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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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                                          Published on November 9, 2018

                                          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                          Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                                          Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                                          So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                                          6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                                          When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                                          1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                                          Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                                          To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                                          In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                                          • Microsoft Excel
                                          • Microsoft Access
                                          • Statistics
                                          • Data Analytics
                                          • Adobe Campaign
                                          • Quickbooks
                                          • XML Database management system
                                          • Filemaker Pro
                                          • MATLAB
                                          • Hive
                                          • FORTRAN
                                          • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                                          • SAS

                                          2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                                          Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                                          Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                                          • Content Management System (CMS)
                                          • Google Analytics
                                          • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                                          • Email Marketing
                                          • Web Page Design
                                          • WordPress
                                          • Digital Media
                                          • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                                          • Campaign Management Software

                                          3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                                          A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                                          • Adobe Photoshop
                                          • Adobe InDesign
                                          • Adobe Illustrator
                                          • AutoCAD
                                          • CorelDRAW
                                          • Microsoft Visual Studio
                                          • Maya
                                          • Microsoft Word
                                          • Microsoft Publisher
                                          • Operating Digital Cameras

                                          4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                                          The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                                          To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                                          • HTML
                                          • C/C++
                                          • Java
                                          • Python
                                          • XML
                                          • UI/UX
                                          • LINUX
                                          • CISC and RISC architecture
                                          • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                                          • Memory Management
                                          • PCB Layout
                                          • SQL

                                          5. IT Troubleshooting

                                          Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                                          So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                                          • Backup management
                                          • Diagnostics
                                          • End User support
                                          • Client-Server management
                                          • Installation and configuration
                                          • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                                          • System administration
                                          • Tech support

                                          6. Enterprise Systems

                                          Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                                          Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                                          The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                                          Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                                          Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                                          Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                                          1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                                          a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                                          Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                                          Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                                          b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                                          This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                                          c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                                          Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                                          Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                                          2. Rule the Social Media World

                                          a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                                          Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                                          From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                                          b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                                          This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                                          c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                                          Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                                          Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                                          3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                                          a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                                          From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                                          b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                                          Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                                          The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                                          c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                                          The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                                          4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                                          a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                                          It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                                          From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                                          b. Canva Design School

                                          From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                                          c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                                          62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                                          d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                                          The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                                          Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                                          5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                                          a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                                          IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                                          It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                                          b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                                          The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                                          Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                                          The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                                          • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                                          • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                                          • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                                          • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                                          • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                                          • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                                          • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                                          Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                                          Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                                          1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                                          It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                                          Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                                          2. Work on Your Efficiency

                                          Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                                          For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                                          3. Look for Shortcuts

                                          Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                                          4. Apply for an Internship

                                          Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                                          By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                                          How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                                          So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                                          Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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