2016 is right around the corner and one of your New Year’s resolutions is to write—or finish—that novel! Congrats on finally taking the plunge. I wish I could say it will be easy. It won’t. But there are tools out there to help you on your journey. Unfortunately, they won’t actually write the novel for you.
Perfect to make sure you meet those deadlines! NaNoWriMo isn’t until November, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your own mini-writing challenges. Pacemaker will help. According to the site: Pacemaker is a playful way of making peace with your writing goals. You set a word count goal, chip away at it day by day and finish on-time! You can approach your writing target in various ways to suit your style.
Don’t have time to write? You’re not alone. You just have to make time and a good daily planner will definitely help. I personally use a Passion Planner, but there are several awesome options out there. There’s even a planner designed specifically for us writers called A Writer’s Life. The great thing about both of these planners is that you can download them free or you can actually buy physical copies.
Having written professionally for 15 years and being known as the Computer Killer, I can personally tell you that there’s nothing worse for a writer than losing all your hard work. I used to email my draft to myself every night but then the cloud came into my life and yes, I literally feel like I’m walking on air. Of course, there’s Dropbox and Google Drive, but my current favorite is Microsoft’s OneDrive. It not only has cloud storage but it’s connected to Microsoft Word—both the online version and the one on your laptop. So you can literally write anywhere.
Writer-Friendly Word Processing Software
There are some amazing word processing programs out there that cater specifically to writers. If I had a dollar for every writer I knew who used Scrivener, I wouldn’t have to write! I could easily afford my long-held dream of buying an island and paying some hot young guy to feed me strawberries all day. I would call it Scrivener Island. It’s a great program but, unfortunately, there’s definitely a learning curve to it.
I personally use plain old Word 2010 to work, but I do “writerify” it.
I make each of my chapter headings a “Heading 1” style. (If you right click, you can modify the heading to Times New Roman 12 point font, which is the standard for manuscripts.) Then I go to View and check “Navigation Pane,” which will pop up on the left of the window. It lets me easily search my document and immediately go straight to a particular chapter. And if you highlight the chapter heading in the Navigation Pane, you can actually move the entire chapter to somewhere else in the document! I also use “Comments” to make notes for myself.
So those are my tips and tricks to make writing a tad bit easier. Do you have any of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.