#004 Do Authors Need Tech and if so, How Much?
Understanding your own Writing process and the tools you uses for each step of it is essential to having a streamlined process.
Today’s episode will focus on how to get your Writers Tech-Toolkit working with your writing style and not a copy of someone else. After all, if it doesn’t work for you easily and seamlessly you just won’t use it.
If you want to spend more time being creative and writing, then take a moment to decide which tools you will use within your Writers Tech-Tookit today.
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Do Authors Need Tech? Yes!
What Tech Do They Need?
Always a Learning Curve
Learn Quicker with an Online Course
Creating a Writers Tech-ToolKit
Inside My Writers Tech-ToolKit
Putting It All Together
Each Writers Approach is Their Own
Traditional Pen & Paper versus Tech
If Your Writing is a Business?
5 Day Challenge – Writers Tech-ToolKit
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Do Authors need tech? Yes!
This is a really interesting question I find. My personal opinion is that yes all authors need tech. If you’re a writer an author or a blogger, actually any creative these days needs some kind of tech. What I mean by tech is applications, software and any kind of device that helps you with your creative process and output.
So if we’ve answered the question Yes authors do need tech, then the next part of the question is how much do you need?
What Tech do they need?
There are a lot of options out there for many many different types of applications. For example, if you need a To Do List or a calendar for blocking out writing time around your other commitments, for writing emails to potential publishers, novel writing software, plotting software, project management software to plan out a book launch, apps to help with scheduling your social media campaigns, how to format a print or ebook, and so many more options for the various categories of your writing process.
To decide how much tech you personally need its really going to come down to what is your style of working. For example just because someone says you need this particular writing software to be a brilliant writer doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you and actually make you a brilliant writer. And I say this because there is a common app out there that is a very popular writing software and actually I’m writing this podcast using it at the moment. I’m talking about Scrivener and I’ve used it for many years. But I have to say it does have a learning curve to use it efficiently.
And this is the case I find with a lot of software. As an IT implementation consultant I’ve dealt with a lot of different people and personalities in various industries, workplaces across various countries over the last couple of decades. One thing I found is that no one person learns the same as another person, everyone has a different style and a different way their brain thinks and how they like to work and to achieve their results and their output.
Always a Learning Curve
So it is great to do your research, to read blogs to listen to podcasts like this, and learn about the different applications that are available to you. But be prepared that there will always be a learning curve with a lot of those options. Not all of them have the same learning curve, and how you like to consume that learning will depend on how long it will take for you to learn each application.
A tip I can offer you for learning any new application is definitely to see if there are any tutorials from wherever you bought the app from. That’s always the best place to start. And if you like to follow instructions there will always be a manual with many pages to read through. If you’re like many other people, including myself, reading a lengthy document is not how you start. You tend to open the software and start clicking buttons and seeing what happens.
Am I right? Is this how you do it?
Learn Quicker with an Online Course
I certainly start this way and then if I’m stuck I start to read the manual. Another option, if it’s not obvious how to get started quickly or how to use the advanced features, I highly recommend that you invest in an online course which teaches you how to use it. Even better is a course that teaches you how to use it for the actual reason you want to use it for. The example most of you may understand is with Scrivener and it is software that was developed by a writer for writers so most of the tutorials are focused on how a writer will use scrivener. They have some on their website and there are many across YouTube, on Udemy and other online course sites.
Other software like Aeon Timeline, while it was developed for time lining a novel, there were not a lot of tutorials that I personally have found that focus on how to use it as a writer. So I taught myself how to use it and then created the online course Learn Aeon Timeline. I felt there was a gap and as I was answering questions on it’s use in some of the online forums and groups I am in, it seemed a logical next step to create the online course so I could reach more users anytime they needed it.
Over the years, Learn Aeon Timeline has evolved to also include tutorials and templates for Bloggers as well as Fiction and Non-Fiction Writers.
Creating a Writers Tech-Toolkit
Considerations to think through when you’re going to add new tech to your Writing Tech Toolkit.
- What is the learning curve time frame?
- Will I need to add an online course to the cost of buying the software?
- Can the software be used for multiply parts of my workflow?
Inside My Writers Tech-ToolKit
- Brainstorming (which includes plotting and outlining my story)
- Editing and Proofing
- Self Publishing and Formatting
- Marketing / Social Media
- Organisation / Project Management
I’ll attach in the show notes the diagram of my Writers Tech-Toolkit that I’m referring to.
Let’s break this down a bit.
Putting it all Together
For Brainstorming I being with Aeon Timeline. I create a timeline for my novel (or actually I use a single timeline for my whole series. That way I can plot a series Arc as well as the individual book Arc. I don’t necessarily plot the whole series, and focus not the book of the moment, but this allows me to make notes into future scenes for information I have seeded into the current book. Given the time it can take to write a single book I don’t want to forget an awesome idea months later.
I can add research into the timeline. Which can involve images for my characters and locations, and web links to locations or periods in time I want to reference.
Then I sync my timeline with Scrivener and this creates all the Chapters and Scenes from the timeline into the Scrivener Project. No need to re-write anything, I can just begin the writing process immediately.
Of course you don’t need to follow my method. A lot of writers don’t use timeline software and plot and outline directly into Scrivener and then start writing.
Each Writers Approach is their Own
There is no right or wrong way to approach this, it’s really up to you and how you like to work. You also don’t want to be buying software if it doesn’t add value to your process.
However, with Aeon Timeline I use it for much more than just the 1st step of plotting. I keep my Scrivener Writing project and Aeon Timeline in sync as I’m writing the series as it allows me to slice and dice my time line to view it different ways. Because I attach Locations and Characters and some other information like which Arc the scene is in, I can view a table of my scenes to see how the story flows by Arc, or which scenes my characters are in to see if that works. It’s a little hard to describe, but to view this in more detail I wrote a blog called: 3 Ways Aeon Timeline & “Relationship View” Improves my Writing which you can find on my TechTools4Authors.com website. There will be a link in the show notes that can take you directly to the blog.
I also use Aeon Timeline for simple project management. I don’t need base lines, or gantt charts or costs of the project, so for timelines of say a Book Launch, or planning a Content Creation (aka Blogs, Vlogs, Podcasts etc) I use timelines.
So this 1 piece of software currently has 4 uses in my workflow for me.
And this is what I suggest you try and achieve too. Decide what your steps are for writing your books and then look at the options available to you. Quite a few software options have either free versions, or a trial period so you can test out if you like it or not.
Traditional Pen & Paper versus Tech
The other thing to consider is what’s your reasoning for either having or not having tech. If we are looking at the creation of a novel, for example, you will begin with your idea then need to possibly brainstorm it (if you’re a plotter) or get straight into the writing if you are more of a pantzer. You may do a bit of research before and during your writing. Then it’s a good step to proof your 1st draft before sending to an editor.
Once you have the finished manuscript you need to format it for various eBook formats and possibly also a print format. Then you need to upload to your book retailers and continue your own social media marketing.
So all along this journey from the beginning idea to publishing and marketing there are quite a few options for different pieces of tech that could help you streamline your writing process. Now, I’ll say it again, the main point to get from todays podcast is there is no right or wrong option here. It’s always about what is going to suit your writing process and your creative style.
If you want to hand write on paper your ideas and plotting – go for it. However consider an app like Aeon Timeline to use instead and plot your timeline. This allows you to outline and brainstorm by dragging and dropping scenes into the order you want quickly and easily. This app then syncs with both Scrivener and Ulysses (popular writing apps) with all your chapters, scenes, notes and all of the information automatically set up in Scrivener or Ulysses and then all you have to do is start writing.
If you go the handwritten way and maybe have Post-It notes on a wall or you’ve got your moleskin notebooks, then you still have to re-type all your information into where you’re going to actually write your novel.
If Your Writing is a Business?
Which is perfectly fine, but can I just throw in something to consider with this option. To earn an income from your writing your book has to be available online for people to buy it. If it takes you a longer to handwrite your notes, plot and then transfer those notes into your writing app before you start writing, this is obviously not practical if you rely on the book income.
So when you are considering your Writers Tech-Toolkit you want to consider how it can help you and not hinder you. If tech freaks you out you need to get past that. I’m sorry to be a bit hard on this, but it’s a fact. We live in a Technology run world and getting on board with that will help you in the long term.
The best way I know to get past that fear is to realise that If you want to learn you will! It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your starting point is – if you want to learn you will.
So if tech freaks you out or frustrates you, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to shift your mindset.
Repeat after me: “I am going to be a Tech Savvy Writer!”, “I am going to be a Tech Savvy Writer!”
5 Day Challenge – Writers Tech-Toolkit
If you need some help with working out what your starting point is with the Tech in your Writer ToolKit then I have FREE 5 Day Challenge on exactly this topic.
The next challenge starts on 25th May 2020 and takes you through 5 days to take you from not really having a clue what apps work best for your writing style, to having a clear understanding and confidence in which apps you will use for each step in your writing process.
There will be a link in the show notes if you want more information, but here is an overview of what we’ll tackle each day:
- Day 1: Let’s list all the apps we have now
- I’ll provide you with a PDF workbook and a spreadsheet template to help you through this step.
- Day 2: We’ll review the list and identify all the categories you could use each app for.
- Day 3: We’ll analyse your list and discuss options if you have any gaps and want to fill that gap.
- Day 4: Then we’ll refine your workflow and plan which apps you could use for what and in which stage of your writers workflow they fit best.
- Day 5: The last day is to finalise your Writers Tech-ToolKit — you will have your app list and have identified when and how you will use each app in your writing process.
I’m with you all along this 5 day journey. I’ll be popping into the challenge Facebook group daily with live streams and answering questions and assisting your along this journey. There will also be video tutorials and instructions on the course page on TechTools4Authors specifically available to each of you who join. You won’t be alone to work this out.
I can appreciate when you’re starting from a point of not understanding tech too well you are going to have a lot of questions and having them answered each day will help keep you moving forward and understand the stage you are at.
If the challenge doesn’t suit you right now, and you still want to streamline your Writers Tech-ToolKit then follow the steps I’ve outlined above and list of each of your writing categories you go through when writing a book and then each of the ways that you process those steps. If it’s handwritten notes than add that to the list. Once you have your full list take a look at what you’re doing and see if there are ways that you can streamline that process.
Essentially if you can nail your writing workflow you will have a much more time for being creative and actually getting that book written.
Don’t panic if you create your Writers Tech-Toolkit and find something isn’t working. That happens and as your process evolves so will the Tech. Something better may suit your writing style better, you can then swap software and apps in and out of your writing workflow as it suits you.
Ok, that is the podcast for today and I hope you found something of value from the topics discussed:
The main points are:
- If you want to learn you will
- Find your own writing workflow. Any app or process that works for a famous writer won’t necessarily work for everyone. You don’t need to follow the crowd, you need to create a workflow that suits your writing style. Otherwise you just won’t use it and your creativity will suffer or be delayed.
A question for you now. What Tech Tools are inside your Writers Toolkit? If you have a few minutes I’d love for you to share in the comments over at TechSavvyCreatives.com/podcasts for this Podcast #004.
How do you feel about the stages you go through from Idea to Publish, do your current apps work for you, or are you finding it frustrating and confusing?
If you liked this podcast and TechTools4Authors.com please let me a review and rating on wherever you listen to the Tech Savvy Creatives podcast so I can continue to bring you tips for being a confident and Tech Savvy Creative.
Thanks for listening and don’t forget if you want too delve further into anything discussed on this episode check out the show notes over on TechSavvyCreatives.com/podcast and I look forward to you tuning in next week.
Take care and I hope you and yours have a safe and creative week!
Note: This transcript has been lightly edited for sense and links added for more information. Any affiliate links to books, services, and products are those I personally use and recommend, which means if you purchase something, I get a % of sale but at no extra cost to you.
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