I have just come out of an excited webinar about writing faster with best-selling non-fiction author Michael Hyatt last night when I realised how many tech tools he employed on a regular basis in his writing schedule. Most were apps that you’d probably encountered in the app stores, but there were a few other mentions I had no idea about. Hence my excitement.
So, during the month of March, I decided to test some of these apps highly recommended by Hyatt for writers, bloggers and aspiring novelists interested in publishing a book. Some tools are a godsend for capturing ideas and increasing your productivity, others offer a viable platform to publish and share your message/book, and a few others assist with research and inspiration when needed.
When it comes to writing and blogging, I have a list of apps that I rely on more frequently than others. I do find it intimidating and stressful whenever I have to juggle too many apps and software, so I try to keep the number of apps I use to a minimum. Tough, but not impossible.
Below is my list of favourite apps that I regularly use in the writing and publishing process, including a few I have just started using. Perhaps you can find some of these useful if you haven’t tried them yet. You can find most of these apps on both Apple and Android app stores.
Evernote. Yes, I have known about Evernote for a while, and I must shamefully admit that I didn’t give it too much credit beyond an everyday ‘to-do’ list. But at Michael’s recommendation, I decided to take a closer look. Evernote is much more than your daily note taker, and a great productivity tool for bloggers and writers.
I now use it to capture my ideas for blog posts, jot down post titles, compile rough outlines of articles I want to write. Besides, I can save entire articles, quotes, and web pages that inspire posts, and highlight the most important parts. You can also add tagging to separate post ideas and any work in progress from already posted content, and separate your posts into various categories or notebooks. Happy exploring!
Grammarly. I use Grammarly extensively as an on-the-go editing tool after I finish writing my drafts. It’s a great online application and a browser add-on that lets you edit your copy after you finish writing. You can enable it for your everyday browser, and even for social media pages (Facebook etc) and Outlook emails. It’s free to sign up on Grammarly, but I highly recommend the premium paid version that includes a plug-in for Microsoft Word – handy if you write in Word and need to edit afterward.
Medium. I believe every blogger, writer, author of note, speaker and coach should have a presence on Medium. I am quite new to this platform, and I published some of my freelance work there to gauge the readership interest. Sometimes you only have to add a better introduction to an article, consider a more eye-catching photo or change the headline to generate more interest – things I learned by publishing on Medium, and reading countless other posts.
The platform is easy to use, just set up your account, input your photo and bio, and start writing. I also love that you can import an article from your blog/website or other sources. The platform looks clean, minimal, and easy to use. Moreover, you can explore million of other articles and topics of interest at will, and discover cool bloggers and authors. Find me on Medium at
Find me on Medium at https://medium.com/@denisaireneoosthuizen.
Goodreads. As a writer, reading extensively is a must. The mega-popular reading app needs no introduction. It is great for discovering and reviewing books and keep in touch with your bookworm friends. I sometimes use it to recommend and rate books. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a few ratings on my fiction author profile, for a free short piece of fiction I self-published last year.
With Goodreads, you can join an annual reading challenge, set yourself a reading goal, and add books that you are currently reading, finished reading, or you are going to read. Everyone can join, but if you are a book author or writer, Goodreads is a great way to build a followership starting with your friends, of course. I would definitely consider mentioning my works there.
Find me on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/denisaoosthuizen.
Kindle. Amazon’s Kindle app works on every device and it is a pleasure to use. I sometimes prefer to buy Kindle editions and read them from my library whenever I find a book of interest on a special deal, and also when I cannot immediately find the print edition in store and I can’t wait to start reading! If you are an author or writer and do not publish on Amazon Kindle, you might want to reconsider. I even wrote a post about publishing on Kindle, and interviewed two of my fellow local writers about their Kindle endeavours. Go check it out here.
Kobo ebooks. If you’re a writer or author, you may consider also publishing on Kobo. I usually publish fiction on both Amazon Kindle and Kobo stores.
Blinkist. If you are pressed for time, Blinkist is the gateway to today’s best nonfiction in short. In 15 minutes or less, you can read the synopsis and the main points discussed in thousands of non-fiction books. This app is a handy tool for a writer’s research on a topic, specifically when there are many books out there covering the same topic.
Bloglovin’. This is a new app I am exploring that allows me to find worldwide blogs with topics of my interest. Blogs are grouped on categories, from books to food and fashion etcetera. If you’re a keen blogger or writer, you’d likely to find some interesting topics or a bit of inspiration in the blogosphere. It has never been easier to follow your favourite blogs.
Bookshelf. I found this nifty application that allows me to keep track of my reading list, easy and so practical for a person like me who loves reading. The app is simple, with no other distractions, links, ads, or social media elements you find with Goodreads. You search and add the books in three groups: reading (currently busy with reading), wishlist (the book you want to read next), and read (the books you have finished reading). It’s a nice way to keep handy the titles you are interested in exploring in the future, when you find yourself browsing on Amazon or entering a bookstore.
Bookout. Bookout offers readers a detailed way to track reading progress. Besides uploading books, you can set up a monthly reading goal, and you can access overall reading stats and progress over time in pages and time read (over 7 and 30 days). You can unlock various achievement levels based on your reading progress and other input. If you’re into optimising your reading time and volume, this beautifully designed app is a great start.
Dictionary. In my opinion, this app is a must-have and an essential tool for writers to broaden their vocabulary.
Wikipedia. For research purposes on a topic, Wikipedia is still number one, although I would highly recommend supplementing this virtual trip with book references, web articles, and notable journals, depending on the topic you are exploring.
Wattpad. This popular writers’ app can be useful for fiction writers willing to share their work on a weekly basis or more frequently. You can publish chapter by chapter, get feedback from readers as you develop your story, and even build a loyal readership while writing your story. If you only have a few chapters of your novel, you can test the story on Wattpad, and commit to following through with further chapters on a regular basis. Great for fledgling writers.