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What is it exactly?
If you’re like most people, you’ve got a million word documents (or some other word processing software) on your computer. Why? It’s because when you find something you need to keep, you make a new document and save it somewhere on your hard drive, so you can go back to it later.
This works, but there’s a better way.
We’re going to look at a time saving tool that’s done wonders for me
I’ll admit, right off the bat, that when you see it, you’ll think it’s ugly, but that’s because it’s all about function. The design is secondary. If you use a Mac, you’ll definitely get hung up on the fact that it’s not pretty, but forget about it. A program like this is exactly what you need.
Why you should consider it
I love this program. It’s done a lot of good things for me so I want to share it. I’m not getting paid for this, and I’ve never even talked to the guy who made it (his name is Simon Haynes by the way).
It’s free. There aren’t ads or anything, but if you try it and like it, I’d suggest making a small donation, say $5. I’d love to give Simon some incentive to keep working on it.
Here’s why you should consider this:
- You can review your stored info with only 2 mouse clicks.
- Quickly add new information
- Consolidate all your info in one place.
- It creates auto backups
- Simple to learn.
Why I love it
I came across yWriter when I was writing my book, Diamonds and Silver . It’s novel writing software, and it’s one of the reasons why I finished my book.
I was looking for an alternative to writing my whole book in Word. Things were going well. I’d outlined my book and was filling in the blanks. I didn’t write the book from start to finish. What would happen is I would get a brainwave about a section, so I’d find that section and work on it.
When I first started writing, I had a huge Word file that I had to scroll through to find the spot where I wanted to write.
With yWriter I was able to break things down by chapter, and then by scene. That way, when inspiration struck, I could easily find the exact spot I wanted to write on and start typing right away.
The Speed Advantage
By using yWriter, I was able to create a structure that let me get anywhere in my book with one click and a double click. This simple tool helped me get my book finished. It took away much of my frustration.
Within a few days of using yWriter, I realized that I could use the same system for my other files. I took all the information from my plethora of Word files and transferred them all over to yWriter.
I even had my goals on here for a while, but I found using mind mapping software was more efficient for that. Everything else that’s important goes into yWriter.
It’s a database, with a twist
yWriter is a database, but it uses flat files to record the information. Most database programs, require that you have that program to open the files, every time you want to use them. Not yWriter. It saves each file as an .RTF file or Rich Text Format. If there’s ever a problem, you can simply use any text editor to open any of the files.
Whenever I get a piece of useful information, I just go into the folder where I keep my databases, open the right one, and quickly enter the info. As you know, I’m constantly telling you that any productivity tool needs to be easy to use. If' it’s not easy to use, you WON’T use it. I’ve been using yWriter since 2008 and I still love it.
Open up a new scene and type your ideas into it. That way it captures your ideas, but you can always go back and flesh it out later.
A good friend of mine, Greg Gazin (AKA The Gadget Guy), has authored thousands of articles. He would always tell me to make backups of my content in case something happened, or I ever wanted to go back to a previous revision.
That’s way too much work for me, but with yWriter it’s easy. Every time you open a project, it automatically creates a backup of the entire file and saves it. Some of my files have tons of backup files, but I know that if I ever need anything, I can always go back to find something I’ve inadvertently deleted.
The backups are tiny too, because they’re mostly just text, so you won’t even notice the files on your computer.
The bottom line is that it works great
There are alternatives out there too, but this one works for me. It’s not the only thing I use, but it’s a big part of my content creation and storage system. When I combine yWriter with tools like mind mapping software and online tools like Evernote, I feel I have a very robust system.
Feel Free to let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to let me know if you think there’s something better out there. I’m always open to alternatives.