As 2018 comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about big picture items like workflow and goals I want to set in the new year. This led me to consider the digital and “analog” tools I’ve been using and whether they are really working for me.
Here is a brief overview of 5 apps I use for writing. Each app has improved my writing workflow.
If you need to outline articles and book chapters before you write them, you should check out OmniOutliner.
What I love most: It’s intuitive to use.
I can create new sections and subsections with ease by using the "enter" and "tab" keys on my keyboard.
Here’s a screenshot of the outline I created for my first book chapter. Each subsection contains the books and articles I want to consult and where I will find them.
Scrivener is “a powerful content-generation tool for writers." It excels at helping you compose and structure large writing projects.
Scrivener is a great first draft tool. I use it to compose all of my first drafts: blog posts, articles, and book chapters.
What I love most: the ability to outline my work, focus on its individual parts, and reorganize those parts as needed.
I also love the ability to add notes and reminders about my project in a separate window to the right side of my document.
Price: $45 (Google Search for a coupon. Affiliates often have codes for 20% off.)
Zotero is an easy-to-use tool that helps researchers collect, organize, cite, and share their research.
Zotero makes writing easier because it to automagically formats the bibliographic information you collect into the citation format of your choice.
Zotero can also generate a bibliography for your document.
What I love most: Automatic citation formatting and bibliography generation. These functions save me a lot of time.
GoogleDrive allows you to create. organize, and store files in the cloud.
You can use Drive to create documents, spreadsheets, survey forms, PowerPoint/Keynote-like presentations, and drawings.
Google allows you to create and store all of your GoogleDrive files and up to 15GB worth of e-mail and non-Drive files for free.
What I love most: Ubiquity and Zotero compatibility.
I can access my files from GoogleDrive whether I am at my computer or on my smartphone.
I can also use and create Drive files while offline. (You must setup this feature.)
Finally, Zotero is compatible with Drive.
Just drag and drop your citations from Zotero into your footnote/endnote field. Zotero will automagically create the citation in your preferred citation format, which you select in the Zotero ‘Preferences->Export’ menu.
Price: Free, Extra file storage starts at $1.99/month for 100GB.
If you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, check out ‘Characters.’
Characters creates a drop down menu in your top menu bar. From there you can scroll through and select the special character you need. After you click on the character you want, just paste it into your writing. (Keyboard shortcut for paste: ⌘ V)
What I love: I no longer have to hunt for the symbols menu or remember the keyboard shortcuts for £, é, ø, or ã.
Characters also has a ‘Most Used’ section at the top of its menu, which it will populate based on the characters you select the most.
What Do You Think?
What is your favorite writing app? Why do you love it?