Tools and Skills
7 Great Apps for Writers of Every Kind
Apps and Tech to Help You Use Your Words
“A writer,” Kurt Vonnegut once said, “is someone who hates to write.”
And while technology hasn’t made the act of writing well any easier, it can, at the very least, make it a little less painful.
Check out seven great apps for writers of every kind.
Is your flowery prose, ornate prosody, and mellifluous metonymy preventing you from communicating?
The Hemingway app identifies hard-to-comprehend sentences and suggests simpler alternatives; reveals passive writing; and highlights adverbs, which the website likens to “verbs’ kryptonite”.
The site and desktop app ($20) also judges reading level, but you’re not going for the highest number here. “When we say ‘grade level,’ we aren’t saying that’s who you’re writing for,” the site explains. “In fact, Ernest Hemingway’s work scores as low as 5th grade, despite his adult audience. What our measurement actually gauges is the lowest education needed to understand your prose. Studies have shown the average American reads at a tenth-grade level– so that’s a good target.”
It might not be fair, but it’s a fact – you will be judged harshly for poor grammar. It doesn’t have to be this way: Grammarly’s free Chrome plugin will scan everything from emails to essays for errant syntax, contextual spelling mistakes, poor punctuation, and more.
Their premium edition, starting at $30 per month, also suggests “vocabulary enhancements”, performs advanced grammar checks, and detects plagiarism.
Writing doesn’t have to be done alone. Marketing materials, corporate content, and business presentations often require working with coworkers. When you’re launching a group project, Airstory is a good place to start. The tool makes it easy to build an outline and let various collaborators drag-and-drop information, photos, research, and other information onto the project.
Can’t write unless there’s a gun to your head? The Most Dangerous Writing App might make for a safer alternative. Blocked writers set a timer for anywhere from three to 60 minutes and start to write – if they stop at any time, the work is lost.
The app’s creators think our problem with writing stems from “a hive of distractions, multi-tasking, and cultural ADD. Many sit down to write, only to find hours vanish with nothing to show but a trail of browser tabs.” Sound familiar?
Write!, Calmly Writer, and Focuswriter
There are also several gentler apps for writers that help you get started by diminishing diversions. Write!, the “distraction-free text editor” hides the rest of your desktop and leaves you with a simple word processing doc. Calmly Writer, a Chrome extension, even includes a “focus mode” option, which highlights only the paragraph you are currently editing. Focuswriter hides your desktop and allows users to set timers and goals.
However you plan to accomplish your next writing task, the best way to get it done, though, is just to start writing.
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