nominal monthly fee.
- Google Drive : Documents, Spreadsheets, and Forms…a web-based document platform useful for blog tour signups, expense tracking, surveys, and unrivaled document collaboration in real time.
- Join.me : free screensharing and online meeting space suitable for project collaboration and organizing group discussions.
- Gleam : app-based marketing platform which allows you to host contests, galleries, and other social marketing campaigns.
- Hootsuite : a social media dashboard designed to manage up to 35 popular platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc) for efficient coordination and response under one App umbrella.
- Irfanview : free, simple image editing software for PCs suitable for cropping, resizing, reformatting, and other simple tasks.
- Rafflecopter : If you enjoy doing regular contests, Rafflecopter streamlines the giveaway process while also drawing the focus to your social media accounts. Paid service, multi-level.
- Teamwork : online productivity software with a variety of subscription options, including a limited service option for free. Organize your works in progress, keep track of tours, release dates, even time spent working during the day. Add team members-your agent, your assistant, your spouse-and control who sees what project. Includes messages, task lists, and reminders.
- Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll): online payroll service that handles compliance, taxes, and benefits.
- Hubspot Topic Generator : Article and blog inspiration. Just enter a list of nouns and it will spit out potential titles/subjects
- Twitter Audit : A great tool to see the actual strength of your Twitter account. Twitter Audit grades followers, using "number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends." They acknowledge it's an imperfect filter, but it's exposed countless charlatans.
- Open SEO Stats : An extension for Google Chrome which accesses the Google PageRank (PR), Alexa Rank, Compete Rank and Quantcast Rank of the current web page, in addition to getting information on backlinks, indexed pages, cached pages, socials, Whois, Geo IP location and more.
- Pixlr : a feature-rich image editing software for Windows, Mac, and more…available as a free download, online studio, or mobile app.
- WordKeeperAlpha : Keep track of your daily word count and set productivity goals.
- Evernote : Organize your research and anything else you want to keep organized.