Writer Apps Beyond Note Taking
If you’re a writer, you probably already have your favorite note taking apps or apps to help you manage your writing process. I’m not talking about those.
I’m talking about apps that, if you’re a day-in-and-day-out, I-work-with-words-every-moment-I’m-awake kind of writer, should improve your daily life.
** Note: these reviews are neither paid nor solicited and are my honest opinions after using these apps for at least one year each. I am not affiliated with the developers or anyone affiliated with them.
Writer App No. 1: Desk Stretch
I have carpal tunnel. It’s a constant thing. I wake up in pain, and I go to bed in pain, and I just try to manage it every moment between.
Desk Stretch helps me do that. Choose from a series of wrist and hand stretches, set a time interval, and let the app help ease the pain in your day. Every so often (I set mine for an hour), you’ll get a notification reminding you to break for 5 minutes. Then, the app leads you through the stretches, which can greatly reduce the tension that builds up throughout the day.
I used to have an app called “Handsaver” that was even better, but I can’t find it in the app store anymore. Moment of silence.
Writer App No. 2: Etymology Explorer
Why do we raise cows but eat beef? And we raise sheep but prepare mutton. But then, Why are fish and goat the same words for both the meat and the animal?
English is weird. Very weird sometimes. And, appropriately, it’s considered the most difficult language to learn, next to Mandarin.
Sometimes, as a writer, it can be helpful to look up the root origins of words. Because English is a Germanic language heavily influenced by French (which is Romantic – coming from ancient Roman, aka Latin) as well as the many localized languages absorbed around the world through trade and colonialism.
Consider: pyjamas is a Turkish word. But most English speakers never think where the words for their pjs came from. Of course, pjs aren’t the same as lingerie, which is a French word with different context. Although, if you were a non-native speaker, you might think, “Well. They both mean ‘sleep clothes’, right?”
Etymology Explorer is a writer app that helps you find out where words come from, and how they might be related to other words. Connections between pieces of language tell their own stories, and a picky writer learns how to choose words to layer storytelling into each sentence.
Writer App No. 3: Power Thesaurus
If you’ve written or edited more than a few hundred pages, you will have noticed the shortcomings of thesaurus.com.
Don’t get me wrong. It works fine most of the time. But maybe you’re looking for that $5 word, that esoteric, academic word; or maybe you’ve got a phrase that describes something, and you know there’s a single word for it, but you just can’t think of it; or maybe, you’ve got the feeling of the word you want, but nothing is quite hitting home.
(Is it just me? Am I the only person who battles the thesaurus this way? 🤯)
Power Thesaurus is a better app for writers. Especially if you have the time. As an open source software, it has its drawbacks, but overall it’s user friendly and never fails to provide hundreds of options for whatever you type in. The results are alphabetical, which can help you stumble across that “aha” moment if you have the time and patience to scroll through hundreds of synonyms in alphabetical order. (Beware of chasing the dragon: “the perfect one will be on the next page…”)
It also has an antonyms listing, and it’s easy to glide from one concept to the next.
On Google Play
Writer App No. 4: Orphic
Orphic means fascinating or entrancing. And it is. This app is full of weird and wonderful words. What more can you ask for? This app offers a Word of the Day that is truly off the wall and an easy accessibility to search for quirky, elusively rare, and overly precise words. Say no more.
Boost Writing Power, Boost Productivity
The golden state of productivity is a daily dream. A humming moment of focus, when the muse sits on your shoulder and the words appear on the page with very little effort. It’s sublime.
I hope these suggestions of apps for writers can help you get there.