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3 apps that aid the creative writing process

19 October 2016

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Writers of the past relied on typewriters, notebooks and pens in order to get brilliant ideas out of their heads and onto paper. And, when you consider the wealth of tools we have available to us today, it’s rather remarkable our forefathers managed to get by at all.

The ability to write large novels that include intricate character development, intertwined themes and fictional worlds that feel as real as the one we inhabit using nothing more than manual writing implements is simply mind-boggling. How did they do it? Are we now spoilt for choice when it comes to digital assistance?

We’re swimming in a technological sea of apps, self-help web content and mobile devices, all of which demand our attention and promise the world when it comes to productivity.

In reality, the secret sauce for using technology to improve one’s writing performance is to pick just a few tools that offer a genuine benefit.

With that in mind, we’ve picked out three apps that every writer should consider adding to their arsenal.

But, before we begin, a quick disclaimer: we’re not associated with any of the suggested products mentioned below. They just happen to be some of the best we’ve found!

1. The word processor

Well, obviously, we bet you’re thinking. But choosing the right word processor is something of an art in itself these days. There are so many to work through.

Broadly-speaking, modern word processors can be broken down into three categories:

  • Traditional. Think Microsoft Word or Google Docs - both offer word processing features most novelists are familiar with and feature user interfaces that are both approachable and easy to get to grips with.
  • Heavyweight. If we were to recommend one word processor category for the aspiring novelist, it’d be this one, although you’ll need to invest a fair amount of time to make it worthwhile. Scrivener, for example, offers deeply inspiring features for writers. It makes the process of managing large writing projects ridiculously easy, by allowing users to shuffle chapters around instantly and refer to earlier sections and research material from a single screen.
  • Lightweight. For the ultra, no-frills writing experience, a simple digital notepad will do. Whether you use Windows, macOS or iOS, they all come with free notepads you can immediately start writing on. Things may get a little cumbersome as your novel grows, though!

2. The notebook

Is your desk littered with sticky notes and scraps of paper torn out of notebooks? If so, take a look at Evernote. It features an elephant as its logo for a reason - it’s a brilliant way to digitise your notes and ensure that you don’t forget a single thing. Brilliant for novel planning, wherever you happen to be.

3. The to-do list

Whether you’re writing for pleasure or a career, a to-do list is essential if you’re to keep on top of the varying tasks you’ll need to undertake in order to finish your masterpiece.

To-do lists are traditionally stored within paper diaries, but there are now countless apps that offer the same functionality, albeit from the convenience of your smartphone screen. The simplest are usually the best, and will enable you to put all those essential actions into a place that will never get lost, screwed up or accidentally placed in the bin.

Have we missed anything? If there’s a specific app you use to aid your writing and we’ve neglected to mention it above, please do get in touch and let us know about the tool that makes your life as a writer easier.

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