Conquer the blank page with these seven apps for writers.
The invention of the web allowed anyone to be a writer. Aspiring wordsmiths publish their work for millions to see with just a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. With social media, people find it acceptable to write mini-novels about the the cashier who was rude or the person from work who smells like cheese. However, you don’t need to pen War and Peace or bring readers to tears to call yourself a writer. Real writing occurs when you have something you’re so passionate about, no character limit will suffice. Use these apps for writers to guide you as you set out to conquer the blank page.
If you’re not using Evernote to organize your written work, it’s time to put away the typewriter. Instantly save notes and drafts to the Cloud with any device. Type up some thoughts in your mobile device on your way to work and seamlessly pick up where you left off on your desktop. Saving your work is just the beginning of the Green Elephant’s capability. The proclaimed “100 year startup” has acquired apps turned features: Skitch and Penultimate. Save as a PDF and mark where revisions or images are needed thanks to Skitch. Authors or poets who want that handwritten sensation can use Penultimate on iPads as an electronic pen and paper. The ability to instantly jot down your scrambled thoughts may leave you overwhelmed with an uncharted sea of words. Not to fear, the app provides a search feature and a tag system so you can easily track back to the important stuff.
You wish you could transport the tranquility of nature into your cubicle wasteland. With Noisli for your desktop you can. Enjoy the nice welcome and time stamp as you adjust the different sounds to your finger typing liking. Unofficially, rain, thunderstorm, wind, forest, rainforest, river, ocean, puddles, campfire, crickets in the night and coffee shop, yes, coffee shop are all accounted for. Blend the sounds together as the background slowly changes color presenting what Noisli calls the benefits of chromotherapy. A beta text editor has also been added if you want to type your text directly into the cycling colors. Noisli was launched in September so expect more sounds and features to be added.
Help Me Write
Remember that masterpiece you wrote about cats that failed to inspire in the way you expected? Help Me Write could have saved you the misfortune. Before you pour your heart onto your keyboard, post your suggested topic and preview it to thousands of writers. The audience clicks the “I’d Like To Read This” button if they deem the idea worth their precious time. Get some great feedback and hook hungry readers then post your content for an initial audience to dissect. Help Me Write provides an outlet to gauge interest, collect suggestions and improve your writing process from start to finish.
If content is king, collaboration is queen. Once your work is crafted, you want handpicked peers to critique and add ideas. Quip comes in handy if you’re collaborating with a team of writers or having content improved upon by an entire department. Add messages to the shared document to cut down on emails between you and your apprehensive colleague. Created by the former CTO of Facebook, Quip costs $12 per user for a business account that can accommodate up to 250 users. The free version still allows five users and shared folders, making it ideal for personal or small group use.
A writer’s joy is scanning the thesaurus results until the perfect word leaps off the screen. It doesn’t get much better than the 150-year-old word bible, Merriam-Webster. The free version of the app will get you the complete dictionary and a limited thesaurus. For $3.99, it will include illustrations and English Lit terms. For $25, users can enjoy “wild card” search among other features. Wildcard search allows you to use “*” and “?” for unknown characters if you’re one of those writers that rely on spell-check to correct the words you butcher when writing by hand.
All writers struggle through the occasional writer’s block. Spice Mobile might be the answer if you’re willing to cough up $0.99/month for a remedy. The app allows you to gather inspiration from the greatest writers to hammer home that analogy or description. Search words or phrases and see the past occurrences in literary history from the likes of William Faulkner and Charles Dickens. If you want to impress the Grammar Geek, go with the full year subscription for $6.99.
Novel in 30
Completing a novel is on the bucket list for writers of all skill levels. Novel in 30 allows you to set up goals based on words needed and days allowed, tracking your daily word count along the way. The ambitious type can try to bust out a masterpiece in 30 days but you can also set the goal for a year out. Enjoy milestone banners as you knock out chapters and hit 50% of your target. Slack off for a few days during that pesky wedding? Novel in 30 automatically adjusts your daily writing goals and lets you know if you’re ahead or behind schedule.
What writing apps do you use to win your battle with words?