Whether you’re a journalist or a playwright, the writing process is made up of a number of stages. There’s the research process, which might involve trawling through Google searches, Twitter or even physical libraries. Then you have to curate your research and write several drafts. Thankfully, many apps exist to make your process more fluid. Here are five essential apps for writers:
I use Pocket as my primary article/document saving app. It integrates really well with other apps. For example, on Twitter I can save articles in Pocket for later and then carry on scrolling through the feed. I use Pocket for general interest content that I don’t necessarily need for a specific purpose. The tags you can attach to articles are really useful, as they enable me to easily search the random content I’ve collected relating to a particular topic.
Like Pocket, I use Flipboard for article and document saving. However, I use Flipboard to curate topic-specific collections of materials. For example, before I interview someone for an article or before I sit down to write a short story, I collect research and inspirational content in individual Flipboards. The app works seamlessly from phone to laptop, so when I come to the end of my research process, which largely takes place on my phone, I sit at my desk and view the boards on my laptop.
3. Google Docs
It’s obviously necessary for a writer to have a primary workspace or single repository for their writing, whether it be physical or digital. As all of my writing is currently published digitally, it makes the most sense (and is generally easier) for me to write in the same way. My current tool of choice is Google Docs. It’s so convenient. I’m currently typing these very words in Google Docs, on my phone, on a train. I’ll probably edit them at some point on my laptop. I know that there are other writing apps out there but everything about Google Docs, from the sharing features to the same-time editing functionality, makes this one a star player.
I was born just before computers became ubiquitous, so there are still times when I can only really flow if I put pen to paper (or to board). I find that, particularly when I am plotting or outlining my main ideas and themes for a story, it’s nice to map things out in a nonlinear way. So I might pick up a whiteboard and marker to get my ideas out, or cover a wall with a flurry of Post-it notes. In such cases, the camera app on my phone is absolutely invaluable. I take photos and save them all to an album on my phone for later reference.
This last choice has been a bit of a challenge, as it seems a funny to describe Twitter as a great app for writers. However, looking back over my recent work, Twitter’s impact is undeniable. Whether it’s current events to cover here on Blavity or inspiration for my fiction that I save on Flipboard (as noted above), Twitter is frequently my source of discovery. Moreover, Twitter is a great place to get inspiration and encouragement from other writers.