3 Apps for Productivity

I see so many people talk about what apps they use for productivity. So much so that I almost dismissed this idea as a post. But… Here we are.

These are the three apps I use to help keep me on track and productive. Of course, the disclaimer is “when I use them.”

Trello Trello has apps for your desktop and smart phone. You can create lists and have cards for tasks under each list. You can add notes and deadlines to each card. I’ve tried to use Trello before, but now that I’ve figured out how to make it work for me, I love it.

Pomodoro Timer I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique or not. The idea is you work in 25-minute increments with a 5-minute break. After four of these increments, you can take a longer break. I use this to get started on tasks I really don’t want to do. Once I get in the flow of the work, I ignore the timer and just keep going.

Canva I wish Canva had a desktop option, but it is either web-based or an app for your smart phone. If you need to create infographics, flyers, or social media images (just to name a few) and can’t afford a pricey software, Canva can help you. There are some premium options that you have to pay to use, but it’s very functional even for free

There are several more apps I use for productivity purposes, but these are the three I use most often.

What are your favorite productivity apps?

My Writing Process

ecrireA couple days ago, I told you a bit about my editing process, so now I guess I should tell you about my writing process.

This is a more difficult post to write because the process is more involved. I’m going to try to summarize it, though.

I tend to go through five steps, though I don’t think of them like this at the time.

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Stewing
  3. Prepping
  4. Writing
  5. Editing

What happens in each step of the process?

Idea Generation
I keep a notebook with lists of ideas or summaries of something I want to do. Some of these “notebooks” are files in my computer, though I am a huge fan of keeping a notebook nearby as often as possible.

Stewing
When I find an idea that I want to work on, I walk around with it my head for a while. How long varies. For one story, I walked around with the main character telling me all about herself for two weeks before she finally told me her name. That story was started, but it hasn’t ever been finished. It will be in the not-too-distant future.

Prepping
Otherwise known as planning and research. This is where I figure out if it’s nonfiction or fiction, poetry or prose, long or short. And I do some preliminary research if it’s something I don’t know much about. I limit my research time, though, because I could easily spend too much time doing that and very little writing.

Writing
This step is pretty self-explanatory. I will do extra research from time to time if it’s needed. This step also generally takes the longest.

Editing
We already talked about this on Tuesday, but it’s worth including here, too. I view editing as part of the creative process as well. In my writing phase, I get the bones of the story/article/post down. Then in editing, I often add new content, so it’s a mashup of editing and writing. In general, it’s shaping.

Sometimes I will listen to music as I do this. Again, it’s something with little or no lyrics and often the same type of music I listen to while editing.

What does your process look like?

My Editing Process

redpenWhen you think about editing, I’m sure you imagine the proverbial red pen, bleeding all over the page. Right?

Although the red pen still, undoubtedly, has its place, things have changed quite a bit. I would say 99% of my editing is done on the computer.

I use a PC, so I use Microsoft Word. When I finish the draft of a manuscript, I let it sit for up to a week. (Honestly, usually it doesn’t sit that long, just a few days.) When I open the file to edit, I use the Track Changes feature.

For fiction and nonfiction, I start with the little things: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Then I move on to continuity. I look at things like flow and transitions. For fiction, I look at character development, dialog, and story progression. I look for plot holes. (Sometimes I don’t see them, so I use beta readers to help me find those.)

I go over it more than once before I send it to either an editor if I’m self-publishing or an agent/publisher if I want to go a different route. Typically, I go over it at least four rounds. Each round consists of multiple passes checking everything I mentioned above. On my current novel that I’m working on with The Wild Rose Press, I have about five passes for each round. I’m on the second round with them, which is really about the sixth round for me.

If you want to count each pass as its own editing round, then you could say RealmWalker: New Beginnings is undergoing its 30th editing pass. Is this too much?

No.

Each pass, each round is making the story better and the characters more developed and stronger. This is particularly important where BethAnne is concerned. She’s my primary point-of-view character. I don’t want her to come across as someone who needs to be saved by a hero.

When it’s time to get to work, I sit down at the computer, turn on some music, and open the file of the moment. It can’t be just any music, though. I get too caught up in the lyrics of contemporary music and traditional classical music doesn’t help. I listen to electronic music that specifically says it’s good for studying or concentrating. It has a good beat, good tempo, and very little or no lyrics.

It keeps me on track and I get into a good work flow with that kind of music playing in my headphones. (Earbuds. Whatever.)

Here’s my question for you: What does your editing process look like? Do you listen to any music or do you work in silence?