5 Ways Authors Can Use TextExpander For a Faster Workflow
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
In case you're new to my blog, hello my name is Adell and I'm an organizational-workflow freak. If there's a trick for making my business life easier, you'd better believe imma use it. If that trick is free, even better. However, sometimes, I'll spring for a paid product. Programs like Scrivener and ProWriting Aid, for example. As of most recently, I've added TextExpander to the mix.
Why? Well, because I started a new book and the characters in this fictional world use Ancient Greek on occasion. An occasion frequent enough to trip me up when I'm trying to write faster and turn out higher word counts. The hunt and peck method doesn't jive with my workflow, so I went in search of a tool that would use hotkeys or abbreviations to correctly type the words for me... accents and all.
Using hotkeys or abbreviations to... well... expand text... is precisely what TextExpander does.
Once I added the application to my Mac (Never fear, they have it for Windows too! They don't, however, have it for Andriod phones.) I quickly realized the functionality of this program goes way beyond expanding small words and began to envision a world of text-expanding possibilities.
For the sake of simplicity, I'm narrowing it down to five life-changing, workflow-bettering (is that a word?) tips. Let's get to it, shall we?
Tip 1: Obscure Words or Other-Worldly Lexicon
Translation: Words that are challenging to type.
The dialect of a character who speaks a different language, for example. In the series I'm currently working on (18+ romance) my characters use some Ancient Greek terminology. Our main female lead's companions are called déō doúlos. Before TextExpander, I had my fair share of times when I misspelled it or placed an incorrect accent. Now, I simply type in "deodou" and TextExpander does the rest for me.
Another example would be names or language for a fictional race. Author Marissa Farrar has an alien planet called Tradrych in her Tradrych Strain series (18+ romance) with alien names, Nadeusz and Mikotaj. I imagine after lots of practice, she can write those titles without issue. However, with TextExpander authors can simply create an abbreviation. Perhaps "%trad" for Tradrych, or "@nz" for Nadeusz.
How about in Maribel Fox's Lupine Bay series (18+ romance), where she has a Polynesian character named Kū-ka-ili-moku? Good gravy, can you imagine typing that out 100+ times over the course of a book? With TextExpander something so simple as "kuka" could be used as the trigger that expands the entire name, dashes and accents included!
Tip 2: Blurbs and Bios!
Above we covered challenging words... but how about paragraphs of material? Yes, entire paragraphs. Paragraphs with linebreaks and everything!
Check out a few of the text expansion snippets I use:
Content: My entire bio!
Triggers: hrg1blurb, hrg2blurb, etc.
Content: Each back-of-book blurb for the books in my Her Reverse Genus series!
**bonus** Trigger: post#1, post#2, post#3, etc.
Content: Facebook takeover posts!
Those of you heavily involved in the Facebook Groups takeover scene will appreciate this one!
How amazing is it that when I type a simple key combination, an entire write-up appears on the page? Mind. Blown.
Tip 3: Personal Information and Follow Links
The personal information I'm talking about here is your name, email, business/shipping address, perhaps a few different email signatures. Things of that sort. For the record, I wouldn't suggest secure information like credit cards or passwords. But anything else you find yourself typing out on a regular basis, absolutely!
Where I personally found this most useful, however, is all those dreaded follow links! Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Group, Facebook Page, Pinterest... you get the drift.
Here are a few examples of the triggers I use and what happens when I type them:
I think you get the idea. Also... click on those links and stalk—I mean, follow—me ;)
Oh, but guess what? How about ONE trigger for the entire list? Yep, it does that too.
@all = BOOM!
Tip 4: Buy Links
Authors oftentimes use link-customizing services like Books2Read or smartURL. On a basic level, link customizing at least helps us remember the web address so we can more easily share it with potential readers. However, it can still be quite the hassle to type it out a dozen times a day. Or, in some cases, pull up our device's clipboard, copy, and paste the link.
Now that we're on tip four, I have a feeling you've caught on to the beauty of TextExpander and you've likely pieced together where I'm headed with this tip. The very first group of snippets I saved when I downloaded this application were all my buy links. As of the date of this blog post, I have five published books. I share purchase links every. single. day. Now that I have TextExpander all I need to type is "$hrg1" — which is short for "Buy Her Reverse Genus Book 1," of course. The same pattern goes for the other books in my series: $hrg2, $hrg3, $hrg4.
Genius, isn't it?
Tip 5: Hashtags
Hashtags are still going strong and still gaining popularity in social media circles. On Instagram, you can use up to thirty hashtags per post (this total is divided between the caption and the comments.) On Twitter, you can use as many hashtags that will fit within the tweet's 280 character limit. Lastly, while hashtags aren't used as frequently on Facebook, the option is still there, and your limit is essentially endless.
So, why not create hashtag groups and assign each group its own snippet/abbreviation on TextExpander?
How about "#bks" for a book-related grouping? When I type in that abbreviation, all these hashtags fill in for me: #booklover #bookworm #books #reading #amreading #bookaddict #bookchat #fiction #greatreads #bookworld #booknerd #bibliophile #reader #igbooks #booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #bookcommunity #bookstagram #bookaholic
You could go wild with this! Romance books grouping, fitness grouping, food grouping. So many possibilities!
Disclaimer: As stated in a previous tip, TextExpander is not Andriod compatible. Check out Texpand for your mobile device.
There you have it! Five ways authors can use TextExpander to improve their workflow!
I love the quote "Work hard to make things easier," by Pete Carril. As an independent author and business owner, my main workflow goal has always been to find easy ways to do all the hard tasks. We're often spread too thin as the CEO, President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Every-Hat-Wearer of our businesses. And being spread too thin more times than not leads to burnout.
For that reason, I hope in some small way, this and my other blog posts help lessen the weight of the business-writing balance for my fellow indie authors.
Happy writing and working!