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Five ways to use Trello if you're a writer or an editor

Five ways to use Trello if you're a writer or an editor

If you’ve already read some of my posts, you’ll know that I think Trello is an incredible tool. I use it for pretty much everything, including to manage my to-do lists, to manage Hedera clients, and for my general brain-dumps. I also use it for many of my writing- and editing-related tasks.

Trello’s flexibility means that you can bend it to your needs. Its simplicity is a breath of fresh air after dabbling with more complex platforms. And its design means that you can easily visualise your lists, tasks, and information.

With all these qualities, it shouldn’t surprise you when I say that if you’re a writer or an editor, you can use Trello to improve your processes. Below are just five suggestions.

@@Not sure how to use Trello? Here are my tips for writers & editors@@


As a style sheet

If you’re a writer or an editor and you don’t already have a style sheet template, as well as a style sheet you keep for your general writing purposes, you’re missing out on one of the most useful tools in the writing toolbelt. We have an amazing style sheet template that you can download here, but Trello is another great option.

Using Trello to store your stylistic choices is particularly useful if you:

  • work remotely—you can access your style sheet from anywhere, as long as you have access to the internet (having the Trello mobile app helps)
  • update your style sheet a lot—adding entries is as easy as adding a new card
  • work with a team—you can add your team members to the board containing your stylistic choices, and they can use the style sheet, add to it, or comment as they need to.

You can see an example of a style sheet board below.

If you already have a style sheet or style guide outside of Trello, and it’s difficult to edit (e.g., it’s an InDesign document), or you need to have clear versions, you can use Trello to track the changes you need to make in the next update.

You can see an example of a list for this purpose below. This is the one we use for updates to our style guide.

Once you’ve completed the update, you can simply archive all cards in the list and start again.

@@Using Trello to store your style sheet@@


For your structural edits

Structural edits can be complicated. You need to keep track of characters, plot, setting, and about a million other things. You need a place to record your comments, problems, and thoughts.

Here’s how I managed my last structural edit through Trello: I had a list for each chapter, so I could keep track of what was happening in the plot; then I had a list for the characters—the list contained a card for each character, which in turn contained information about them in comments; I also had a list for the setting, miscellaneous thoughts or questions, and one for sections of the structural report that I was writing as I was going.

You can see this board below. (Note: I've changed the names and some of the story details.)

Because of Trello’s search feature, you can also find information easily without having to click through every card.


To store resources & research

As someone who works with words, I’d feel safe betting that you read a lot. Do you have a place to store the links to all those articles, and the notes and thoughts to go with those links? Trello is the perfect place. If you read a lot of online articles and watch a lot of webinars like I do, you’ll be glad to finally have somewhere central to dump all this information. Create a board for your reading and research. Using the label system may help you here, too. In our shared Trello board for research and reading, Charlotte and I use tags to track which of us has read certain articles.

You can see my personal reading and research board below.

You may also find it useful to keep boards or lists for particular projects. If you have a board for each project, you can create lists for all the different bits you need to research and complete. This is how I’m organising the information I need for the grammar workbook I’m currently researching and writing. If you have multiple projects on the go, you could just store them all in the same board and have different lists for each project. You could use comments and labels on the individual cards to attach information and assign status.


For your editorial planning

I love using Trello for planning Hedera’s blog calendar. The two main reasons for this are that it gives me a place to dump all the random ideas I have and it means that Charlotte and I can track who is writing about what and not get our blog posts mixed up, or end up writing about the same thing.

We use our blog board to track the progress of our articles. You can see this board below. I've blurred out some of the ideas (mostly because they don't make all that much sense when we first write them down!). We insert ideas in the left-most column, then move them across as we work on them. Every so often, we archive the cards in the 'published' column.

If you’re going to use Trello for editorial planning, one useful feature is going to be the calendar add-on. You can enable this in the menu on the right, and then add due dates within each card.

@@How to use Trello for editorial planning@@


As a journal

If you’re a writer or an editor, you’re probably having a lot of thoughts and ideas. You probably, like me, lie in bed until two in the morning, tossing and turning, with a bundle of ideas or thoughts keeping you awake. Since we now all have our phones permanently attached to our right hands, storing these ideas and thoughts in Trello is not only convenient, but also safe—because Trello is online, you’re not going to lose your ideas if you drop your notebook in the toilet, or fling it out of a bus in frustration. When you have an idea or a thought you want to keep for later, simply open up the Trello app.

If you’re going to use Trello in this way, I definitely recommend making this board a favourite, so it appears at the top of your Trello dashboard. That way, if you’re half asleep when you’re writing down your thoughts, at least you won’t have to scroll through twenty boards just to find your journal board. 

Do you use Trello to help you with your writing and editing? Jump into the comments and let us know how. We’d love to hear from you.

@@Five ways to use Trello if you're a writer or an editor@@

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