We all know how difficult it is to find the right tools to get our writing done without hours of time wasted on distractions.
I’ve tried a lot of different tools and apps. They come in various levels of complexity and functionality. I realised that the key to being a productive writer lies in the tools you use to optimise two main tasks: writing and researching.
This is obvious to any writer or blogger, but when you’re trying to decide on and stick with tools to use for your work, it’s easy to be distracted from what you really need for these two tasks. Simplicity is key.
I have found two apps that I believe will not only work well for your needs as a writer but will help you stay focused on the goal – getting the work done. No frills, no distractions. These apps are simple, free, and have the features you need. I stick with them because they’re available for desktop and mobile devices, have sync functionality, and are aesthetically pleasing.
It may not be the best or most feature-packed writing app, but Simplenote does the important stuff well. For a writer, that means it prompts you to get to writing as quickly as possible.
You can’t waste time customising because it doesn’t have those options but, don’t worry, it already looks great. You can add tags to your entries to keep all your writing organised. It’s available on desktop and mobile devices and it has sync functionality which means you can take your work everywhere just like a notebook.
Need to sit down at your desktop and write a draft or your morning words? Perfect, Simplenote’s got you covered.
Out and about and need to write down an idea, a snippet of conversation, or continue working on your draft? No problem, Simplenote’s got your back.
Whether you’re writing a blog post, a journal entry, or getting down an idea, you can do it all with Simplenote. No need to carry around a writer’s notebook or keep a separate journal, all your writing is in one place backed up on multiple devices. Worried about privacy on your mobile device? Don’t, the Simplenote mobile app has a lock feature.
Simplenote keeps everything simple so you can focus on getting the words out.
For Researching / Bookmarking
Every writer needs to do research from time to time. We also need to keep track of our sources and inspiration.
Since we mostly use the internet for this, it helps to have an app to store the content we find with its source information. While all our browsers have bookmarking features exactly for this purpose, you may want something that comes with a few more options and functions.
I like to be able to save web content in its original form with its url address but with additional features like tagging for organisation and text highlighting to remember quotes and angles.
This is why I choose Pocket. I also use it for its intended purpose: to save articles for later reading. If I like them or need them for research, I keep them. Pocket is available for desktop (as a browser plugin) and on mobile devices, so no matter where you are, you can always pocket what you find.
Pocket & Social Networking
Another great feature is that Pocket can also be a social network. You can choose to recommend content which shares it on your public profile and with your followers. You can follow other people and see the content they recommend. You could share your own content in this way and reach a wider audience.
But, if you want to use Pocket privately, you can. The stuff you pocket goes to your list and your list is always private. You have to recommend content for it to appear on your public profile. So the choice is yours, private or social bookmarking.
Pocket & Kobo
A major bonus of Pocket is that it’s integrated with Kobo e-readers. You may or may not be using a dedicated e-reader for your digital reading, but I live by them. I use a Kobo Aura H2O which comes with Pocket loaded. You log into your account, sync your list, and you’ve got your Pocket list on your Kobo e-reader for later or offline reading. This is especially useful on long-haul flights.
Pocket’s interface and functionality is everything I need to store, read, and share content I find online. This, together with the tagging and text highlighting feature, make Pocket the perfect bookmarking and research tool.
Simplenote and Pocket are all you really need to maintain a daily writing habit and keep all your inspiration organised and in one place.