“Why do anything unless it’s going to be great?”
Welcome to my next blog series: Writer Resources!
I’ve been told on more than one occasion I come across some of the most interesting resources, and sometimes I mention one of them in my blog and I’ll get a DM on Twitter (or an email, actually) for more information about it.
So, I figured I’d bring you a series dedicated to some of my favorites, as well as navigate a few still new to me. The lineup I’m bringing you samples everything from organization, to editing, to design, and everything in between.
It was difficult to decide where to start, where to end, and how to get from A to Z! The natural choice, however, was Trello—my favorite organizational app.
Price: Free for Personal Use | 9.99/mo for Business Class | 20.83/mo for Enterprise
Ease of Use (Web): ♦♦♦♦♦
Ease of Use (App): ♦♦♦♦♦
I was first introduced to Trello shortly after its release and I used it to help me organize a 10k word paper I had to write for school. If you are familiar with the “pin board” concept of Pinterest, then you’ve already got an idea of how Trello works. Let me show you:
Great for Web | Great for Mobile
If you’re anything like me, you float from using a desktop or laptop to using your mobile device for all things regarding your writing career. It was important for me that however I organize my thoughts and ideas be just as useful on my desktop as it is my phone, and Trello does not disappoint.
In fact, it’s the most seamless web/mobile transition I’ve ever encountered. It is nearly instantaneous to add something on your Trello app and then find it on your desktop and vice versa.
This is EXCELLENT for people who design something on their desktop and then want to add it to Instagram.
I take full advantage of any opportunity I have at work or during travel to go over my Trello boards and examine how I’m doing on my goals (which each board contains goals) and I’ll work on my plot and character outlines.
Creating a Trello Board
Creating a board is super simple.
I don’t want to show the contents of my active boards, so for the sake of this blog post, let’s start a sample board.
But sample board is kind of boring, so let’s make a fictitious story board. We’ll use one of my scrapped titles: Someone Else’s Dream.
Add it to one, and it’s automatically on the other.
Now let’s enter the board and start fleshing out this novel.
The first card I always add when I’m starting to organize my novel is the first little spark of the idea. I know the heading says synopsis, but that might not always be the first card I add, especially if it is a brand new idea and I haven’t actually made a synopsis. I never want to forget the first thing that sparked the idea, because, in my opinion, no matter how much the book changes from inception to publication, that little nugget of inspiration is the truth of the novel.
For instance, the idea that sparked Alabama Rain was a little line of dialogue from the voice of an elderly lady. “Besides, don’t God’ner the Devil want me.”
Therefore, that is the first card on my Alabama Rain board. I never want to forget the surge of energy those few words gave me, and it comes back to me whenever I read it.
(Bonus points if you guessed what I’m watching in the background by reading the character names…for the seventh time.)
Did you notice how my existing Trello boards all have different pictures for their thumbnails?
Once I have really narrowed down the feel of the book, I change the background image from the default color to an image in keeping with the tone I’m going for. It’s just one more little way I can get slip myself into the mood for writing.
See where it says menu on the right-hand side? Click that and then you can decorate!
Once I start getting ideas for scenes, I add a list for scenes and I start adding in cards with very loose ideas for them. The great thing about Trello is that you can drag and drop them to rearrange them.
Let’s take a closer look at the menu bar.
If you’ve been saying to yourself that you can more-or-less do all of this in Scrivener so far, pay attention. Now, I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve toyed around with Scrivener, so I apologize if I have missed something, but these Power-Ups are something you cannot do in the popular writing app.
There are an astonishing number of power-ups you can integrate right into your Trello Boards.
If you are using the free-version, as I suspect you are, you are limited to only one power-up per board. The paid-versions do allow you to use as many as you want.
There are power-ups for just about everything, from calendars to MailChimp and so much in-between.
For the sake of this demonstration, let’s set up a calendar that will help you track your word counts and writing goals.
Once you enable the Calendar, you need to assign yourself some goals. Create a list of word count goals.
When you click on the goal, it will open up this menu:
Once you’ve added in a due date, it will show up in your calendar. I will go ahead and set several due dates so you can see what it looks like.
It’s a good thing those are fictitious word count goals! 😉
The cool thing is that you can set your calendar to give you reminders. In fact, earlier, while I was writing on this very blog post I got a reminder from Trello that I had a blog post due tomorrow.
There have been a few Thursday blog posts that wouldn’t have been written if it weren’t for these Trello reminders.
Also, thanks for all the Instagram love. ♥♥♥
Beyond keeping up with word counts and scenes, Trello is great for keeping absolutely everything about your book in one place. As you’re writing and plotting and planning, it’s a great idea to start planning for how to market your book, so I always keep a marketing list in the story’s board.
I am a huge fan of having a book trailer, so let’s look at how I might go about planning for this book trailer. If your thing is getting into bookstores, or printing up bookmarks, coffee cups, pens, or anything at all, this will be helpful.
Notice how I added a due date, and added reminders such as which website to check out? These are things I would likely forget if I just scratched out “Book Trailer” in my planner.
One of my favorite things about these cards is the Checklist feature I’ve circled in the picture above.
What I use this for the most is when I want to do a giveaway. (Hint, one will be announced really soon.)
I will list everything I want to include in the giveaway and check them off as I acquire them.
I hope this has convinced you to at least give Trello a try.
You can find the app in your App Store, or you can visit the Trello website to sign up.
If you already use Trello, I’d love to hear any hints, tips, or tricks you use to maximize your organizational experience, and if you haven’t tried it but this post has inspired you to do so, please let me know in the comments!
***I get absolutely nothing if you sign up for an account. This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own. I am a long-time user of this service, and am only sharing it with you because I believe in it.***
That’s all I have for you today! Don’t forget to tune in next week!
Happy organizing and happy writing!