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My Top 4 Writing Production Tools

by | Apr 11, 2014 | Product Creation, Tools

While it’s true that I’m a gadget-loving, forever-tinkering total geek, it is also true that I don’t do complex.

I like simple.

I like efficient and effective.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying out new stuff. I like to play with new stuff, but I also like to find stuff that works, is efficient and effective.

Oh, it must also be portable across the various devices I use.

Here are my top writing organization tools that help me stay on top of my books, blogs and other writing projects.

Evernote

Frankly, I don’t think I even remember a time before Evernote – this is how ingrained this tool is into my life in general.

Evernote is basically a note taking tool. What makes is different from other note-taking tools is that it captures everything from text, to images and audio.

It even captures handwriting if you are on tablet, so you can add a sketch to your note.

As per my criteria, Evernote lives on all my devices – Macbook, iPhone, Samsung tablet – and it seamlessly syncs all notes across them.

I use Evernote to capture research, ideas, and bits of the web using the web clipper browser extension.

The best part is that Evernote is free.

Dropbox

If you haven’t heard of Dropbox, you must have been under a rock for about a century.

Dropbox keeps your files in the cloud, and keeps them synced across your devices. It’s kind of like Evernote, but for files, rather than notes.

I use Dropbox for everything from sharing large files with collaborators, to keeping copies of documents I might need while out and about.

Dropbox helps me keep the working files for my writing projects available to me, regardless of where I might be in the world, or what device I’m using.

I also use Dropbox to sync my Scrivener** files (look for Scrivener, a word processing / publishing tool, in an upcoming post on my favourite writing tools). This means I can continue writing while I’m not in front of my trusty MacMillan (my Macbook).

Dropbox is free for 2 GB of space.

XMind

This is one of the best mind mapping tools around. It is available for both Mac and Windows computers, and it is my go-to tool in the early stages of book writing.

I use mind maps for exploring ideas and get them clarified, somewhat articulated and see if they have any legs.

Mind maps are also one of the best outlining tools ever. I use them for everything from fleshing out book ideas to planning blog posts and everything in between.

Xmind in particular has so many different templates available to fit various projects. I tend to use the vanilla, normal template when I’m first thinking through an idea.

It is a firm favourite with my clients when it comes to outlining and planning books, especially the first one.

Xmind is free, although they also offer a premium paid one.

Trello

In addition to brainstorming ideas and structuring the book, one of the most important things in writing organization is planning the actual creation, writing and production of the book.

Enter Trello, the best project management and organization tool ever. I know, a big claim to make for someone who has used a gazillion task management tools.

Trello is a visual planning tool that’s a board with a bunch of cards. Cards are arranged in columns (lists), and can be color coded with labels. Cards can also be moved around between lists, or even between boards.

The cards can hold an incredible amount of information: text, checklists, attached documents and images, due dates.

I use Trello to plan and track all of my projects. For book projects, each card can be chapter / topic, and I attach due dates, so I can schedule the writing, editing tasks.

Like the other tools in my top four, Trello is available for all devices, and syncs nicely between them in real time.

And oh, it’s free.

These tools help me stay organized and on top of my writing projects. Since they run on all devices, I always have an opportunity to move forward on my writing and publishing.

Do you use any of these?