I spend a lot of time with my tools every day, and I often field questions from both writers and readers about what I use to make my business hum. I am an inveterate first adopter, so my tools have tended to change from year to year. Now, I have settled into a few very comfortable habits and tools that I use daily and weekly.
WRITING ON THE LAPTOP: Scrivener is my go-to writing program. Highly scalable, easy to use, it's the finest writing software available. Plus, their Project Target tools allow me to set a deadline and see exactly what my daily word count needs to be. Every book and treatment has their own Scrivener file, as well as a massive Tao of JT file for all the blogs. And a bonus, they're now mobile!
WRITING ON THE GO: Scrivener for iPad - The best app invention ever, hands down. I love that I can write on the go without dragging my laptop and chargers along. It’s streamlined my process and lightened my purse!
ZONING OUT FOR SAID WRITING: Freedom. Oh, how I love Freedom. I use Freedom to turn off my access to social media, news sites, and other Internet worm holes so I can turn my brain on. I've written over a dozen books with Freedom in my life, and I hope it's by my side as I write dozens more.
ACCOUNTABILITY: I use daily word trackers (i.e. Excel spreadsheets) from graphic artist Svenja Gosen. I love to track my progress, and using these gorgeous Excel spreadsheets has become a must for me. I use one for Fiction and one for Non-Fiction, and fill them in nightly. It makes my annual reviews so much easier to calculate!
JOURNALING: Day One, which I use for a number of things, including journaling, keeping track of major events and minor triumphs, and capturing ideas. It’s beautiful and easy to use, plus syncs across all devices. It's a great tool for remembering, too.
EBOOK CREATION: Vellum is an indie author's best friend. You can go from a Word doc a beautiful ebook that works on every retailer platform—all in just ten minutes. And I'm not exaggerating.
TO DO LIST: Wunderlist is, pound for pound, the very best online To Do list and capture system. I spend half my day here. There is some redundancy with my calendar, but that's fine by me, as I live in fear of forgetting an event of deadline.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Quip - for major project management/workflows that won't fit within the Wunderlist construct. I am a relative newcomer to Quip, but my assistant and I use it for the many workflows we have for book releases and major project development.
ONLINE TOOLS FOR READING, RESEARCH, and SHARING:
(this is my actual workflow)
Feedly, my favorite RSS feeder, pulls in stories from my favorite blogs
Instapaper, I capture online stories here, then share to...
Evernote, where my research files live; or to...
Buffer, to share posts firsthand on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Dlvr.it, which shares just-posted content to my other Facebook and Twitter accounts
Emma, to send newsletters with fun recipes and book recommendations
CALENDAR: iCal (I have both online and paper calendars. I don’t like carrying a day planner, so I use my phone when I'm out and traveling) run through Google calendar. I use the Outlook app calendar, too.
Interestingly, two years ago, I switched to a daily calendar instead of weekly. It took a while, but I finally realized I was totally stressed by this daily accountability, and have switched back to weekly. My stress levels dropped immediately. I feel so much more settled! Crazy, right? The Habana is the perfect size — larger than a regular Moleskine, it fits my hand perfectly, can capture a few more lines per page, and the paper is fantastic — smooth, easy to write on, never bleeds through, and beautiful. I like paper you can pet.
Clairfontaine A5 spiral bound - idea capture, notes, book notebooks, research, planning — each book gets a notebook.
Midori Travelers Notebook - A lovely back-to-the-earth choice, I love throwing this in my bag when I’m heading out. The leather is stroke-able, the paper is smooth, and I always get compliments on it. When I’m traveling, there’s no sense taking five notebooks along, so it doubles as my writing notebook and my planner.
EREADER: Kindle Voyage
Pilot Knight Fountain pen - beautiful, sturdy, a real workhorse
Sharpie Fine Point Pens - I especially like the blue
Pilot Precise v5 Pens - I prefer black
Blackwing Pencils in Pearl
Baron Fig Pens – I love the Spectre pen with the ghost on it. So cute! (Psst: here's a $10 off coupon)
It seems like a lot, but each tool has its purpose. Collectively, they make my life easier. I hope you find some of them useful!