Louis L’Amour famously said: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on”. It’s sound advice and he should know, having written and published over 100 novels, 250 short stories, and sold over 350 million copies of his books.
But, anybody who’s ever been faced with a blank page and an even blanker mind will be glad to know nowadays, like most pursuits, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are thousands. So, what is the best software for writers?
1. Writing Challenge
Inspiration is a fickle friend. Sometimes it’s there exactly when you need it. Other times it’s determined to hide from you until the deadline has – in the words of Douglas Adams – whooshed by. If you’re struggling for ideas try the Writing Challenge App. It provides thousands of different idea combinations to get your creative juices – and your words – flowing.
Once you’ve had your moment of inspiration you might need to do some research. Research is essential for fleshing out the idea for a book, an essay, or even a simple listicle like this one. To gather your research in one place try Evernote. Evernote lets you store inspirational web pages, save images and make notes. Basically, it’s like Ernest Hemmingway’s Moleskine notebook except online and without the rum stained pages.
Once you’ve got all your ideas, you might need to sort them into something that actually makes sense. Twenty years ago, we might have used a wall full of Post-its. Nowadays though we have MindNode. MindNode helps you take all your thoughts and arrange them into a clear, visual diagram. It’s great for plotting or organizing essays, and unlike Post-it notes, it’s free.
Sometimes it seems like there are more word processing apps than there are words themselves. It’s really a matter of picking the right tool for the right job. If you’re writing huge, formatted documents, a big beast like Microsoft Word might be the ticket. Likewise, sometimes it’s nice to keep it simple with a text editor like Apple’s TextEdit.
The formatting options are nonexistent and it doesn’t have any features, but at least you won’t get distracted by dithering over which font to use. For novelists, at least, there seems to be a go to app. It’s called Scrivener and it does pretty much everything apart from come up with the actual words. Sadly, you’ll still need to do that yourself.
We all struggle with grammar now and then. If your writing depends on perfection, then Grammarly might be the software for you. It’s an online grammar checker but throw in its spell checking, and plagiarism detection and you have all the reasons why it’s one of the most widely used writing tools available. Everybody has a pedantic friend who loves to correct you when you make a mistake. Grammarly is like him. Except not nearly as annoying.
Finally, something you might not be expecting. You don’t need to drink coffee to be writer but for some of us it really helps to have a caffeine boost to help us focus our minds before we put fingers to keyboard to bash out our best-selling novel, first class essay, or prize-winning listicle. If coffee is going to be part of your working day then you might as well make sure it’s good coffee. That’s what Kohi is for.
So now you know some of the best software for writers available there’s really no excuse to not “Start writing”. When you’ve finally finished, and you want 350 million people to read your work, then you might need some self-publishing software for that too.