WordPress Plugins for Writers: Part 5 – Just for Writers
So far in this series, I’ve talked about plugins that would be useful for just about any WordPress site. Today, I want to talk about a few plugins that are designed specifically for the needs of writers. The first three deal with formatting, allowing you to easily produce article series (like this one), a table of contents for longer pieces, and footnotes. The second three deal with the workaday life of writers, tracking submissions, daily word counts, and the status of your various projects.
There are lots of reasons you might want to break work up into series: long posts tend to be a little overwhelming; you might want to take the time to develop ideas over days or even weeks; or maybe you want to write a serialized story. In Series adds options to your “Write” page to create new series or to add a post to an existing series. It will also add links to the other parts of the series into the post itself, allowing readers to easily move from one post in a series to the next, no matter how many posts there are in between.
If series aren’t your thing, or are inappropriate for the writing you do (maybe you post long academic essays), you can help your readers by providing a table of contents with the Table of Contents Generator plugin. TOC generator scans your posts and creates TOC entries for everything flagged as a header (with h2, h3, h4, etc. tags). You can put the TOC wherever you want (although the top of your post would seem the appropriate place) by putting the TOC code <!–TOC–> tag in the body of your post (you have to use the “Code” view for this).
If you’re posting long academic essays, you probably have footnotes. Wp-footnotes makes adding footnotes easy. Wherever you want to insert a footnote, just type the content of the footnote in double parentheses, like this:
Lots of people use footnotes ((It’s a beauty way to go!)), and they want an easy way to do it.
Wp-footnotes will replace the text in double parentheses with the appropriate superscript numeral, and throw the text to the bottom. It will also allow your readers to click the footnote marker to go straight to the footnote, and then click the “back” link to go back to where they were in the text.
If you’re the kind of writer who feels like sharing your writing life with the world, Gnomebox has several plugins just for you. Daily Word Count allows you to keep a running log of how many words you’ve written each day, and place a marker either in the sidebar of your site or in daily posts telling your readers. Lots of writers do this to keep themselves motivated — knowing that an audience is watching helps them stick to their daily goals better than if they only had to be accountable to themselves.
The Daily Word Count plugin integrates into another Gnomebox plugin, the Writing Projects Plugin, which creates a new tab under “Manage” where you can list the title, description, estimated word count, and other information about all of your projects. Again, you can post this information easily to your site either in the sidebar or inside of posts. A great way to help keep your readers informed of how the next book or screenplay is coming along.
Finally, the Submission Tracker plugin does… well, can you guess? It creates another tab under “Manage” where you can track submissions, and again, you can post the status of each submission to your site. This would be useful as a way to give your readers a peek “behind the scenes” at the nuts-and-bolts stuff of the writing business.
There are thousands of other plugins out there — chances are, if you can think of something you’d like your site to do, someone’s thought of it and written a plugin to do it. The WordPress Plugin Directory is the place to start, although not everything manages to find its way into the official directory. What plugins are other people using that they want their writing colleagues to know about?