10 Apps to Help You Be More Efficient as a Writer

10 Apps to Help You Be More Efficient as a Writer by Frances CaballoJoanna Penn refers to herself as a creative entrepreneur. Guess what? So are you.

Anyone who endeavors to write a book, self-publish it, and market it to improve sales is a creative person who is in business for himself or herself. Producing and selling books is a business and it’s important to see yourself as a publishing entrepreneur.

Here’s a question for you: Do you want to write one book or do you want to write as many books as you possibly can? The reality of being a self-published author is that the more books you write, the more books you’ll sell. The second book will help to sell the first book, and the third book will boost the sales of the second book. It’s true.

Fact: the more books you write, the more books you’ll sell via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

This line of thinking brings me to this question that I want you to consider: do you want to be a productive entrepreneur? In other words, do you want to fit writing lots of books into your already busy life?

These days, our attention is divided between our creative life, family, household responsibilities, pets, chores and tasks, friends, and the unexpected. So if you think of yourself as a creative entrepreneur who is in the business of writing, selling, and marketing books, then the theme of productivity arises.

If you’ve already written a good book, you know about the types of sacrifices you had to make to produce that book. Perhaps you had to relinquish making meals to other members in your household for a while. Or maybe you added a Do Not Disturb sign to your door to create the quiet space you needed from your family. Or maybe you woke up at 4 am everyday to fit in your writing time before caring for children and getting yourself ready for work.

No one said that being a creative would be easy. That’s why as a creative and as a social media marketer you want to look for strategies that can make you more productive.

Books on Productivity

First, there are three books you might enjoy:

Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routing, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, edited by Jocelyn Giel – This is an excellent time management book for creative individuals.

Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, by Brian Tracy – This is a more traditional time management book that suggests that you tackle your most important project first thing in the morning. Following the system outlined in this book has helped me to be more productive in my life.

The Five-Minute Journal: The Simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier, created by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas. The journal forces you to plan your day in terms of intentions and affirmations. This isn’t a frivolous exercise. In fact, the structure of the journal is based on research, which the creators explain at the start of the book.

Let’s look at other ways you can help yourself to become a more productive creative.

Pomodoro Technique

Are you more effective when you stay glued to your seat, working two hours straight on your next book or when you take regular breaks?

According to Francesco Cirillo, the inventor of the Pomodoro Technique, you accomplish more when you take regular breaks. This is how it works:

  1. Start your task.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on your book or task until your timer rings.
  4. Take a short break. It can be two minutes or five minutes long.
  5. Every fourth work period, take a longer break, about 15 to 30 minutes in duration.

While you are focused on your task, you can’t let yourself be distracted by email, Facebook, or a pet yapping.

Cirillo, through is research, discovered that people are more productive when they take regular breaks. Remember your days in college? You probably spent hours in the library preparing for exams. It would have been better back then if you’d allowed yourself to take regular breaks.

Want to write faster? Take more breaks - really via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

There’s another reason to take regular breaks. Sitting is considered to be as harmful to our health as smoking. Researchers found that sitting actually kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.

You will be more productive, and healthier if you do two things:

  1. Take regular breaks by following the Pomodoro Technique. There are Pomodoro apps available and timers for your smartphone, Mac, or PC, such as Pomodoro Timer, Pomodoro Keeper, Focus Time, and Break Time. Search for Pomodoro-type timers in any browser and you’ll find some that you’ll like.
  2. During your breaks, stretch, do squats and pushups, and refocus your eyes on the outdoors.

Create an Atmosphere and Be More Efficient

WriteRoom 

This is another tool available from Apple’s App Store. WriteRoom is designed to be an alternative to Microsoft Word. Basically, the program allows you to write and that’s it. You can’t add formating or insert screenshots. All you can do is write and sometimes, that’s exactly all we need to do, especially if you’re writing nonfiction. This app costs $4.99.

TeamViz 

This app follows the Pomodoro Technique’s system for time management for task management. Use it for free or pay $1.99/month for additional features.

Coffitivity 

According to research, it can be more difficult for some people to be productive in a quiet space. That is why some people can get more writing done in the middle of Starbucks where people are chatting, ordering lattes, and munching on muffins. This app will create a background of coffee shop sounds to soothe you into your sweet spot of writing. It claims to produce the perfect mix of calm and commotion. This app is available for the iPad, iPhone and Mac in the iTunes store for $1.99. There are a number of similar apps, or you can simply write your next book at a coffee shop or plan your favorite instrumental music.

Want to be more productive? Go to a coffee shop or turn on music @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

Google Play Music (type Google Play Music in your search bar)

Formerly Songza, this program from Google is completely free to use.

Readability 

This application will help to save you time by removing distractions and video ads from web pages you read. Instead of flashing headlines on a web page, it will look like a clean document. You can also use Readability to save web pages for reading later on a mobile device. This tool is available as a Chrome or Firefox extension and at the iTunes store for Apple products. Even if you don’t have trouble staying focused on your writing, this sounds like a good app to use.

Apps for Writers on the Go

Evernote 

If you use a PC or Mac, iPad and/or a laptop to write, then you may find Evernote a useful tool. You can place research, documents, images, audio notes, web clips (web pages) into this app and access it wherever you happen to be and on whatever device you’re using at the time. For example, while working on your PC you may find an image that you like, save it to Evernote, and when you’re in a coffee shop with your laptop later in the day, you’ll be able to access it to post on Facebook. With this tool, you’ll have access to all of your research for your next book wherever you happen to be seated and with whichever device you happen to be using.

Dropbox 

This free application was developed in 2007 by MIT students who were tired of emailing files to themselves as they moved from one computer to another. Similar to Evernote, you can save files, photos, and videos to your Dropbox on your iPad and access the information later on your PC or iMac at home. Dropbox offers free and fee-based versions.

Byword 

Use can use this “markdown editor” application on your PC, iPad or Mac. Use it to write a blog post on your iPad, review it on your PC and publish it on WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger. You can also export directly to Evernote and Dropbox. Basically, markdown creates easy-to-read text, similar to plain text emails, which don’t contain formatting. The lack of formatting makes the text easier to convert to HTML code for your website.

My Life Organized

Available for Windows, Android, and iOS, this app is an online task manager you can use to set goals, track to-do lists, and identify recurring tasks. Check it out because it has many features and is available for free.

Todoist

This is another program to help you manage projects and tasks. You can try it for free.

Wunderlist (check the Mac App Store)

This is a task manager that will sync between your phone, tablet, laptop, and computer.

As writers, we sometimes have to force the words to flow just to get started. Don’t get stuck behind the obstacle of writer’s block; clear the hurdle, set the mood, and adhere to your writing schedule.


 I recently added even more pages to Twitter Just for Writers, bringing it to 52 pages. And it’s Free for you.

Twitter Just for WritersGrab a copy of your 52-page eBook on Twitter today. In Twitter Just for Writers you’ll find:

  • Easy to follow instructions on how you can get started.
  • Instructions on how to devise a password that will never be hacked.
  • Terms and special hashtags just for authors like you.
  • A list of applications to use with Twitter.
  • Advice on how to select your username and write your bio. (So many authors get this wrong.)
  • Plus guidelines for advanced users!

Download your FREE copy now. (Why wait?)


Authors: Not Sure What to Tweet? Try These 44 Tweets Today by Frances Caballo, AuthorAbout the AuthorFrances Caballo is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. She’s written several books including Social Media Just for WritersAvoid Social Media Time Suck, and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free here on her website. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.

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