In the last few months, I realized I needed to get my shit together as a creative writer.
Meaning it was time to get super-duper organized so I could get things done.
Part of that involved making a lot of docs and things, but that’s a topic for another time. Today I want to talk about the two (totes free) apps I’ve been using on my phone to make sure I stay focused and hit my goals.
Good god, is Evernote my friend. Right now I have a few clutch “notebooks” in my Evernote account: one pertaining to my WIP, another for any good writing tips, a third for editing/revising advice, and a final notebook for publishing/agents. This has made my life infinitely better.
Anytime I find good information on writing, revising, or publishing/querying, I save it to my Evernote using the plug-in on my desktop browser or “share” feature on my phone’s browser so I won’t lose it. I love that Evernote “clips” the article so I can see a nice preview in my Evernote and read the whole thing in the app without having to revisit the webpage.
This is really crucial for keeping all my stuff together and proving to myself that I did my research. Which is going to be super important for me this spring when I hunker down and do some serious reading about publishing and agents.
That’s actually one of my quarterly goals for this spring: read all about publishers and agents. I got the idea for quarterly goals from author Jenna Moreci, who released her first book, Eve: The Awakening, last year. In one of her YouTube videos, she talks about how essential setting quarterly goals has been to keeping herself on track. And they’ve made a big difference for me, too.
The idea of quarterly plans is that you make a list of 10-20 tangible goals and try to accomplish as many of them as you can over a three-month period. It’s an ideal system because the deadline isn’t too tight or too open-ended, so you end up with the right level of incentive to get to work. For me last fall, my quarterly plan included tasks like “finish revising Act I of my WIP” and “organize my chapters into a spreadsheet.” I can say with confidence that I would have never completed those goals within that time frame had I not set them as quarterly goals.
Now I use Evernote for everything from typing random notes on edits I want to make in a chapter to brainstorming ideas on how I want to build my author platform for once I’m published. Anything that comes to mind, I Evernote it.
Any.do is my newest obsession. I wanted a hyper-minimal app that I could use to create a simple to-do list. I have to-do lists in Evernote (for my quarterly goals), but I wanted something that I didn’t have to dig through every day — something that was going to show me what I need to do, when I need to do it, and then wave it around in my face (in a manner of speaking).
It turns out Any.do is great for this. I can create a task for “today,” “tomorrow,” or “upcoming” (meaning in the future), and I can set the time I want to complete it. The whole process takes like three seconds. Any.do’s got a nice feature where you can just select “morning,” “afternoon,” or “evening,” which is a lot easier than when I was trying to use Google Calendar and fussing around with its ridiculously specific notification times.
I use Any.do for very short-term writing goals. For example, today’s was “fix this issue in Chapter 5 that I’ve been meaning to fix in forever” and “write a blog post.” Done and done.
Any.do is also perfect for me because it’s like a nagging little do-gooder. In the morning, it chirps out a few pleasant sing-songy notes and asks me to “plan my day” — it wants to remind me of the tasks I set. And every few hours, if I ignore a task, it just keeps popping up as if to say, “Hey, lazy, do you think you’re going to get away with not doing your goals today? Get off Netflix and write.”
Sure, I could turn off the notifications if I wanted, but then who would annoy me until I got my ass in gear?
What apps do you use to get your writing done?