Four Essential Tools for the Modern Tech Writer
Long gone are the days of writing with a quill pen under glowing candlelight, or clacking at the keys of a typewriter — the game has changed! For writers around the world, technology has become a tool we can lean on for tips, tricks, spell checks and much more. In this post, we’ll offer up some awesome apps and resources for writers, from the must-haves to the motivational.
Grammarly is spellcheck on steroids. This handy dandy extension adds itself seamlessly to your system to not only provide a stellar spellchecker, but also corrective tips on grammar, punctuation and questionable sentence structure.
Grammarly intuitively scans text for both common and complex grammatical mistakes, making it easy to for you to catch things you may have missed. It also provides detailed explanations for your mistakes and sends weekly progress reports that show improvements and results, helping you identify problem areas or bad habits.
All in all, a good tool to have for any writer.
Write or Die
This one is for the procrastinator in all of us, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Hilariously conceived by “Dr. Wicked” Write or Die forces you to put the pedal to the metal when it comes to getting your work done.
If you pause too long or don’t meet your timed goal, you’ll pay the price through unpleasant consequences.
You can customize your experience in different modes and actions, including “Kamikaze Mode” which starts erasing your writing if you pause too long between words, or “Startle Mode” which will emit terrible sounds if you don’t meet your timed deadline.
For those who look for positive reinforcement instead of threats, Write or Die also has a Reward Mode that shows you pleasant images and a Visual Stimulus feature that applies a peaceful background image in the text field.
Tried and true since its days as a literal tactile book with real pages, the Thesaurus is, has been and always will be a writers best friend. Describing something to its fullest potential can often fall flat without a bit of poetry, and usually it’s just a matter of adding one or two zingy words to the mix.
Simply type your a word in and take your pick from a plethora of parallel words to punch up your paragraph. Thesaurus.com also comes in handy for naming purposes — try plugging in words that describe your company, product or initiative and create a list of all your favorites. You can then match them up to find an unexpected combination that makes an impact.
It’s also great for getting past writer’s block!
Pomodoro Timer Apps
There are plenty of these on the market, and they can be quite effective for keeping you on task. The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Carrillo in the 1980s.
It’s a time management tool that separates work into intervals of 25 minutes each, punctuated by short breaks. It’s shown that using this method increases mental agility, and by including frequent breaks, makes you feel less daunted by the task at hand.
You can add a free desktop timer to Mac or Windows with Tomightly or simply download one of many app options to your phone.
We’ve had luck with Focus Keeper, a customizable timer app that allows you to do decide how long you want to work and how long your breaks are. The traditional Pomodoro method recommends 25 minute work blocks interspersed with 5 minutes breaks.