Writing could be a boring and tedious task when you are devoid of ideas. It’s a feeling akin to being stuck in a dark tunnel with no hint of light at either end.
What makes it even more frustrating is when you have great ideas but no way to accomplish the task at hand. Normally poor workflow, unending distractions, lack of organization, flagging inspiration, etc. throw a wrench in the works.
To counter these hurdles, I have selected 10 writing apps that could boost your productivity. I believe every writer must have these apps in order to thrive as they come up with new articles, prepare short stories and write novels for the marketplace. These apps will give your creativity a definitive edge and your productivity a much-needed fillip:
1. Write or Die
A web app for any writer who has difficulty maintaining their workflow. This app combines classical conditioning with mild negative reinforcement that will keep you on track.
Any time you hesitate in writing for more than a few seconds, you will receive a jarring sound and document shake that will get you back to typing in a hurry.
Don’t be fooled by the ’90s style website, it’s pretty much updated and effective. An iOS app is available, too.
If you are a professional blogger or a busy freelancer, keeping track of your articles, novels, or short story submissions can be difficult.
This app simplifies the process by helping you keep track of where you have sent your submission to, for how much, and whether you need to perform a new step in the process. It makes workflow easier, and is a must for the serious writer. PC and iOS versions are available.
3. Google Dictionary
Indispensable. Google dictionary is indispensable for writers. Though websites like dictionary.com and thesarus.com are awesome, Google dictionary scores higher on efficiency.
Available only as a Chrome extension, it’s ridiculously easy to use. When installed, it resides in the top right corner of your screen and works both as a dictionary and a thesaurus. Type in any word and it will give you a detailed definition as well as a slew of synonyms. So no need to hop from one website to another.
Grammarly corrects spellings, rectifies punctuation and checks plagiarism. If you are a lean entrepreneur and can’t afford to employ a proofreader, you’d do well having Grammarly in your arsenal.
The best part of this app is its seamless compatibility with WordPress, Twitter, Evernote, Linkedin and a host of other platforms.
Some of you might ask: why Grammarly, why not Ginger? For the starters, Ginger is Grammarly’s rather slick competitor. I have used both the tools and let me tell you, both are good.
I used to be a Ginger loyalist and wouldn’t have switched to Grammarly had Ginger not messed up my notes on Evernote. Ginger app, for some odd reason, wiped out all my work, probably because its AI saw my work-in-progress pieces as useless tripe.
This one is the big kahuna. Organize your thoughts in one location with this app. Evernote provides you with the organizational tools you need to keep your thoughts together in one easy place.
I have used Evernote for over 5 years now. There is a slight learning curve to it. If you are a first-time user, it could overwhelm you, but once you get tuned to it, you won’t turn to anything else.
The plans range from basic (free), Plus, Premium to Business. I recommend Evernote Plus ($3.99 per month) for bloggers and freelancers, it gives you 1 GB of uploads every month and ability to sync across unlimited devices. You can download the desktop version, too.
This free web app helps you notice writing pitfalls that might otherwise escape your attention. Things like large and unwieldy sentences or passive voice that can kill your writing.
It’s a great tool to have in one’s repertoire. However, I suggest you use Hemingway as a starting point. Don’t make it the be-all-and-end-all, the final authority on your writing.
See, at times it could be difficult to avoid complex sentences especially when you are writing a technical piece or even an opinionated article. You don’t want an app to dilute your writing prowess. That’s why I advise using Hemingway only as a diagnostic.
7. Self Control
You mean to sit down and write for an hour or two, but somehow your “Research” devolves into scrolling Facebook for hours every single time.
Stay focused by blacklisting the sites you know will distract you, or limiting yourself to only websites that are acceptable for research.
If you are a professional blogger, one thing that you can’t compromise on is Content readability. Apps such as Hemingway, Grammarly and others help you rid your content of language and structure-related snags, but they don’t tell you if you have pitched your content at the right level for your target audience.
Enter the Readability Test tool. It gives you an immediate report-card as to where your content stands on 6 different readability tests.
All you have to do is type the target URL or copy-paste the content into the direct text input box. In less than 5 seconds, it will tell you how your content measures up on indices such as Flesch Kincaid, Gunning Fog, SMOG, Coleman Liau and Automated Readability.
9. Google Keep
Google Keep does everything Evernote does. Well, not exactly, but if you have to take notes in a jiffy, then Keep is a better app. Personally, I use Evernote for big projects and Keep for sudden inspirations and scribbling rough drafts.
The Android App is lightweight and comes in very handy. You can also install the Chrome extension, it’s equally handy. Let’s you want to save a recipe, simply copy the piece and click the Keep extension. Your recipe would automatically be pasted there. Just add a title to it and carry on.
10. I Write Like
Ever wondered which great writer your writing style mimics? No problems if your answer is no because there is a solution to figure that out.
I write Like (IWL) is a free web tool that deploys a Bayesian Classifier algorithm to analyze your style of writing. All you have to do is paste your content into the box on the home page and press ‘Analyze’.
IWL would instantly tell you if your writing style takes after Edgar Allan Poe or Isaac Asimov or any other illustrious author. Equipped with this information, you can further carve your writing style after that author.
Writing can be tough on authors, but these apps can get you going and help you get your writing out there for the world to see. After all, when the wind is at your back and when the ideas are flowing freely, there is no mental exercise more enjoyable than writing.
Let me know the writing tools you deploy to write better blogs. Share your thoughts below. I will be glad to hear from you.