I’ve been talking about productivity apps for writers all month long. I’ve even shared some of the best productivity apps that I use. This week, I want to go more in-depth about how I use the Trello app to keep track of my writing projects.
What Is The Trello App?
Trello is a kanban-style list-making app. It’s based on the web though there is a mobile app that can be used for Apple and Android phones.
There are plenty of productivity apps and project management tools, but Trello is seriously one of the best.
And no, this post isn’t sponsored or anything. I love Trello, and it’s super useful for many of my creative projects.
What Can Trello Be Used For?
Trello can be used for anything you want to use it for. For example, if you need to track your finances or other housekeeping things, you can use Trello.
If you need to keep a genetic to-do list, track what homework assignments you need to do, or the like, you can do all of that.
The best part is that you can have up to ten boards on the free version. So, if you have multiple projects, you can keep them separate on different boards.
I use Trello for a few different things. The Merry Writer Podcast is one of them. In addition, Trello allows you to invite people to workspaces (which hold your boards) or one or two specific boards.
Working on projects together is easier than ever.
I even use Trello to help me keep track of admin work and content for my websites, such as this one and Pet Simplified.
One big project – or projects, I should say – I use it for is my creative writing work.
How To Use Trello To Track Your Writing Projects
Writing a book is hard. I’m not just talking about the writing and editing processes, either. I mean the project as a whole, start to finish, pre-writing to publication, and beyond.
Note-taking is happening no matter what stage you’re in during your writing process. Whether you outline or not, I’m sure we all keep a list of editing notes, research, major plot points (and plot holes), and more.
Also, if you’re working on multiple books at once, how do you track the various stages you’re in for each one?
Trello is excellent for keeping track of everything for your books, whether individual or all of your writing projects.
Here’s how I use the Trello app for PC to keep track of it all.
Include Each Book As Its Own Card
You can make as many lists as you want when you create a board. Then, in each list, you create cards.
So, I have a board titled “Creative Writing” and a master list of all the writing projects I’m working on and want to work on in the future.
It’s all of my book ideas in one place.
The first list is called the “master list,” where I store all of my books – standalone, series, novellas, etc. Each card under that list is a book.
For example, I have a card titled “George Florence and the Perfect Alibi,” which is book one of my cozy mystery series. In addition, I have a card for the other books in the series, along with plenty of other book ideas.
I also have a card that’s a “book timeline template.” You can make specific card templates that you can copy and recreate if you need to make a similar card for a few different things.
Now, this is where the other lists come in.
Break Down Your Writing Process
For every list after that, I create one for every stage of the writing process. For example, my lists include:
- Research & Planning
- Outline & Set-Up
- Revise & Rewrite
- Beta Readers & Editor
- Format & Marketing
Depending on what stage you’re currently in with your book, you can simply pick up the card and drag it to whatever list you need it to be on.
This way, if I’m working on multiple projects, I can visually see where I am with each one. In addition, it helps me prioritize which ones to work on first if I get stuck.
Use Checklists And Labels
I use checklists and labels for each card, as well. The checklists are where the card template from earlier comes in.
I have a template for cards with a timeline checklist for each book. It breaks down the writing stages further.
- Writing (drafts one, two, and three)
- Finding and hiring a book cover artist
- Finding and hiring an editor
- Finding beta readers
- Self-editing process
- And more
Not everything will pan out the way you want it to, but I try my best to time things out. I work backward.
I choose a publication date to aim for. So, what do I need to do before then, and how long will each step take?
Every book is different, so the template has a checklist with the stages in order. But I can then go in and edit the checklist and add due dates to each item. For example, “hire a book editor by October 2022.”
I also use labels, which help visually as well. Unfortunately, the labels get stuck to the top of the card. So, when you’re looking at all your lists at once, you can see the cards are color-coded.
I have a list called “beta readers & editors.” But which one is it? Is the book with the beta readers, or is it past that stage and with the editor?
I have two labels set – dark blue for beta readers and light blue for the editor. When my book is done with beta readers, I remove the dark blue label and slap the light blue one on.
Why I Love Using Trello
Of course, there’s a lot more you can do with Trello. When writing this article, I use the free version and the bare minimum of the tools. But it works for me.
I love using Trello because, even though I use Scrivener and other methods to track my notes for my books, Trello allows me to see the big picture.
Will I get all of those novels written? I have no idea. But the thought is there, and it’s cool to see all of my ideas together in one place.
Not to mention that I can have Trello desktop app up in my browser while I work. Also, I have the Trello app on my phone, so I can add to it when I’m out and about.
And it syncs together, so whatever you do on the app will be there on the computer when you return to it later.
One Tool To Organize Them All
As I mentioned earlier, there are many productivity tools. Trello allows you to do the bare minimum, but there’s much more to it if you feel like paying.
If you’re interested in seeing what Trello has to off, then you can sign up using my referral link. This link will give you a month free of the premium version rather than signing up for a 14-day free trial.
On the other hand, Ari and I discussed it on The Merry Writer Podcast if you want to hear more about using Trello for your writing. Give a listen here or watch the video below.
Rachel Poli is an indie author, podcaster, and content writer working on her debut cozy mystery novel.
Although she favors mystery, Rachel is a multi-genre author with too many ideas and characters in her head, often experimenting with short stories and flash fiction.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, organizing something, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.