I've been working on a long project for some time, and now that revisions are in order I decided to try out Mariner Software's StoryMill program I'd first heard mentioned in the end pages of a David Levithan novel. StoryMill, which is only for macs, comes with a free 30-uses demo although it's also quite affordably priced.
What makes StoryMill so helpful is that it provides a variety of ways to organize yourself while writing. If you're anything like me, you've usually got notes scratched on a notebook, three ideas rattling around your brain, a couple of links cut-and-pasted somewhere to help write the description of the main character's hometown, and some minor characters whose motivation you need to explore. With StoryMill, you can create character profiles, assign yourself research tasks, input any useful information from YouTube clips to website snippets. When you sit down to write, you can make sure you're surrounded with every tool you need to focus on the writing.
StoryMill also allows you to keep track of your productivity via a ProgressMeter that you can set to a specified word count goal or project goal. Thematically, you can organize your progress through a Scenes tab, or create a timeline of events. StoryMill allows annotation, tagging, and a full screen view to prevent any distractions on-screen.
I'm having such a wonderful time with StoryMill because it allows me to put all my relevant information in one place, and organize it in as many or as few ways as I feel it needs. That, in turn, makes me want to write, which is fantastic. I haven't played around with all of the functions, most notably the timeline, which received a rather negative review here. If anyone else has worked with StoryMill or a similar application, I'd love to hear about their experience.