Whoever says writing is easy has never truly written.
Creatives go through a lot just to churn out a standard 600-word blog post. First, there’s research and having the mental acuity to organize parallel, simultaneously running streams of thought into one coherent flow.
Then, there’s the struggle of actually writing versus the temptation to procrastinate (all of a sudden you feel like doing the dishes now, at 3 am in the morning?). After that, there’s sticking the landing and accepting constructive criticism to further improve your craft.
If you’re feeling blessed by the muses or if you’ve been staring at a blank page for 23 hours and 15 minutes, beefing up your arsenal of writer tools is always a good idea.
There are creativity apps out there that can kickstart your thought process. Some lead you to new paths of creativity. Others help you make sure you’re not filling your work with typographical errors and saying the same things repeatedly.
In this digital age, there’s no excuse to not take full advantage of the various apps a mere click away from you.
To help you start in picking the right tools for the trade, here are some recommendations.
Trivia time. Did you know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you become a better writer?
For many writers, coming up with a good headline is as challenging as the act of writing the article itself. (How do you make all your ideas fit in one line?? Why doesn’t your title sound compelling enough??)
Starting this list of useful apps for writers is an app called Headline Analyzer. What Headline Analyzer does is study your proposed headline based on the principles of SEO; “Write Headlines That Drive Traffic, Shares, And Search Results,” as the site would say.
It looks at what words you used and lets you know if they are too generic or too obscure. Headline Analyzer also goes over the word structure of your headline and predicts whether or not it will be enticing enough. This app will even tell you if you’re using too many words and characters!
As a bonus, the site also links you to additional articles to help you craft better headlines.
Scrivener is an app built especially for long-form writers.
This word-processor app prides itself as being a combination of your “typewriter, ring-binder, and scrapbook.” It allows you to do your writing while having your virtual note cards or your references – whether they are PDFs, images, or audio files – at hand, without leaving the app.
It also helps you organize your thoughts better (a task which can get extremely challenging with lengthy pieces of work) by separating your text into sections chapters and/or sections. You can add synopsis and descriptions to them, too, to aid you in remembering what they’re all about. And if you want to restructure your work, you can easily drag these sections in any order you choose.
Scrivener also allows multi-platform accessibility, available on iOS phones and iPads, and on computers, both Windows and macOS.
No one is immune to typographical errors. And all writers know that a second set of eyes is needed from time to time (if not all the time).
Grammarly is as close as you can get to an actual editor going through your work. It is available via the web, by downloading the app, or through a browser extension.
Grammarly’s free service is an already highly competent tool in correcting and suggesting spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
If you want to see Grammarly and its extent of capabilities, try out its premium version. Grammarly Premium dives deeper by analyzing your writing based on specific goals you can set (e.g., do you want to sound corporate or academic? Is what you’re doing creative writing?). It also gives out recommendations on word use, structure, and sentence length and paragraph breakdown.
Readability can be a cause of debate among writers. In the academe, some classics are hailed for being difficult to read. However, not everyone can be James Joyce. Many working writers have to have the restraint to not get carried away in stringing together sentences that are too long or too complex.
Readable.io seeks to be the solution to this writing woe. The web-based app scores your writing based on its reading level. It even runs your rating via indices like Gunning Fox and the Flesch-Kincaid.
In an age of the internet and multiple screens, there’s no shame in admitting how easy it is to get distracted while writing.
Freedom does the heroic task of unshackling you from one of the biggest distractions for writers: the internet.
Freedom disconnects you from internet access for a time you determine. This helps you focus on your writing and not on looking for memes and traversing the rabbit hole that is the world wide web.
Ambient sounds are said to boost creativity. Coffitivity, from its name, seeks to recreate the ambient noise of a cafe, wherever you may be, to help you work better.
Available both online and through an app, Coffitivity has even expanded to include variations of the ambient noise it offers – from university cafe sounds to location-based chatter such as “Brazil Bistro” to “Paris Paradise.”
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.