Have you been playing the role of Jack?
I bet it must have been hard to keep up with all the projects for the first quarter of this year. As far as I’ve observed, January is all about momentum. For us writers, it’s the peak season because everyone’s back to business.
January is a productive month for me. I’m grateful that I’ve finished all the writing and marketing projects, and for February, there’s more to come. Consistency is one of the keys to maintain the momentum from last month.
Just like you, I don’t want to cram neither procrastinate, but frankly, it’s challenging to keep up with our clients and editorial board without tools and apps to boost our productivity and squeeze the creative juices.
Here are my top 14 apps I often use that serve as my productivity boosters for daily writing stints and even the days when I battle against resistance. I’d like to share them, and I hope that you will find some gems you can use, too.
AP Stylebook 2013
AP Stylebook 2013 is a stylebook for writers, journalists, editors, students and anyone in public relations professionals. It’s a guide for proper usage, spelling, grammar, and journalistic style of writing. I’ve been using this since 2012 (2012 version is separately sold), making sure that I’m updated with the terms and usage of words for news writing. Know the rules first before you break them, as the saying goes. You can have it for $24.99. It’s a hefty price for an app though, but in essence, it’s a great investment for writers.
Expand your vocabulary with Biscuit app. You can search for the word and add it in your box, or if you can’t find it, you may add an entry and the definition. It’s one of the most effective ways to learn new words via flashcards or word lists with a dictionary available in different languages. You can sync and transfer the files with Dropbox and Evernote. This is a must-have for writers. You can download Biscuit for free.
Tapnik’s app is probably one of the underrated apps that deserve praises. It’s a tactile tool for creative minds where you can combine random words and phrases that serve as your inspiration when crafting stories, plots, and events. Whether you’re looking for subjects to write or new ideas to squeeze the creative juices, this app is for you. If you believe in writer’s block, The Brainstormer is the remedy; you can purchase it for $1.99.
I recommend this app since most of us stay for longer periods in front of the computer screen. Exercise your eyes for 10 minutes or during break time to keep them healthy and alleviate eye problems. Just stare on the iPad screen and follow the yellow dot’s movement. You can try Eye Exerciser for free or unlock the other levels and programs for $2.99.
Life Charge Journal
I use Life Charge to record my daily ups and downs. I list down all the positive and negative things that happened for the day, realizing that there are many reasons to be thankful despite the downsides. Each positive entry is equivalent to certain number of points—3,6,9. It depends on how you rate the “charge.” Life Charge Journal is available for free. Hopefully they will integrate Dropbox. My previous entries were deleted because I didn’t export them in CSV file.
English Idioms Illustrated
One rule of thumb when writing web content—which I already broke—is the use of idioms. It cheapens the quality of content, and frankly, web writers and bloggers are unconsciously including them in their write-ups. The app comes with comics and illustrations to show the origin and context of an idiom. I use this app to remind me of the expressions and phrases that I should avoid. English Idioms Illustrated is a freemium app with idiom bundles via in-app purchases.
Phrasal Verbs Machine
Consistent study and practice of the craft itself improves our writing style and voice. With this app, you’ll be learning more of the phrasal verbs in visuals, which stick to your memory. Avoid rickety sentences. Learn how to use the phrasal verbs in a creative way—with fancy cartoons and entertaining music until you get a perfect score. You can download Phrasal Verbs Machine for free (iPad only).
It’s one of the most comprehensive productivity and organizer apps I’ve ever tried. After testing its nooks and crannies, I realized that I’ve got everything I need in this app; from tasks, to-do lists to appointments, schedules, and meetings, it’s all in there. It is cumbersome and intimidating at first since it has many functionalities and categories. I suggest you spend a few days to learn the features. Trust me, it’s worthwhile. As the name itself, it covers almost your life’s topics—fitness, health, entertainment, work, and more. LifeTopix is available for $4.99.
I fell in love with Reverb when I first tested it for an app review. It’s one of the best news feed app I ever used so far, and I’m keeping it. Whether you’re searching for a topic, interests, or keywords, it’ll show you the latest news and updates on its stellar interface. Discover, read, share, and collect news in this app. It’s a must-have for content curation; it has real-time news, and you can share the updates via Facebook or Twitter. You can download Reverb (for iPad only) for free.
Bai Wei’s app features Beethoven’s symphonies—Symphony 1 to 9—in a playlist. If you’re fond of classics, I recommend this app. You can play the app while writing, giving you that sense of creativity with the ebb and flow of the symphonies that trigger your brain to produce more ideas. Beethoven Symphonies is available for $1.99.
Relax Melodies (Lite)
The app mimics the sounds of nature—ocean waves, river flowing, bird chirping, and a whole lot of relaxing and Zen music to end your day after long hours of working. I also use the brainwaves sounds that help me focus while writing. Relax Melodies (Lite) is available for free.
Evernote has always been my partner when taking down notes, whether it’s a blurb I need to remind myself, a list of grocery items I need to buy, or quotes from the books I read. It has notebooks to organise all the items I needed. What’s more is that instead of jotting down the info from a business card, I simply take a photo of it, and it automatically saves the image. What I like about Evernote is that it’s available in all the platforms I use—iOS, Mac, and Android—and that it automatically syncs the info across the devices. You can download Evernote for free.
Prompts is a must have for writers. It simply gives you a prompt that you can continue to write about and export to Evernote, Email, Day One, and social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. Surely, you won’t run out of ideas when you start with these prompts. Prompts app is free to download.
This is my ever-faithful journal app where all my secrets and thought-provoking ideas are kept. It syncs all my notes across iOS and Mac. Anytime, I can write an entry whether using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Simplicity is elegance: that’s why I love using it. Day One is available in iOS app store for $4.99.
What do you think of my list? Any suggestions? Feel free to share them below.