By Megan F.
Working as an indie author can be quite a challenge. You often don’t have the backing of big organizations to keep you on track or to help you out when the going gets rough. Luckily, most everyone today has access to technologies that can easily take the place of those institutions. As the kids say, there’s an app for that.
This applies to writing even in ways you might not have considered. While it may seem counter-intuitive to put helpful apps on your number one distraction device, using your phone/tablet for your writing may actually help you use it more productively. Take a look at these six apps recommended for indie authors to help take your writing to the next level.
If you’ve never used Evernote, you don’t know what you’re missing. Really any of the note taking apps will probably help to get your work done, but Evernote is in a league of its own. Aside from being able to jot down your story ideas at a moment’s notice on your phone, tablet, or PC, Evernote also has a feature called the web clipper which allows you to clip pages directly into the app. This is useful for doing background research for your story, and even just in daily life when you see something cool.
Evernote’s ability to make multiple notebooks really helps you focus and stay organized. You can simply allocate all your research into one notebook. You can put all your story and character notes in another. It’s the customizability that puts this one at the top of note taking apps.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management app designed to keep you focused for long work sessions. You get to set work and rest intervals yourself. A typical example might be 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, then repeating the cycle. After the third cycle, you’d take a longer break like 15 or 20 minutes.
This helps to maintain your focus and prevent slacking off. Since you have designated “slack off” periods every 25 minutes and a timer keeping you honest, you’re less likely to procrastinate during work time. Overall, it’s been found to lead to more productive hours than just working 8 hours straight with a lunch break.
Pomodoro apps are numerous. There are versions for PC, Android, and iOS all for free.
A lot of writers value music as a source of inspiration when it comes to writing. Spotify is a great free app (with ads) that gives you access to millions of songs to listen to as you work or brainstorm. You have the option to create multiple playlists to match your mood or the character you’re working on, anything that helps you get going. Of course, you can also sub in your music app of choice and your own private music collection.
Studies have shown it may be more difficult to focus in a totally noise-free environment. Having the sounds of a bustling coffee shop could make it easier to hit your word goals.
Think about it. Why do writers always loiter around Starbucks establishments for hours on end? It’s because they see benefit from a little ambience, changing scenery, and new faces. Everyone has internet at home or on mobile devices these days, so it’s likely not the free Wi-Fi as much as it once was. You also have the option to get business internet plans that will support your online writing with faster loading times and better security backup than simple coffeehouse Wi-Fi.
Now you can get that same cozy coffeehouse feel in your own home while drinking your own (almost) free coffee. Coffitivity provides the light noise and atmosphere to give you better focus. And there’s the extra benefit of having no baristas giving you the stink eye because you’ve ordered one small coffee and are taking up seating.
Spice Mobile is one of those hidden gems for novelists or story writers. Have you ever thought your descriptions were a little lame and needed some stepping up? Spice Mobile can take you to that next level.
Just enter something you’d like to describe, such as an attractive face or crowded train station. The app will spit out more poetic alternatives like “a quiet, kindly man with a face like a cherry, wind-polished…”. You get to choose what you use, but most of all you’ll get a burst of inspiration in the moment.
Spice Mobile uses a compilation of famous works of fiction to source its descriptions, so you can be sure you’re getting something good. Copying directly might be a bad idea, but it can give you that kick in the pants you need to get you to write your own equally great description.
In the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf, “Just do it!”. Write! takes that philosophy to heart as one of the best distraction-free writing apps out there. It provides a full screen writing space that prevents distractions like Facebook or your browser in general.
Write! comes with a plethora of amazing tools for writers as well. It has an intelligent spellchecker, unlimited undo, notes, collaboration, and dark themes for night hours. There’s also unlimited cloud storage provided for free that gives you access to your work on any device at any time.
Write! is free with a premium $19.99 version and is available on PC and Mac devices. If you don’t pay, you lose access to the cloud and unlimited undo features after a brief trial but keep everything else.
A New Era for Writers
Today’s technology has many great benefits for writers. There are some great apps out there to take your writing to the next level. So stop using your phone for simple distractions and start using it to better your craft!