The biggest thing that sucks about being a writer today is all the constant distractions. It’s easy for writers today to have quite the love hate relationship with technology. In the spirit of making life as a 21st century writer a little easier, here are my 5 favorite tools for writers to help you become more organized and more productive.
1. Better Notes
I found better notes on a whim, looking for someplace interesting to keep my writing ideas. It’s super simple–not unlike your average note-taking app, but so much easier to navigate. The unique thing about Better Notes is the hashtag feature. I really like being able to # an idea for a novel or specific story I have and I can easily go back and see all of my notes on the topic. You also have the ability to search and add photos to your notes.
2. yWriter 6
If like me, you are a fan of open source alternatives to paid programs, then you may have stumbled across this one at some point. yWriter is one of the most well known alternatives to the novel composition app Scrivener. I’ve tested just about every open source novel writing software out there, but nothing beats yWriter. It’s got all the features you need to really help organize your novel.
One day, I was sitting down wracking my brain for a good name for a character I was writing. But for the life of me, nothing was coming. So I did what any tech savvy twenty something would do, I took to Bing (I get free bing rewards okay! Seriously, it’s better than Google anyways). Sick of scrolling through baby naming sites, I somehow stumbled upon the perfect alternative, Nymbler. Unlike your average baby naming sites, Nymbler auto generates name suggestions and allows you to favorite the ones you prefer and block the ones you don’t like. Then it auto generates new names based off of your name preference. It’s perfect—especially for those minor characters that have you thinking, “Shit. . .should I just go with Jim?”
This one isn’t really a writing tool, but it’s definitely the best website I’ve found that breaks down the Myers–Briggs personality types so well. For anyone who wants to write more authentic characters, I highly recommend learning more about your character’s personality. 16 Personalties does a fantastic job at covering all the bases that the majority of sites on Myers-Briggs themed websites miss.
This last one may make you feel as though you’ve jumped into a time machine, but I really should start demanding a commission on this one because I keep recommending them to writers and they keep buying them. A couple years ago, there was a Kickstarter campaign for a new state of the art typewriter to help writers stay free of distractions. I was really excited about the product and eager when they finally put it on the market. My enthusiasm was quickly dampened however, when I saw they were trying to sell the thing for a whopping $550. Um… I think I will take a brand new computer with an i5 processor and 8gb of ram for that price instead. And that’s where the Alphasmart Neo 2 came in. In the Facebook comments announcing the astronomical price of the Freewrite typewriter, someone mentioned the Alphasmart Neo 2. I searched it on Amazon and purchased one for $50. It’s great for writing without distractions and transferring to your computer is super simple.