8 Mobile Apps for Writers
A day in the life of a writer isn’t as stress-free as one might imagine, especially considering the rapid transformation of traditional mediums such as…
A day in the life of a writer isn’t as stress-free as one might imagine, especially considering the rapid transformation of traditional mediums such as the newspaper and the book. Whether you’re a journalist, blogger, copywriter, academic, or creative writer, you know that staying on top of your game is essential to making it in the biz. Though writers aren’t often hailed as the most tech-savvy group of professionals, a fair number of us have embraced the benefits of technology in our daily lives. The very act of writing ties us to our computers and laptops and in many cases notebooks and journals are being ousted as our trusty companions in favor of multi-functional devices like smartphones and tablets. Thus, dear writers, we have taken it upon ourselves to scour the mobile app market to come up with a list of mobile applications that may be of use to you as you go about your busy day.
1] Evernote: As a writer you don’t want to forget anything--an idea, a deadline, the details of a character that you dreamt up during the night. Evernote lets you capture and save anything you (or your device) can possibly think, hear, or see, and file it away for easy access later on. There are many note-taking apps out there but this one seems to be the most comprehensive, user friendly, and well loved. Platforms: iPhone / iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Android Tablet, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, Palm Pre / Palm Pixi, Evernote Peek, Windows, Mac OS X. Price: FREE!
2] DayOne: Most writing instructors will encourage students to keep a journal and write in it at least daily. This is a useful practice but many of us tend to lapse in our efforts. DayOne is an app that encourages users to keep on writing. It provides calendar views of your entries so you can see when you’re slacking off, reminders to prevent you from forgetting, and even inspirational messages to keep you on task as you write. The app can be password protected and synced with other devices via DropBox. Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac OS X. Price: $1.99, $9.99 (Mac)
3] Writer’s Block Buster: It could last hours, days, months, even years. Any dose of writer’s block can be lethal to one’s productivity. Writer’s Block Buster is an app designed to combat this dreaded affliction. Each of the app’s 14 sections is meant to stimulate your imagination or help you out with basics such as writing mechanics and definitions. The Person, Place, Things, and Scenarios sections are interconnected and allow you to explore the different combinations of these elements. My personal favorite feature is the Dialogue section, which provides writers with a hundred different variations of the word “said” that will keep the speaking parts of your story from becoming totally repetitive. Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Price: $3.99
4] Dictionary/Thesaurus: Dialogue is not the only aspect of text that can become repetitive. A good thesaurus should be any writer’s best friend. Don’t get stuck staring at your screen for 20 minutes trying to come up with a more attractive word for “ornery.” Dictionary.com’s app is fully stocked with nearly 2,000,000 words including synonyms, antonyms, and definitions. The app enables audio pronunciation and voice searches. It’s one of those essentials apps that is bound to come in handy. Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch Price: FREE!
5] MindNode: Organizing the billion ideas floating around in our minds at any one time can be a grueling task, but it is an essential one for writers. You don’t have to try to plug every concept into a traditional, linear outline. MindNote lets you map out your thoughts in a more organic, free flowing, and visual manner. Each thought/idea can be entered as a node which can then be visually connected to other nodes in a user-created branchlike network. This is the perfect application for taking brainstorming to the next level. Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Price: $5.99
6] Manuscript: Manuscript is an awesome app that walks you through the entire writing process. This is an app for any kind of writer--novelist, essayist, journalist, etc. You’ll create a pitch, synopsis, and chapter outline for your project before producing the content. Manuscript ensures that you have a game plan in place before diving in, but--like all best laid plans--your outline is always changeable. Existing manuscripts can also be easily imported/exported using DropBox (see below). Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: $3.99
7] WriteChain: Track your progress with this simple app that can help you maintain your productivity. The app tracks word counts from each writing session and calculates total word counts to date. If you skip a scheduled writing session, you break a link in your “writing chain” and the app will be sure to let you know about it. Write Chain demonstrates how forming good habits can be as rewarding as breaking bad ones! Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Price: FREE!
8] DropBox: Any artillery of mobile writing tools would be useless without a way to store, transfer, and share your documents on the go. DropBox is an essential app for all writers who don’t want to end up with confusing copies of a single project. Documents saved to the DropBox app are accessible from any of your devices. Dropbox comes with a free 2GB of storage space and you can purchase up to 100 GB by subscribing. The app also serves as a handy back-up for important documents in case your computer is out of commission. Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Mac, Windows, Linux Price: Basic - FREE!; Pro (50 GB) - $9.99/mo.; Pro (100 GB) - $19.99/mo.