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20 Inspirational Apps and Online Resources For Writers

20 Inspirational Apps and Online Resources For Writers

Inspiration is vital for writers and, thankfully, these days you can find it in abundance, especially following a little help from technology. A huge variety of mobile apps exist simply to support the busy wordsmith, with all manner of tools available for assistance with writing, editing, drafting, plotting, note-taking, and researching. This is matched by the vast expanse of information available on the internet, some of which has been created to assist writers through detailed online resources. It’s a very privileged position compared to the quills, pencils, and constant library visits of yesteryear, so to celebrate here are 20 of the very best inspirational sources to help you craft the perfect piece of writing.

Inspirational Apps

The mobile phone/computer devices which aim to make your life more fun and stress free rarely let you down. The following 10 apps should prove to be highly useful in any writer’s collection of inspiration tools.

1. Pages

pages ipad

    Apple’s Pages is a powerful word processing app designed for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It combines with iCloud storage so you can write, view, and edit your documents across all devices. Along with writing straightforward text documents there is a choice of 16 templates for drafting letters, reports, and designing flyers, cards, and posters.

    Documents created in Pages can be shared with your readers, clients, and publishers by exporting as Pages, Microsoft Word, or PDF files.

    2. Clean Writer

    clear writing

      This one’s aimed at the iPad and designed with a compact, minimalist aesthetic so you can focus on creating texts free from distractions. In full screen mode you are presented with no status bar and no file name – just your clear clutter-free text as if you are writing on a blank sheet of paper. Clean Writer indeed!

      3. Write

      write

        Write is a text editor app designed for Android tablet devices. This app is not aimed at word processing; instead it is a text editor for note taking and journal writing. The texts you create within Write can be exported as HTML for editing in other applications (such as Word), or the texts can be easily exported to email, or uploaded onto blogs and WordPress websites. In this way the app is perfect for recording your thoughts on the go and using them in later drafts of your writing.

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        4. Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus

        Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus

          The Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus emerged from research conducted at the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA. The comprehensive lexicon contains 140,000 entries, 1.4 million words, and an innovative format providing dictionary definitions. It also demonstrates how words link together, presents synonyms, antonyms, and examples to illustrate word usage. This approach means you can find the meanings of words, discover alternatives, and learn how different words relate to each other.

          5. Evernote

          evernote

            Here we have a note-taking and archiving app perfect for writers to record research notes, thoughts, pieces of text, photos, web pages, scans, and audio. Evernote works across a variety of devices and operating systems so you can record drafts of texts in note form before re-editing in a word processing application. Among the many great features of Evernote is the ability to archive your notes and search for them, so that all-important thought can be found and worked on later.

            6. Chapters

            Chapters

              Chapters is another useful note-taking app which allows you to have multiple virtual notebooks. This means you separate your projects into individual books and chapters, which is perfect for collecting information and notes for your writing work; you can also add photos, make notes searchable, plus it’s easy to back-up your notes and export them as a PDF for editing elsewhere.

              7. Chronicle

              chronicle

                A note-taking app similar to Chapters, but aimed more at keeping an ongoing diary in a simple and accessible journal format. The compact design for Chronicle means that you can write on your iPad without distraction and indulge in the creative process of writing. Your journal entries are searchable and can easily be exported to a website or word processor application.

                8. iA Writer

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                iA writer

                  Information Architects present iA Writer, a minimalist writing app designed to “bring back the pleasure of writing” to iPads and iPhones. The interface features a mono-spaced font against a grey background and no settings or preferences menu. While some may complain the lack of settings means the app can’t be personalised, this is actually one of the key features of the app’s concept – the focus is purely on writing.

                  iA Writer syncs betweens iPhone, iPad, Mac and iCloud storage so you can access and export your writing from multiple devices and locations.

                  9. My Writing Spot

                  My Writing Spot

                    Clearly this app is aimed at providing a distraction-free writing environment for novelists and freelance writers. Originally it was a popular piece of software on the iPhone and iPod, but now My Writing Spot has now undergone a complete redesign for writing on the iPad. Handily it twins up with a free online account so your text can be synced and stored with password protection.

                    10. Urban Dictionary

                    urban dictionary

                      Urban Dictionary rounds off this selection of apps! It’s the official app version of the popular website which provides definitions, descriptions, and examples of slang and cultural words from the modern lexicon. It’s a fantastic way to discover just what exactly BTW, FYI, NSFW, YOLO, LOL, and many more all mean.

                      Online Resources

                      The internet has changed the world over the last decade, and largely for the good! The 10 websites listed below are a mixture of the finest online databases and resources, all of which can help your writing reach new levels.

                      11. The Free Dictionary

                      free dictionary

                        Dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopaedia in their paper form have been essential tools for writers for centuries, but now it is possible to have an enormous wealth of language and information resources at your finger tips with The Free Dictionary. The website’s comprehensive dictionary is presented in English, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek,  Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish, along with medical, legal, and financial dictionaries. To add to this there’s also an extensive list of abbreviations and idioms, encyclopaedia, a literature reference library, a search engine tool, and access to Wikipedia. In addition to this fountain of knowledge, The Free Dictionary also presents words, articles, and quotations of the day along with word-related games such as Hangman and a spelling bee!

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                        12. The Guardian Style Guide

                        guardian style

                          The Guardian Style Guide is used by journalists who write for The Guardian, The Observer, and at guardian.co.uk. If you’re unaware of those media outlets, The Guardian is a leading broadsheet newspaper in England. This site is a great tool for any writer who wants to learn and understand the rules of grammar and correct use of words, phrases, and acronyms. The guide is compiled into a regularly revised book, but a selection of some of its most useful entries are also available online. It’s also a fun read as The Guardian‘s journalist are well known for their witty and interesting articles, and it’s as well researched as you’d expect from top reporters.

                          13. Daily Writing Tips

                          Daily writing tips

                            Daily Writing Tips provides a daily dose of advice on grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. The blog is particularly helpful for freelance writers working in digital and business contexts with guidance on crafting clear, intelligible writing, along with tips on topics such as captions and writing for specific audiences.

                            14. Oxford Dictionaries’ Better Writing

                            oxford_dictionary_betterwriting

                              Oxford Dictionaries are referred to as “the world’s most trusted dictionaries,” and they’re represented online with an extremely useful website providing complete dictionary definitions, along with a variety of other helpful resources, including the guide to Better Writing.

                              15. Grammar Girl

                              grammar girl

                                Grammar Guru Mignon Fogarty presents her award-winning writing website Grammar Girl which is full of “quick and dirty” tips on achieving better writing. The site is full of useful advice on grammar, word usage, spelling, punctuation  and style guides. Grammar Girl is friendly and irreverent, strong on modern writing contexts, and users can subscribe to a newsletter and submit grammar and language-related questions.

                                16. Copyblogger

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                                Copyblogger

                                  This is a web-based educational resource designed to teach copywriters how to produce superior online texts for content marketing, avoid writing webpage filler, and instead create valuable, attention-grabbing content. Copyblogger provides a regularly updated collection of articles about writing great content, a free 20-part internet marketing course, and an ongoing e-mail newsletter provided free of charge to subscribers.

                                  17. Google Drive

                                  gdrive

                                    Google Drive, formerly known as Google Docs, can be a very beneficial tool. Firstly, as many people work across multiple devices – from desktops and laptops to tablets and smartphones, and in multiple locations – Google Drive allows you to access and edit your writing wherever you are and whichever device you are working on.

                                    Secondly, Google Drive allows you to share your writing across the internet. This provides a method for presenting drafts and finished pieces to clients and publishers and also allows multiple users to access, edit and contribute to documents. This has a great deal of potential for collaborative writing projects, with two or more writers bouncing ideas off each other, sharing their thoughts, and collectively editing and refining texts.

                                    18. Basecamp

                                    Basecamp

                                      This is a rather excellent online project management app with the potential for collaborative writing. Multiple users can write together, collaborate, and edit documents, brainstorm ideas, write press releases, contribute to blog posts and company newsletters, and write collectively on practically any type of writing. Basecamp‘s a very handy business writing tool, then.

                                      19. The Well Fed Writer Blog

                                      The Well Fed Writer blog

                                        Peter Bowerman is a veteran commercial writer and author of books explaining how to succeed as a freelance writer. His website contains numerous resources related to surviving and thriving as a commercial writer including his Well Fed Writer blog, which presents an ongoing series of thought-provoking articles that explore the life, trials and benefits of working for yourself as a freelance writer.

                                        20. Goodreads

                                        goodread

                                          And finally we have Goodreads, the site being a tremendous way to share recommendations and reviews of books and authors you love. You can discuss literature and promote ideas whilst connecting with like-minded people. Of course, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read lots of good literature, so with recommendations from fellow writers you’re onto a real winner here.

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                                          Alex Morris

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                                          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                                          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                                          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                                          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                                          Joe’s Goals

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                                            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                                            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                                            Daytum

                                              Daytum

                                              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                              Excel or Numbers

                                                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                                Evernote

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                                                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                                  Access or Bento

                                                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                                    Conclusion

                                                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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