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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My Top Writing Apps and Tools

There are a lot of 'Best Apps' posts out there, and a lot of those posts are devoted to the best apps and digital tools for writers, specifically, but I thought I'd have a go at making one of my own anyway. Partly because a few of my best-loved apps never seem to feature on any of these other lists, partly because I get a silly giddy feeling when I download a cool new writing/bookish app and I want to share, share, share!

I won't make an exhaustive list here, because I'll just run on forever, but here are some of my favourite apps and tools for writing and/or bookish people.


1. iA Writer

App. I love, love, love this app. I wrote virtually the entire first draft of my most recent synopsis using this. This seems to be Apple/iOS only. Its beauty is in its simplicity. There's no messing about with fonts or settings or formatting. There are no options. You open it and you write. That's it. For someone as obsessive-compulsive about fonts and how things look as I am, it's remarkably restful to be forced to just get on with it.


2. Scrivener


Tool. There is, alas, no iOS or Android version of this yet. 

I tried this out for the first time only recently. And promptly wondered how I'd ever done without it. You can use this to write, but I use it to outline. Much as I love notebooks and pens, I'm also a sucker for Post Its, corkboards, pinning things to corkboards, and visual representations of my notes, and Scrivener gives me all those things (minus the tactile pleasure, of course, but honestly I hardly miss it!). I can make character sketches, create little corkboard notes for places and chapters, move things around and have my actual content move around too, and probably a whole host of other things that I haven't quite gotten to grips with yet! It's amazing. 

Note: you do have to pay for it, but you can try it out for free for 30 days and, if you don't like it, can export all your content before the trial expires.
 

3. Dropbox

App and tool. This is like having a suitcase hovering above you, weightless, unnoticeable and unobtrusive, but it's there when you need it and you can dip into anywhere. It's a handy-dandy way to store and back up all your important files and, most importantly, to be able to open them on any other device on which you've downloaded and installed the Dropbox app. You have an account, you can access it from virtually any computer as long as you're connected to the internet, and all the content stored in your account syncs across all your computers, phones, iPads, iBrains (I'm pretty sure we'll have those instead of real brains one day...)


4. Evernote

App and tool. It took me a while to get Evernote, mostly because I had a bunch of other apps and notepads that did separate, individual things like allow me to make voice notes, checklists, take photos and label them, etc. Evernote kind of makes those other apps redundant. It does it all. Record ideas like a voice memo, take photos, tag locations, make checklists, write notes, file everything in themed digital notebooks - it's all there. And, like Dropbox, you can use and sync your content across all kinds of platforms and devices. 


5. ColorNote
App. I don't use this anymore, because there doesn't seem to be an iOS version of this (at least not last I checked), but I loved this app when I had an Android phone. It's a little like Scrivener and, while it doesn't have most of the tool's cool features, you can use this app on your phone. If you love sticky notes, as I do, you'll love this. It arranges all your notes via color-coded Post Its. You can create notes with plain writing or have checklists. And - my favourite bit of all - you can add one of your notes or lists to your phone's home screen (I used to do this with my To Do list) and it looks just like a little sticky note stuck to a surface!


Do you use or love any of these tools? Do you have any favourites to share? Tell me about them!

21 comments:

  1. I have Evernote and Dropbox. Scrivener just looks like it would confuse me further.

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  2. I need to use Dropbox more. Man, is it helpful! I always know my work is saved and safe when I use it.

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    1. Exactly! And it's so handy being able to literally drop a file in while I'm still working at my laptop - and a minute later my husband can read that file on the iPad in bed!

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  3. I love post it notes as well...maybe I'll give Scrivener a try.

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    1. It will make any Post It/corkboard-loving heart happy :-)

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  4. The only one I've used it Scrivener. I love it!

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  5. I'm not very good at apps or tools. I've still been on the fence about Scrivener *ducks below the flying teddy bear*. My writing is fairly simplistic. Word, a backup flashdrive that sticks with me like glue and imagination.

    Yeah, I know, I really have to get with the times lol!

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    1. I use Word and an external USB stick too! You can't beat a good old flashdrive sometimes. Most of the digital 'backups' only have small storage capacities.

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  6. These are really great apps! Thanks for sharing!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  7. I love scrivener! :) I use it for pretty much everything now.

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  8. Can't wait to read GREY Sangu! It looks very promising! Let us know when you have finished it and when we can expect it! I loved THE LOST GIRL!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, oxfordblock! I'm so glad you liked it :-) And I hope you do get a chance to read GREY one day, oxfordblock, but right now it's just a project I'm working on - nothing official!

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  9. Great post, Sangu! I like AutoCrit and Write or Die.

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    1. New apps. Oh my. Thank you, Talli. I'm off to ogle.

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  10. Wow, I never even knew about these! Thanks for sharing, Sangu :)

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  11. These Apps/tools sound really handy...
    I'm still getting to grips with my i-Pad, and at the moment, that's more than enough new technology for my tech-challenged brain... a little at a time...

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  12. I don't have any of these, but the first one seems to be a useful one.

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