by Niki Turner
Can you imagine writing an entire novel by hand? Even using a manual typewriter seems ponderous and painful these days. As computers literally shrink to fit in our hands, and new software applications (aka apps) spring onto the market faster than category romances, we rely on those handy-dandy apps for more and more activities. Sesame Street even made a song about it. (Yes, that Muppet in the bike helmet appears to have a goatee.)
I have an app for calorie counting and an app for making to-do lists on my iPhone. My husband keeps track of his construction jobs, supplies and hours to sync with his accounting software.
My son-in-law uses an app to calculate the Ph balance and needed additives for the pool where he works. My daughter has an app on her smart phone to keep track of the quantity and quality of dirty diapers my grandson makes.
Yep, there's even an app for poop.
Diapers aside (thank goodness) apps can be incredibly helpful in our high-speed society. Even if you don't have a smart phone, there are apps for your computer desktop, too. Here are a handful of suggested apps for writers and other creative types. Most of these are for Apple products, but similar apps are likely to be available for other platforms. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the range of possibilities out there!
Who hasn't had a fabulous snippet of dialogue, or a plot idea, or a great name for a new character, appear in your head while you are driving down the highway? The free Dragon app records your speech using voice recognition software and then texts or emails it to you.
From the folks at How Not To Write, this little app with it's old-fashioned typewriter icon offers writing accountability on your phone. Very helpful for Nanowrimo participants.
For the iPhone and for the web, My Writing Nook offers a convenient way to jot down a few quick paragraphs while you're waiting for a kid to get out of soccer practice, or standing in line at the grocery store. I'm not sure how much writing I could get done on my tiny iPhone screen, but I'd use this in places I didn't want to be heard talking to my Dragon!
Unlike the previous apps, Evernote is available across a number of platforms. This organizational software app has been praised by publishing guru Michael Hyatt, as well as many others. Think of Evernote as your traditional writer's notebook on steroids. Record text, photos, even voice memos, that you can access from your phone, your computer, or the web. Terrific potential for those research trips! If you want more details about using Evernote as a writer, check out Michael Hyatt's post on the subject.
Social networking is both boon and bane to the lonely writer staring at a computer screen. Sure, just a few minutes to check your Facebook status, and you'll get right back to that difficult scene that's giving you fits, right? Focus Writer offers a distraction-free writing environment. (No, it won't make your kids, dog, or husband disappear.) My favorite feature? The typewriter sounds.
Today's question: If you could have an app for anything (one that doesn't already exist) what would it be?
Niki Turner writes romantic fiction, Christian non-fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, lengthy grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. Her first completed manuscript won second place in the 2009 Touched By Love contest for contemporary category romance. Colorado natives, Niki and her husband of 20+ years have four children (three at home) and are new grandparents to a baby boy. In 1998 they planted a church in rural northwestern Colorado. Currently, they share their home with three teenage boys, two black Lab mutts, and Niki’s absurdly spoiled Westie, Archie. Niki can be found at In Truer Ink, her personal blog and website, here at Inkwell Inspirations, and at The Pastor’s Wife Speaks.