Writing is a creative and magical process. There’s no telling when inspiration will strike—or what unique conditions will help us access our creativity.
Over the centuries, writers have discovered what worked best for them—no matter how unusual. Agatha Christie penned her murder mysteries in the bathtub while eating apples and drinking tea. Gertrude Stein was known for writing on the go, sitting in her Model T with a pencil and notepad while her wife drove her around running errands.
As writers we’re always hunting for better ways to bust through writer’s block and channel our inner muse. So today we’re highlighting some of the wonderful ways modern technology can make your unique writing process quicker, easier, and more productive.
Do your best ideas come to you far from your computer—like in the shower, walking the dog, or driving to work? With a voice dictation app on your smartphone you’ll have an easy, hands-free way to record your ideas no matter where you get them. Simply speak into your phone and watch your words instantly appear as text. Check out Dragon Dictation for iPhone or Android.
Dictating your words, instead of typing them, can also be a great way to speed up your writing process and turn off your inner critic. Writing through dictation allows you to keep flowing with an idea and not overthink or fixate on specific words. If you’re ready to finally make it through your first draft, check out Dragon Naturally Speaking or the accurate (and free!) Google Docs Voice Recognition.
Conquering the Blank Page
Still waiting for your next brilliant idea? Staring down a blank page can induce terror and despair in the heart of any writer. Sometimes you need a little kickstart to get your words and inspiration flowing again.
Through the miracle of technology, you can now spark your creativity with writing prompts delivered straight to your smartphone or browser. Download Writing Prompts (Android) or Prompts – Beat Writers Block (iPhone) and get unstuck from the mire of the blank page!
And if you’re a creative writer feeling stuck in your short story or novel? Check out The Brainstormer—an interactive wheel for generating themes and plot lines. You’ll have your heroine back on her journey in no time. (Click here for Android or iPhone).
Once you finally sit down to write, why is it so difficult to stay writing? Distractions abound, especially when your writing device is also connected to the Internet.
The struggle is real. Lucky for you there’s a whole arsenal of distraction-fighting apps right at your fingertips.
Need a writing interface that’s free of distractions? Calmly gives you a blank canvas to pour out your thoughts.
Want to stay on task with the Pomodoro Technique? Check out Tomato Timer, a simple Pomodoro timer you can pause and reset, with preset timers for your “short” and “long” breaks.
For those of us who need more extreme motivation, there’s the writing interface Write or Die, whose infamous “Consequence Mode” triggers spine-chilling noises and a blood red screen whenever you stop typing. (You’ll get back to work just to make it stop!)
And if you need to escape the plague of app and Internet notifications . . . there’s an app for that too. Sign up for Freedom and block the Internet while you work.
Maybe your best work happens while sitting in a chair, or perhaps it’s while you’re standing (like Virginia Woolf), or lying down (like Truman Capote).
Whatever your peak position is, it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable. (If your chair is causing you crazy back pain, you won’t be writing for very long!) Fortunately, with the rise of office workers there’s been much advancement in ergonomic technology.
Ready to hop on the standing desk bandwagon? Here’s a roundup from inexpensive to fancy, or you can always DIY it with a stack of books or the latest IKEA hack.
For writing in bed or on your chaise lounge, stop trying to balance your laptop or notebook on a pillow and just get a lap desk.
And for those who love to sit: you can browse options for (affordable) ergonomic chairs here.
Organizing Your Writing
J.K. Rowling mapped out the plots of the Harry Potter books with elaborate diagrams. William Faulkner outlined the plot of The Fable directly on his office walls (don’t try this at home, kids).
Whether you’re weaving together the plot lines of your new novel, or sorting through ideas for your next blog post, your writing could probably benefit from some organization.
Organize your writing (and possibly your life) with Evernote, the ultimate app for organizing, well, everything. Or if you want templates and proven formulas for your next Facebook post or sales page, be sure to check out Airstory.
Getting Your Grammar in Tip-Top Shape
Okay, real talk: how could we write about tech to improve your writing and not mention Grammarly?!
With Grammarly as your editor, you can go with the flow of your creativity and let your inner muse run free. Let go of the paranoia that your writing will be littered with errors. Grammarly catches the errors and makes great suggestions for improving your writing.
And have you upgraded to Grammarly Premium yet? It includes vocabulary enhancement suggestions, genre-specific writing style checks, even more grammar and spelling checks, and a plagiarism detector that checks more than 8 billion web pages. Click here to supercharge your writing process.
We want to know: what are your favorite tech gadgets that make the writing process easier? Share in the comments section below!