A Smartphone: The Latest Addition to this Author’s Toolbox

When I first became serious about becoming a children’s book writer, there were many items I picked up along the way to help me learn the craft and to get organized.  Among the first of these items were various books with words like “Dummies” and “Complete Idiot” in their titles.  Along the way, I also added a dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar guides.  All of these items helped me avoid making the obvious mistakes that would make an editor groan and reach for a form rejection letter.  Doing my homework and using the right tools definitely made a difference. 
Now that I am published, my focus has shifted to learning how to promote myself.  Because let’s face it…what good is spending all the time and effort involved in creating a book and seeing it to publication, if nobody knows that you have written it?  To aid me in this endeavor, I have found a new “high tech” ally, my Smartphone.
In addition to my writing, I also have a full time day job and a family.  My free time is definitely in short supply.  This is where my Smartphone has become my time-management savior.  I commute every day by train into New York City for my day job.  I used to spend this time reading the newspaper or staring out the window.  Now the train has become my mobile office.  I answer emails, check social media sites, do research for my next book, or even write blog posts.  In short, I’ve been able to squeeze another productive hour out of my day that I didn’t have before.
I have apps on my phone for all my email and social media sites.  I have shortcuts on it to my online critique groups.  I have a word processing app to proof my work and make quick revisions.  And of course, I have downloaded a few games to play because I need to have some fun.  I do try to apply discipline to this new found hour of productivity though.  It’s just as easy to waste time on a smart phone as it is on a computer. 
So if you happen to be traveling into New York City on a commuter train and you see me intensely focused on my Smartphone screen, you may be seeing my creative process at work as I proofread my latest manuscript.  Then again, there’s always the chance that I’ll just be playing Spider Solitaire.

Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY.   He is the author of seven children’s picture books.  Kevin’s poetry has been published in the collection, An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-Tingling Poems. 
To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at www.kevinmcnamee.com or his blog at www.kevinmcnameechildrensauthor.blogspot.com.  


T. Forehand said...

Great advice, I had to laugh because the books with "dummies" etc was my first purchase too, and I still feel like I learn everyday. Hopefully some day it will all pay off like it has for you. Congratulations on your books.

elysabeth said...


Great idea to utilize your "idle" time for productivity in your writing career. Two other things you should have on your smartphone - an ereader for catching up on the latest trends in your genre and a Square app (you can go to the website, www.squareup.com and sign up for an account and they will send you a free square) so that when you are on that train or at an event you can take credit cards. Paypal is also coming out with their own card reader, and right now there is a "be put on our list to be informed when the reader is available" list.

I'm still looking to upgrade my phone so I can add these things to my toolbox but for now I'll just have to keep on plugging away and hope to see a turn in my funds soon - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery

Karen Cioffi said...

Kevin, great reminders of how we can use our otherwise 'wasted' time to productive time.

I read The Writer and Writer's Digest, or writing and marketing ebooks on my Kindle during commuting, doctor office waiting time, and such.

I'm behind and don't have an iPhone or Smartphone yet. Maybe next year. It's sure make things a bit easier.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Kevin McNamee said...

Thank you Terri, I'm sure all the hard work will pay off.

Thanks for the tip Elysabeth. I heard about the square, but I like that PayPal will be coming out with a card reader since I already have an account there

Thank you Karen. Now that I have a smart phone, I don't know what I would do without it. It really is a time saver.

SP said...

Wonderful post. I recently acquired an iphone (with Siri) and am still learning how to use it. I had no idea there were word processing apps. Thanks for sharing.

Margaret Fieland said...

Kevin, great idea for commuters. Any advice for us poor souls who commute by car?

Magdalena Ball said...

Great advice. I've resisted a smartphone because I didn't want to be distracted from work by calls and emails, but you've shown me another side to it - we all have lots of downtime waiting for sporting events, on the train, in the car...your post has caused me to rethink.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great advice and I agree it is important to have fun. We all need balance and squeezing more work into our day if it is in our "fun" time or "relaxation" time is not necessary better. Squeezing more work into "wasted" time is productive! Though I do like to read the newspaper.

Kevin McNamee said...

Thank you all, I'm glad that you found this post useful. I'm sorry Maggie, but I haven't found any useful apps for the car commuter. However, when I travel by car, I like to listen to Audiobooks. I find it a productive use of my time.

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