Six ways technology can help writers
Love it or hate it, technology is a survival skill for writers in a world where the Internet dominates communication and culture. The good news is that writer technology has always got your back. If you carry a smartphone, you’ve can have everything you need with you. Any day. Any time. Brilliant idea in the supermarket aisle? No problem. Stick it on a card in an Ideas list on Trello. Hard drive dies. Not a problem if you’ve got a backup procedure in place. Website pages you need to keep for research. Maybe forever. Save them to Evernote.
Use the right tools and technology will save you time.
The key to saving your sanity and not being overwhelmed, is to use technology wisely. Strike a balance between the benefits and the things you prefer to do ‘old-school’ pen and paper-wise. If a task is repetitive, don’t do it manually. After all, many writer tech solutions were created by people who didn’t want to spend time doing it ‘the long way’. If you use the right tools for the task, technology will save you time. And time saved, is time that can be spent on writing.
Time saved with writer tech, is time that can be spent on writing. Or other stuff.
If you’re interested in that, you might like to sign up for my free Writer Tech newsletter packed with simple how-to instructions, useful tips and technology ideas specifically for writers. My non-writer professional background is systems analysis, coding and project management. Let me help you navigate the minefield of choices .
Six ways technology can help writers with all sorts of writerly stuff
You’re reading on? Excellent! If you start to get the idea that there’s a lot of overlap – you’re right. And it’s good thing. You don’t need a toolbox full of technology. You need a small set that meets your specific needs and comfort zone. If you’re a spreadsheet user, it’s amazing how many tasks you can do with just that.
Writers have heaps of stuff to store. Some of it is administrative, like keeping receipts for tax deductible expenses. Some of it is about things you don’t want to forget – like capturing and storing the story or blog ideas that catch you at inopportune moments. Or research that would benefit from being scanned and tagged for easy retrieval. Or the all important backups. And remembering passwords? There’s technology to help with all of that.
Writers have heaps of stuff to plan. You have stories that need to be plotted and planned. You have time to manage on a daily basis and your calendar is busy. Chances are you’re juggling a second job and family commitments. You’re trying to avoid the soil media time suck. And then there are events – book launches, festival attendances, school visits and speaking engagements. Travel involves planning and if you write for children you might be carting props. Maybe you want to set goals. There’s technology to help with all that.
Managing Social Media Stuff
Social media is a huge writing distraction danger area. Seemingly endless things to do and an enormous time suck, even when it’s fun. Finding the balance between what you want to do and what you need to do is hard. Everyone’s balance is different. Maybe you just don’t want to go there. There’s content to be curated. Information to be shared. And maybe scheduled. Information to extract and store. You want to it as quickly as possible as possible, but effectively enough that you’re not wasting your time, right? It’s up to you how much time you spend but technology will maximise that time. Minimum 15 mins a day? Doable. Want more? Analytics of all kinds. Real connections. Doable. There’s technology to help with all that.
Writers are always communicating – through social media, blogging, email, appearances – and with every word they write. They need posters and flyers. Contact pages on their website. Did someone say newsletter? Email can be exhausting. Presentations and workshops. Book trailers. You tube channels. Podcasts. And whatever you create or communicate, to maximise your time you’ll want to share it through more than one channel. There’s technology to help with that.
Blogging can be simply about writing words (great words, of course) and posting. But what about bells and whistles – scheduling, shareable memes, collage grids of books and plugins. Finding images and manipulating images. And sharing, so that someone reads the blogs. There’s technology to help with all that.
You might be involved in self publishing, traditional publishing, e-books, on-line platform publishing or interactive storytelling. What about Scrivener? Every time you put a word somewhere in public, from a print brochure to your blog, you’re publishing stuff. There’s technology to help with all that.
Keep it simple with informed choices.
I know it all sounds so overwhelming, but you’ll find you only need a small set of tools and access to tips and tech hacks. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Keep it simple with informed choices.
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