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7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone

7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone

If you want to be able to do something that you love and also be able to do it well, you need to reduce the friction between thought and action. In other words, if you want to be a writer, you need to have the tools that facilitate writing at your disposal.

Now some will argue that you just need a plain ol’ text editor and the gumption to write every day to make your way as a writer, but finding a handful of tools that can help you along the way can’t hurt.

I write a lot on my iPhone. It seems strange to some people, but I have found that I can type super-fast on the touchscreen keyboard. And because of that I do a lot of outlining, writing, and editing on my iPhone. Below are 10 tools for writing on your iPhone.

    TextExpander Touch

    If you thought that text expansion on your desktop was cool, it makes typing on your mobile device a dream come true. If you don’t know, TextExpander Touch is an app that allows you to program short snippets of text as ways to expand to anything you want.

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    Say you want to program your address. You can make a snippet like “addr” expand to your entire address, even with line breaks. TextExpander can definitely help speed up your writing and it also works with around 50 other iOS apps.

      Elements

      This is a simple plain-text editor for iOS that syncs your text files to Dropbox. Elements has auto-saving, word-count, line-count, a scratchpad, TextExpander Touch support, ability to view, create, and edit Markdown files, and much more.

      This is an excellent app if you are a plain-text file nerd like me and has some great features that will keep you interested in using it.

        Notesy for Dropbox

        Yet another plain-text editor that syncs to Dropbox. Some of the extra things that I like about Notesy is that it has the option to preview Markdown files with your own custom CSS, enhanced search, subfolders, and option to view links, like phone numbers, pages, etc.

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        In general I like the overall look and feel of Notesy as well and feel that this is my favorite plain-text editor on the iPhone as of late.

          Nebulous Notes

          The last of the plain-text editors that I will mention today. Nebulous is nice for theming your writing with different fonts, font-color and backgrounds. Something that is unique to Nebulous is that it has a nifty “scrollable bar” on top of the standard keyboard that you can place different characters and macros on like tabs, asterisks, date functions, etc.

          If you want to type something up fast, coupling the programmable functions of Nebulous and coupling it with TextExpander is an awesome way to go.

            (CarbonFin) Outliner

            You’ve got to have a way to outline your ideas before you start writing and one of the easiest ways to do it on iPhone is with CarbonFin Outliner. Outliner gives you a nice interface to make parent and children items, search your entire outline, move items with drag and drop, gives notes to outline items, and much more.

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            Syncing is sort of a pain as you have to use CarbonFin’s website rather than a simpler Dropbox sync. But, for outlining on your iPhone there isn’t anything better.

              iThoughts

              What kind of writer would you be if you couldn’t carry around your mind maps with you at all times? iThoughts makes it easy to mind-map from you iPhone and has a pretty unique and intuitive interface. Adding items to your maps is easy and also adding children and siblings is as simple as double-tapping the return key or spacebar.

              iThoughts has a ton of features to it and really is a full-fledge mind-mapping suite.

                Day One

                Day One is a neat little “diary or logging application”. We spoke about the benefits of logging your day recently and this app can help you do it with ease. Day One is built to make logging super fast with a click of the “plus” button to add a new entry. I use it almost like my own private Twitter. Anything I am thinking internally I just jot it down.

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                Day One can be synced via Dropbox and it also has a nifty reminder system to help you remember to journal something. Oh, and of course to hide your dear diary entries Day One includes a passcode lock.

                Removing the friction of writing is extremely important if you want to get good at it. These seven apps are what I consider to be the “best of the best” when it comes to planning and writing on your iPhone. Let us know in the comments of any other apps that help you write while you are mobile.

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                CM Smith

                A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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                Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

                The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

                Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                Program Your Own Algorithms

                Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                How to Form a Ritual

                I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                Ways to Use a Ritual

                Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                1. Waking Up

                Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                2. Web Usage

                How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                3. Reading

                How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                4. Friendliness

                Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                5. Working

                One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                6. Going to the gym

                If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                7. Exercise

                Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                8. Sleeping

                Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                8. Weekly Reviews

                The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                Final Thoughts

                We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

                More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

                 

                Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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