As a writer, you may be working harder than you need to if you are not using the available tools for your job. The old adage “there’s no need to reinvent the wheel” certainly applies to this situation. Have no fear, we’re here to help with eight writing tools that all writers should consider adding to their toolboxes.
Do you get writing inspiration from your daily life? You may jot notes on paper, but how often do you lose or forget about them? Your problem has a solution. The LiveScribe 3 smartpen uses Bluetooth technology to send your drawings and notes to your mobile device. The LiveScribe notebooks use a special pattern on its paper to accurately record your pen strokes, but you can also print single sheets for free with a laser printer. If you prefer to dictate notes, the pen also captures audio with a built-in microphone.
2 Computer Glasses
Everybody who uses a computer extensively is susceptible to eyestrain, but writers are especially at risk because of their frequent reading habits. According to the American Optometric Association, for symptoms such as blurry vision, light sensitivity, and burning or itchy eyes if you spend as little as two hours in front of a computer monitor. They also caution that the eyeglasses or lenses you normally use may not be adequate for heavy computer use. Ask your doctor about special lenses, coatings, and tints.
3 Ergonomic desks and chairs
The ideal placement of a computer screen is about four to five inches below eye level and at least twenty inches from your face. Standing desks promote productivity, but a good chair can also contribute to efficiency. Choose a chair that is comfortable and provides back and arm support. Staples, an office furniture distributor, explains that ergonomic chairs should be fitted to the body dimensions of the user, thereby reducing “strain and muscle tension.”
Of course, we couldn’t list our favorite writing tools without mentioning Bloggr! The app does more than identify grammar and spelling mistakes; it provides deep explanations of grammar rules and suggested corrections. You can install Bloggr as an extension for Chrome, Safari, or Firefox web browsers for free, or check longer pieces of writing in Bloggr’s online text editor. Bloggr Premium, a paid service, checks for a wider variety of errors, detects plagiarism, and offers style and vocabulary enhancements.
5 Foldable Keyboards
Did you know you can type using your smartphone or tablet? Most writers would balk because of the impracticality of typing a long document on a tiny touchscreen. However, a foldable keyboard can enable you to get work done on the go. Bluetooth keyboards have been around for a while, but some people found them bulky and unmanageable because they were almost as big as a tablet. New foldable keyboards offer convenience in a small package. For example, the Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is just under twelve inches open, but it collapses down to under six inches when closed. Don’t throw out your laptop, though, because portable keyboards aren’t intended for extended use.
Contently hosts a wealth of resources for freelance writers, such as tips, job openings, and online portfolio hosting. For instance, the article “5 Red Flags to Look for in a Contract” explains the legal terms that might boggle a freelancer into a bad agreement. Contently also offers writing jobs on its website. Even if you don’t see a job that suits you today, you can create a free online portfolio to showcase your work to potential clients. The Contently algorithm will automatically search your portfolio and forward it if you match the skills required for a writing project.
Twords describes itself as “the web app that nudges you to write.” The app operates based on three principles—awareness, accountability, and consistency. Twords makes you aware of your writing habits by tracking how much you write each day and month. “Accountability buddies” notify you when you miss several days of writing. If you get writer’s block, you can consult a library of prompts, set a timer to challenge yourself to write for a specific amount of time, or read an article about the habits of successful authors.
Evernote is a software program that syncs digital items across all your devices. For example, suppose you are at the office and you want to consult a website that you viewed on your desktop last night at home. Or you are at the gym and you want to access a photograph or an email, but all you have is your smartphone. You can set up Evernote to monitor certain folders on your computers. Anything that you add to the folder is accessible from all your tech gadgets. You can even search your notes if you don’t remember where you saved something.
What’s your go-to writing tool? Let us know in the comments section of this post.