My thanks to the team over at Literature & Latte for sponsoring this post & series of content on writing. They’re the makers of the essential writing app Scrivener for Windows or OS X. Providing an all in one writing studio that allows you to edit, outline, storyboard, and most importantly write in an efficient system. Use it for scriptwriting, books, essays, and more. A must have for all writers.
Outside of this site I do quite a bit of writing both personally & professionally. Whether its for clients, my own personal archive, or my other sites I like to write. That said it wasn’t always that way & I view writing as this muscle that needs to be exercised frequently. So I wanted to throw together some tips and advice to improving your writing workflow. The process in which you write & tools you use to do so. Now keep in mind everyones workflow is unique and you’re free to tailor it to fit your own needs. Rather I wanted to provide an outline of my workflow and tools I use to better help others out there improve in their areas of writing.
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Physical & Digital inspiration-
They say to keep something handy be it a physical notebook or digital app for when inspiration strikes. However when it comes to writing inspiration doesn’t just always strike. Rather to improve your overall writing workflow I believe in practice. Of course keep something handy for whenever an idea strikes or something you want to express & just write it. Don’t worry about grammar, structure, or what have you just write. Writing daily helps implement a routine & improve your writing fluency.
Using great sites like 750Words allow you to build up your writing skills by tasking you to write 750 words on a daily basis.
Text expansion when it comes to writing has been something has saved a ton of time & unnecessary keystrokes. Using an app like TextExpander allows you to take let’s say an e-mail signature for example.
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Rather than constantly typing this I can set ;sig2 to automatically translate into that. You can very technical with this of course having it type out current dates & times, common answers to questions, and so much more. Saving you a ton of time when writing out anything as the app is supported in anything that has a text field.
Using a cloud storage service can highly improve your writing workflow in various ways. First and foremost keeping your content be it manuscripts, books, essays and so on in the cloud allow you to keep them off site. This means if your local copies are ever damaged or corrupted you have the stored safely in the cloud. Additionally cloud storage allows you to access your files anywhere you have internet access so you can write on the go on a variety of devices. Be it Dropbox or Google Drive syncing files to these services has never been easier. On top of all of this a service like Google Drive allows for collaboration editing. This is very useful in projects where you have multiple people overviewing a document & gives a live look at whats ongoing.
My own Workflow:
So when it comes to time for me to write I approach it a systematic way depending on the project I’m working on. It can be a blog post, formal letter, essay, and a variety of other things which allows me to adjust the methods I use.
Most importantly I always focus on the writing itself. I write first & edit/revise later. The best way for me to overcome a blank page is by filling it with whatever I have on my mind or have to tackle. In conjunction with the following steps I try to always follow.
Gather all material I need beforehand. This helps in terms of preparation in that I have everything I need in one place be it an app or document. Scrivener provides an amazing feature to do just that. Allowing you to couple everything in one place to easily focus on your writing and reference your research material links, web pages, sources, in one place without interrupting your workflow.
From there I tend to outline my projects. Providing a visual look at what I’m about to put together. This helps in structuring my content and in a sense gives me a template to work off of. Now you can outline yours however you please some people prefer a mind map, audio notes, or just a typical outline number/lettering system like I use to structure my posts.
With bigger scale projects extra organization is required & having to sort through files, research, material, can be very cumbersome. I prefer to keep my content separated in folders or tags much like what Scrivener offers in it’s binder. You can color code notes, make collections, and easily branch out files/folders. Of course this may mean physically organizing your material if you don’t use a digital solution. I find the easier and more accessible my material is the easier it is for me to focus on writing.
As simple & complex as it is the last step is to sit down and write. Focus on writing and putting together what I’ve visualized & organized and worry about the details afterwards. Dropping in video/picture media, grammar, formatting. I try to let myself just create before fine tuning it. This allows me to look at the work again with fresh eyes after I finish writing. All these steps in conjunction make up my writing workflow. Filled with practices, apps, and various tools that have helped me improve my writing overtime. More importantly knowing it’s something that I have to constantly be doing & improving upon.
Look to establish your own workflow with tools & tips that work best for you. However if your serious about writing & or do it for a living you can’t go wrong trying some of the apps mentioned above.
Be sure to check out the previous post we did in line with our series of content on “Writing Workshop” highlighting the