Tag Archives: apps

My top writer phone apps

I finally updated to an iPhone 7 Pro from the iPhone 4S. The size difference is considerable. I thought it would bother me more, but between the much improved camera and larger screen (my eyes are not so great) I’m adapting quickly to it.

So I though I’d share with you some of my top apps that I think writers might like;

mswordMS Word app– A full word processor, I would also note this does not include the fonts you would have on your laptop/desktop computer. You can however open and save DOC files, typing up novels no matter where you are at the time.

Cost: Trial period for 30 days then various monthly cost with Office 365 subscription. This is $6.99 – $99.99 depending on which plan. I already have a subscription so this was free for me.

openofficeOpenOffice App– Unlike  MS Word, this app includes the ‘suite’ of Openoffice software. This means you get the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation elements of OpenOffice.

Cost: $5.99. This is a flat cost not subscription.

googledocGoogle Docs is a free word processor app that connects to your Google Drive account. This connects to your Google account, so links with the Google Drive.

Cost: Free

***The iPhone comes with a robust Notes app already installed.

 

iDeasiDeas for Writing is a fun app that helps you with ideas with prompts. This includes First Lines, Title, Character, and Five Words. I’ve used this my writers group. The app looks good, provide ideas, workshop (writing techniques challenges), and a built-in notebook so you can jot down ideas or take on the writing prompts.

Cost: $2.99 for the app.

storyplanner

Story Planner enables you to outline plots, characters, locations, scenes, and more. This exports to Scrivener, Final Draft, into PDF or DOCX formats, or just plain text. This app syncs with iCloud so your work is backed up,

Cost: $3.99

Writer Lists includes tons of lists for ideas. You can pick names, roles, body types, appearance, personalities, plots, setting, and more.  I use this to look up elements of a story or browse for ideas.

Cost: $2.99

canvaCanva is the official Canva.com app. Here, you can create designs such as book covers, but also design graphics for Facebook, web sites, Twitter, business cards, and more.  You can create an entire media kit for your author brand.  You can save designs as PDF or PNG formats.

Cost: Free

What are your favorite apps? Ever considered writing a novel with your smartphone? Comment below.

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Sitting versus running (from Zombies)

blogzombiesI spend a lot of time on the computer. I’m self employed with my business, Learnthepc.net, so I spent time working on web sites, templates, consulting, and sometimes computer repair (remotely). I also work on graphics, web design, blogging, and writing. This means a lot of sitting.

There are studies on the dangers of sitting too much. One can assume this includes work related sitting as much as school related sitting, and writers tend to also sit while they work their craft. The studies indicate that sitting

The American Medical Association (AMA) agrees that sitting for extended periods of time can be bad for personal health. Click here to read more details, and the sources of the information.

So I’ve found some tips and tricks to help get moving that might help, that are either free or low cost;

Use reminders to get up and move. Getting a program or reminder app to get you moving helps with keeping the blood flow.

facetopFadetop.com provides a nice (free) program that periodically reminds you to get up and move without shutting you out of your work.

You can also use your Smart Phone to set off alarms every so often to remind you get away and move around a bit. Set this under the Reminder app, or use the alarm app.

Get a treadmill or use the one you have. What you see here in the picture is a shelf to attach to the treadmill to walk while using the PC. Please remember to walk 2 mph or at a slow pace so as not to trip and hurt yourself.

You can also find furniture to accommodate a treadmill, or you can also buy treadmills specific to being a desk and treadmill in one. They even have stationary bike desk ($299) as well. The desk itself is rather simple. I can see you could make one out of wood or PVC pipe as well.

DIY Treadmill Desk

DIY Desk via Instructables

DIY Treadmill from PVC

Dictate your writing. Whether you use your Smart Phone, MP3 recorder, or just an old fashioned tape player, dictate your writing to transcribe later while you take a walk around the block, or even step in place.

Use Text-to-Speech software (just so you know, Windows already has this feature built in.)

How to use Dictation on Smart phone and tablets.

Use an activity tracker. I prefer Fitbit Flex over the many trackers out there, and you could use an iPhone app as well (see below). The idea is that you are moving, and seeing how much you move throughout the day.

Fitbit Flex – ($100) This activity trackers tracks all steps, even if you walk in place. While playing Skyrim, I clocked over an mile. Each time my character ‘walked’, I would stand up and step side to side. I could feel it, too. (Imagine how fit I would be if it counted Dragon killing!).

striivStriiv iPhone App– (free) This was entertaining because it includes a little game in the app. While you walk, you turn on the app. It starts counting steps. More steps and you earn more ‘energy’ or ‘coins’ to use in the game that builds a little village. You can get the Striiv activity tracker, but I just used the app by itself.

zombiesrunZombies! Run app (iPhone and Android)- Imagine having to run to get away from zombies! This app provides a story you listen to, where you play a ‘runner’ gathering supplies for a village. You periodically get a warning of zombies in the area, and must increase your activity to get away.

So get up and move! Your body will thank you.

Like this post? Please like, share, and comment to let me know. Feel free to also comment with your own tips on moving and being healthy (as a writer).

 

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A Productivity Tip

AWJ Productivity TIps

Since I am a person who can get easily distracted, I’ve been trying some new techniques with focusing for productivity. The goal is to find some methods that will help train my brain to stay on tasks for longer periods of time, as well as provide the breaks needed to avoid burnout.

CaptureProductivity Timer. I downloaded a Google Chrome browser extension called Strict Workflow. There are other timers that can shut off the use of distracting sites like Pinterest (my addiction) and Facebook. What I like is that you can program the extension for the time increment you want. I picked 25 minutes of work, 15 minutes for breaks. You can also edit the list of web sites.

When the extension is active, you are unable to view the distracting web sites until your break.

This extension also utilizes the Pomodoro Technique. You can read more about it at Productivity 101: A Primer to the Pomodoro Technique on Lifehacks.

Journal Record Keeping– Another tool to keep me focused is using a small notebook on my desk to keep track of everything I do. Although I have a to-do list, often through the day other things come up to either distract or demand my attention.

I write the distractions in red so I can return later in the day to work on them.  I write the demands in blue so I can see how much in the way of family, phone calls, business clients, volunteer groups, and other things in my life are also taking me away from my main objectives.

I also add post it notes for new tasks to do that can stick to my desk for a later time.

So far, I’m finding my days very productive, my brain getting more focused, and things are getting done.

What tips do you use to focus and get things done? Post in comments.

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My Top Favorite Writing Tools (other than word processors)

 

evernoteEvernote– You often find this site/application on many lists for productivity and organization. Basically, Evernote creates folders and stores files, synchronizing between computers, iPhone, Android, and tablets. Also includes a Google Chrome browser extension. Free but you can also get a premium service.

Uses for Evernote:

  • Store research notes by topic or even by the book you’re writing.
  • Create folders and use files for chapters.
  • Brainstorm ideas and store in folders

thesaurusThesaurus.com enables me to look the the right word, but also includes Dictionary, quotes, and even a translator. You can also download the smart phone app. Free

Uses for Thesaurus:

paperraterPaperRater.com– This is a nice service that grades your papers. You can add stories or articles, and check spelling, punctuation, word usage, and readability. Very easy to use and most of the service is free. They offer a premium package as well. No app or download. Free.

Uses for PaperRater:

  • Check spelling, punctuation, and word usage.
  • Check your readability stats.
  • Includes a vocabulary builder.

grammarlyGrammarly.com is a browser extension that checks your spelling and grammar no matter where you are in the browser. Free

Uses for Grammarly;

  • Check spelling and grammar in emails.
  • Check spelling/grammar in social media sites
  • Check posts with Grammarly

NaturalReader.com provides an online service where you can cut/paste text and have a voice read out loud. I found a number of tips on revising by reading your writing out loud. This can help with that; having the computer read it. Many voices, and accents to choose from. Includes online, PC/Mac download. Free and priced functions.

Uses for NaturalReader;

  • Cut/paste your writing to listen for flow and punctuations.
  • Use to listen to stories as an audio book

What are your favorite tools? Post in comments.

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