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Three Tools for Writers I Use Every Day

September 1, 2014

Every day it seems there’s a new app or other technology being pushed as “essential” for writers. I’m attracted to shiny techie things, and I try just about anything new, although I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up will all the innovations.

After trying out the new stuff, I find I keep coming back to a short list of  tried and trues that make my writing life easier.

Here are the tech tools I use every day.

Toggl is a simple time tracker.

In a small app window on my computer’s desktop, I type in what I’m working on, start the timer, and stop it when I’m done. I can access the week’s times in the app, and all my data via my account on the web. I use it primarily to track and report time I’ve spent on projects for clients,  but it also keeps me honest with myself about how much time I’ve spent on my own creative writing.

Google Drive provides a private place to  backup and share files on the web.

When I put a file in the drive, it’s accessible via the web from any location from my  laptop, tablet, or phone. I can also create public folders on Google Drive to share work easily with others.

I used to use Dropbox, but since it offers only 2 GB of free storage, I kept running out of space. Google Drive gives me 15 GB, so I made the switch.

Evernote is a note-taking and scrapbook tool.

With Evernote, I can write and store notes, create reminders, save images and videos, capture ideas on the fly, and—with a quick tap to its browser add-on “Webclipper”clip and save articles and links as I browse the Internet. It’s easy to organize ideas and information for projects with Evernote’s folder and tag systems.

Everything  I store in Evernote is available to me online or offline  using any of my devices: my laptop, iPad, and iPhone.

All of these tools are free, although for a price they offer additional features. What free or low-cost tech tools do you use on a regular basis to make your writing life easier?

Mary Ann de StefanoMary Ann de Stefano is the editor of The Florida Writer (the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association) and MAD’s Monday Muse. She is also a writer, editor, and organizer of writing workshops with 30+ years experience in publishing and writing consulting. Besides working one-on-one with writers who are developing books, she designs author websites. Mary Ann does business at MAD about Words, named as a play on her initials and love for writing.

  1. Judith Ring permalink
    September 1, 2014 12:05 am

    Clicking on the link “read more of this post” results in a 404 error. Do you have a fix?

    Judi Ring

  2. Chris Hamilton permalink
    September 1, 2014 6:08 am

    I can’t replicate the issue. Please try this link…

  3. Carol Anderson permalink
    September 1, 2014 6:34 am

    Nothing attached.

  4. Chris Hamilton permalink
    September 1, 2014 8:58 am

    There appears to have been an issue with WordPress. Please use this URL…

  5. September 1, 2014 4:58 pm

    Apologies to anyone having issues. As Chris mentioned, it looks like a momentary WordPress glitch in the e-mail. Please let us know if it happens again so we can report the issue to WordPress.

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