Staying sane with cool digital writing apps

07 Apr Staying sane with cool digital writing apps

I’m always looking for new ways to be smarter with what I do… because here’s the thing, writing takes time, often a long time.

And all this time we spend sitting at our desks is not good for our health, our bodies or our sanity.

I’m actually converting my workspace into a standing area – for when I’m doing emails – and a sitting area for when I’m writing in the creative zone. I now read standing up, too.

Sounds strange? I just can’t sit for hours and hours like I used to. My hip grumbles, my shoulders nag. My mind fogs up. (This could be another way of saying I’m getting old ☺)

So this year I’ve been refining how I work and part of that is to get smarter at it… in the hope that if I get things written quicker, I can spend more time doing the fun stuff.

As part of this I’ve incorporated a new verb into my writing vocabulary: ‘to spreadsheet.’ I know it’s ugly.

Writers are adverse to spreadsheets and Excel. They often avoid number crunching and cash flow analysis (I’m still working on that myself.)

Yes, Excel is fiddly to use and can be irritating but I’ve found spreadsheets are the best and cheapest way to get an overview of a project and drill down to the fine detail. They help you manage your writing, so useful if you’re working on several big projects at once.

I’ve also been road-testing some of the digital tools for writers. I’m not especially techno-minded but the following research apps help me get the job done quicker. A list of writing apps to follow soon.

5 handy compiling & research apps

  1. Simplenote – for the utter technophobe. Works across mobile, tablet & desktop. It also syncs with the writing software Scrivener. Free.
  2. Evernote – a more complex system that allows you to compile text, images, web links & anything else. Works across mobile, tablet & desktop. Very useful when you are working on a new project and collecting research. Free.
  3. Googlekeep – For the Google fans among us, this lets you keep a virtual record of your notes, pix, lists, URLs etc. Works via the web and on android. Free.
  4. Virtual Moleskin – for those who love the Moleskin notebook and want a virtual experience too. Essentially allows you to scan your handwritten notes directly into the iPhone or iPad app. Free.
  5. Easybib – allows you to create an easy bibliography. For iPhone, iPad & android. Hold your phone over a book barcode, it scans it and uploads the title. You can choose what bibliographic style you like – MLA, Chicago etc. – and export the list as a spreadsheet via email. Especially useful in bookshops / libraries and for more academic projects. Free.

Note: Most of these apps start free but do have cost-paying premium versions.

So what do you use to be more streamlined. Please, do share…