How I Use Google Drive to Write My Novels

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Writing a book is like tackling a pimple. You assume you can pop it in a pinch. Then you discover it’s one of those under-the-skin buggers that you should have left alone.

Writing, already a tough pimple to pop, is made tougher if you don’t have the right tools. Or mindset. 

I used to be a pimple poppers (Re: time-waster). 

I’ve squandered my time. 

I’ve taken a year to write a book that should’ve taken me three months  (by ‘year’ I’m being generous with myself). 

I’ve also authored a book in three weeks while under deadline and it was the best book I’ve ever written. 

It all boils down to laziness.

I am a lazy writer.

Heck, I’m a lazy person.

If it was socially acceptable to nap all day, I’d hit the snooze button 24/7. 

If push came to shove, I can crank out a novel in less than a month. 

It can be done. 

It just requires (shudder) hard work. 

If you’re reading this then you, like me, have the potential to write better and faster.

And yet you don’t.

You’re the hot-shot hare, skipping past the tortoise. You’ve won a few races, reaped a medal or two, and feel like you deserve a break.

I’m not here to guilt-trip you into buckling down and (shudder) work harder. I’m here to help you work smarter so you can take that nap… 

Laziness is my superpower. It’s because I am this lazy that I’ve honed all my energy into trying out tech tools and life hacks so I won’t have to work harder.

Over a series of short posts (emphasis on short because… you know… lazy), I will unveil my not-so-secret tips and tricks to make your writing journey easier and your naps more carefree. 

Google Drive is your friend

My first tip is simple, so it baffles me when I see so many writers drag their heels at diving into a Cloud based writing app.

You might already use Google Docs as we speak, in which case disregard this bit of advice and enroll in the advanced class. 

This is for writers who still write their novels on Microsoft Word. Or worse, the trial version of MS Word. 

This is for authors who have a Yahoo or (shudder) an AOL email account.

This is for the writer who sends her critique partners her cozy cat mystery as a .docx and expects her saintly critique partner to read through 300+ pages in one sitting. 



Sign up for a Gmail account (free) which nets you:

-Immediate access to Google Drive (free)

-The entire Google Cloud-based ecosystem

-Mobility. Who has time to read your 300+ page cat manuscript in one sitting? 

Mobility is freedom.

With your work automatically saved to the cloud, you’re free to jump from laptop to phone to tablet. 

Butt-in-chair has no meaning when you’re free to write in a cafe or at the beach.

For writers with day jobs you not-so-secretly want to quit, you can write at work! Not that I’m advocating writing on your boss’s time. 


If you are nimble enough, you can dash off a few pages of your next bestseller in between TPS reports and none would be the wiser. 

Working on writing is still work, right? 

Pro-tip: Invest in a blue tooth keyboard

I have an ancient one that I stuff in my purse. It’s perfect for sneaking in a few paragraphs during lunch breaks or airport layovers.

Syncing is touch and go, but it’s a lifesaver for turning your phone into a personal mini laptop. 

Real-time syncing is a godsend. 

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you can collaborate with your critique partner/beta reader in real time?

Wouldn’t your life be so much easier if you can implement your editor’s critiques sooner rather than later?

Do you enjoy waiting for your marked up manuscript to return via an email attachment? 

Do you really want to:

a) wait for an email 

b) write an email? 

All these pesky tasks squanders time. Time better spent penning your next bestseller. 

I’ve used Google Drive for a wide array of publishing related needs. Below are a mix tape of my tips and tricks. 

Make a new doc for every chapter.

Working Title: Love in a Time of Monsters #2

This may seem like a strange approach to organization, but hear me out.

Easy bookmarking. 

-Jump straight into chapter 15 without scrolling through 300+ pages of your manuscript.

-Give your chapters a temporary on-the-nose title for easy plot previews.

-Make it easier for your critique partner or editor to jump straight in.


-You’re in for a 20 minute COPY PASTE marathon when it’s time to merge your manuscript together. Personally, I don’t have a problem with this as it naturally segues into working with Scrivener (blog post for another time). 

Plot in Google Sheets 

Organization is a must when it comes to writing a novel. You can write as inspiration strikes the first time around, but when writing is a business and you’re elbow deep in plots, you need to keep track of your story, cast of characters, and word count. 

If you’re an indie author like yours truly, a longer book is a costly book.

Love in a Time of Monsters Sequel

It will cost you in:

-Writing time

-Copyedits (copy editors charge by word)

-Production (printing and digital delivery fees).

You realize it’s more important than ever to keep track of your word count. Much like MS Excel, Google Sheets keeps you organized and your novel lean. 

Storyboard in Google Slides

I find Slides useful in helping me lay out the nuts and bolts of a chapter. You can use it to sort out big picture scenarios, plot the micro details of each chapter, or create character bios. The sky’s the limit. 

Spoiler Alert: Love in a Time of Monsters Storyboard cira 2012

There are probably loads of creative things one can do with Google Drive and I’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg. Probably because it’s lunch time and I’m now hungry on top of lazy… a lethal combination. 

Got Google Drive tips and tricks I haven’t covered here? 

Illuminate us in the comments!

*Requisite ass-covering: this is NOT a sponsored post. I’m just a fan of Google Drive and am (unfortunately) not being compensated. I am open to sponsorships, brand ambassadorships, a free sticker… Google, call me. 

*There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. If you click and buy something you don’t need, I earn a few cents to spend in the candy store. 

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