Free, writing applications that help with time management
Time is a constant barrier, for many of us who do not write as a full-time hustle. Some applications and techniques can help us all cut down on the time writing takes. These are essential as they help us become more productive. The better we use our time the better the results.
Writing applications can be an expensive business, especially if you are trying to support a family as well.
Here are the phone apps that you could use. Although many offer a paid version, the reviews are for the free versions. These are my honest views and not sponsored by any company. They are applications that I have used over the years to increase my productivity at no extra cost.
The majority of my posts are written on Evernote. There are other applications such as Apples Notes that are very similar. Find a note application that will sync between all the gadgets that you use. This way you have a notebook wherever you go.
Evernotes has a superior folder option. You can create a different folder for each of your writing projects. You can input handwritten notes, photos and links. The transfer between my phone and my computer is seamless. There is never a problem.
I used to write straight to the Medium app, but on more than one occasion I lost posts. For this reason, I stick to Evernotes. If you delete something by accident you can always find it in the deleted items folder.
The difference between the free version and the paid version is the number of gadgets you can download the application to. If you use your phone and then the web version for everything else you should manage fine, without paying.
For images, I use the phone version of Canva. Canva allows you to personalise photos, with text and stickers. This application can change a standard stock photo into a personal photo. Annotated infographics work well to attract readers to your articles.
I prefer to use the phone version, to the website one. I find it easier to navigate. It also means that I have access to all my graphics, without having to download them to my phone.
Canva can also be used to design banners and logos for other social media. It is my one-stop place, for everything images.
Over the months I have tried every scheduling app for social media. The one I am sticking with is Hootsuite. It is super easy to use and has a clear view of everything scheduled.
The free version has a limit of three on the number of accounts, but it is more than adequate for what I need. On it, I schedule posts to my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. You have the option to auto-schedule posts or set a specific date. The application to date has never let me know.
Every weekend I sit down for half an hour, with a coffee, and schedule my posts for the week, ensuring I use popular hashtags.
The one disadvantage of this free version is you can not loop tweets to consistently tweet on a five-day rotation. If this is the scheduling you want then I would suggest Signal. The free version is very limited though, so this would depend on your budget.
To check grammar I use the plugin for Grammarly. There is some negative press as it records your keystrokes. People are concerned it may be collecting personal data.
I’m no expert, but I would say it’s scaremongering. To be on the safe side, you could always switch to your standard keyboard when typing in passwords etc.
I have to say the keyboard has taken some getting used to. Over time it has become more natural to use. I also always double-check posts through the web version before publishing. It has, however, saved me many blushes even on a quick tweet to Twitter.
I love reading newsletters from other writers, but don’t always want them filling up my inbox. For this reason, I have a separate email address for newsletters. I then send these to a separate mail application.
This allows me to have a read when I have time, but not to be alerted when they drop into my inbox. I use Yahoo mail as the application lets you also connect other mailboxes such as Gmail, Outlook and AOL.
Writing does not need to be expensive. Free, writing applications often provide enough functionality to be more than adequate. If you are new to writing, I would suggest you look into these applications before spending money.
When I started writing I invested in many expense packages such as Scrivener. They weren’t necessary, the money could have been used elsewhere. If you are starting to write, save as much money as possible and use these free applications.