Science + Tech

7 Digital Resources and Software Every Writer Needs

Like every activity, industry, job, and passion, the rise of technology has done great things for writers. In the olden days, writers would be stuck by candlelight, writing away, in their own little world. It’s a romantic image, sure, but how enjoyable would it be to do your work that way, in reality? We’re going to say…not that great. With technology, writers are able to work better, more efficiently, more creatively, just more everything. Below, we’ll be taking a look some of the essential software and online resources should have. They’ll all do their part to improve your writing process.

Cloud Storage

Did you ever hear the story about Hemingway’s first novel? His wife was bringing it to him as a surprise, but then promptly left it on a train. In those days, there was nothing that could be done: it was lost forever, and Ernest was crushed. In today’s world, we have no such concerns, providing you take the appropriate steps. Cloud storage has to be just about the greatest gift that a writer could ask for. Even if the laptop that contains your writing somehow gets dropped out of an airplane, you’ll be able to retrieve the text simply by logging into your cloud storage account. You’ll want to ensure that you’re regularly uploading fresh copies of your work so that you’re also up to date.

Taking Notes

Very writers simply dive into the lengthy and complicated task of producing an outstanding work of art. It takes many months, sometimes years, of creating notes, conducting research, and fleshing out characters before the novel is written. For this part, you’ll want to have a note-taking system such as Evernote. This will allow you to put any idea that pops into your head down onto digital paper, where it’ll be safely stored forever. The layout, ease of use, security, and accessibility means Evernote is a trusted tool for writers.

For Writing

But of course, while the research part is important, it’s the writing part where the magic really happens. For this, you’ll need to have a modern word processor that has all the handy tricks that make writing a smoother process, such as the ability to add comments to sections, cross through words, and other essential aspects that’ll contribute to the writing process. The go-to option for many writers is Microsoft Word, especially the 2013 version. If you don’t yet have it, you can download the software, then use an MS Office 2013 product key to unlock all the features. There are other word processors available, but there’s a reason why Microsoft’s offering has remained so popular — it just keeps on delivering the goods.

Online Feedback

You’re not the only person involved in the writing process. To ensure that everything is as good as it could be, you’ll need to get feedback from people that understand what good writing is, who are supportive, and will offer constructive criticism. Here, the internet is your friend. There are a lot of website forums aimed specifically at writers that you should make the most of; they’ll be useful at every step of the process, from the idea formation to the final product. Of course, it’s possible to become too reliant on the advice of others, so remember that ultimately this is your text, nobody else’s. This should be a give and take arrangement too. In helping others, you’ll be contributing to the community and also improving your own text — nothing pushes us forward like identifying the flaws in other people’s work.

The Hemingway App (and Others)

Of course, you can’t expect a bunch of internet strangers to do everything for you. They’re not going to have the time to go through all of your errors! Fortunately, there is software and websites that can. One of the most popular is the Hemingway app, named, of course, after the famous author. He was famous for his short and snappy sentences, and it’s in this fashion that the app judges other people’s writing. Upload your work, and you’ll be given a score. From there, you can look at editing your work. Another is Grammarly; it’s similar, but looks for a few different errors. Like with the online communities, you shouldn’t take their suggestions as gospel. It’ll point out if a sentence may be considered too long, but that doesn’t mean that it should be cut. You’re trying to bring your writing to life, and sometimes that involves breaking the rules.

How to Research

The difference between a good and great piece of work isn’t always the quality of the writing. It’s the amount of research that went into the work. A work that’s heavy on verified, factual information will be valued more highly than a text that’s full of generalizations. To ensure that you’re falling into the former camp, you’ll need to do extensive research using Google. It’s about more than simply entering a term and hitting search — it’s about knowing how to use Google to an advanced level. You’ll come up with more interesting information compared to a search that just results in following the top result.

Starting a Blog

There are more people than ever trying to promote their writing, and that means that competition is fierce. If you’re going to stand out from the crowd, then you’ll need to market yourself well. As a writer, one of the best ways to do this is to start a blog. You’ll be able to publish small examples of your work, and generate followers and buzz. By the time it comes to launching your first book, you’ll already have a list of people who are interested in your writing style. It takes next to no time to get a blog underway. Make it look good, publish your best pieces, and use your social media channels to promote it.

With the above tools in your arsenal, you’ll be on your way to becoming a bona fide published writer in no time (well, not no time, but…soon).

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