The Professional Indie Author Toolkit


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School is fast approaching, for some it may have already started! As an Indie Author I’m doubly excited. This year I’ll not only be doing the full-time writing thing, but I’ll also begin doing some school visits with my middle grade book.

For the first time since I started writing for the purpose of publishing, I will finally have the full school day to work solely on my writing. This scares me a little bit, I occasionally have issues with self-discipline and the internet (surprise, surprise). But with the help of a few tools to keep me on track I think I’ll be able to manage.

If you’re looking at the beginning of school as the beginning of your ‘work’ cycle I hope these tools will help you too.

RescueTime– An app that tracks your time usage while on your computer. Spending more time ‘researching’ on Google than typing new words in the manuscript? This guy will tell you. I am thinking this little tattle tale is going to help me learn how to divide my time between the internet and the blank page.

Stopwatch timer – A number of these timers exist for free download online. I have one called Xnote Stopwatch which lets me set a time and then play a wav or mp3 file when time is up.  I can also use this when doing revision and allow it to count out the time for me.

Spreadsheet – Ah, the dumping ground of data. I plan to put my word count for drafting and my time count for revision in here. This is not only necessary for me to see the time I’m putting in, but I bet it’s also important when tax time comes around. If I’m going to do this job full time I have to be good about keeping track of all that time.

Scrivener – Ah, Scrivener, there are so many ways in which I’m not using you. I am, however, using you for the heavy lifting of manuscript creation. I’ll learn your other values yet. Promise. Hugs, kisses. See you soon Scrivener, my friend.


What tools do you use to keep yourself accountable? Please share, I’m going to need all the help I can get this year!!!


Posted in Indie Life, Writer's Tools Tagged with: , ,
15 comments on “The Professional Indie Author Toolkit
  1. For some reason this is an area I haven’t struggled with. I have my goals for the day and I usually meet them. I could use take internet breaks less often but it never causes so much of a distraction that I don’t get my work done. But those tools sound good. Thanks for sharing!

    • ansha says:

      In the past I’ve been able to stay on task, but lately it’s been more of a challenge. So hopefully with these tools I’m setting myself up for success. 🙂

  2. Hart Johnson says:

    Oh, I envy you getting a bunch of fresh new writing time when school starts! For me, summer is easier–my teens are out later so evenings are quieter. Good list of tools! With my day job, I tend to manage time with sprints. I can get sucked into that social media void, too, but sprints give me discipline.

    • ansha says:

      Summer is quite a challenge with little ones…they seem to stay awake so much later in the summer. No writing morning noon or night! So this fall will be my reprieve. We’ll see how it goes. Good luck with your writing time this fall!

  3. All good tips. I like Scrivener for plotting because of their cool virtual corkboard. Yes, I’m looking forward to my boys going back to college and whatnot, to get back to my typically grueling writing schedule.

  4. At the write-in, I spent some time setting up a writing spreadsheet to organize my writing, starting in sept. looking forward to the new school year! More so that ever before. I am so ready to write!!! I think I use all these tools except scrivener. But I’m thinking about getting that soon!!

    • ansha says:

      Scrivener is one of those apps i can’t write without. Prior to that i used yWriter. Writing non-sequentially is challenging without a tool like Scrivener. Highly reccomend.

  5. Alan Tucker says:

    I need that “Rescue Time” one! The Internet is much too shiny and distracting at times. 🙂 Great post!

  6. Hi, Ansha,
    Thanks for those links. I tend to download all sorts of software that I never use. I’ve heard good things about Scrivener, but haven’t tried it.

  7. James Pailly says:

    Scrivener sounds interesting. I may have to look into that. I have a bit of an organizational problem where I write notes on scrap paper and end up with a stack of scrap paper several inches thick.

    • ansha says:

      Scrivener is definitely worth a looksee. It has a corkboard, where you can put all those ‘notes’. Besides project notes you can also upload pictures, keep track of word count, character/per scene, a ton more stuff that I have yet to learn too. I believe they still do a 30 day trial period and then after that it’s like 30$. Good Luck James!

  8. I’ve discovered that I don’t do well when I have the entire day to write. I wind up procrastinating and not getting a lot done. Instead, I’ve started breaking up the day: write in the morning, research in the afternoon, etc. Not having a blank slate of a day in front of me helps a lot!

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