As a digital storyteller, I use my phone and computer daily to read, write, and research. Over the years, I have discovered six irreplaceable apps. I use some of these to collect all the interesting articles I read on the internet and save them with the intent of writing about them later, and others to help with my actual writing process. I have these all on my iPhone, but many can be accessed on my computer as well. I hope all of you writers find at least one app to add to your virtual tool box!
1. IFTTT (If This Then That)
If you aren’t using this app, you are missing out! It is incredibly versitile for smart phone users. Most basically, you can use it to automate your blog posts to share to social media sites. It links many of the other apps on this list, too. For example, you can share your WordPress post to Facebook after setting up the “recipe.” Or you can save the links in tweets you fav to your iOS Reading List.
Liner is an app that allows you to save webpages to it, and then highlight text. You can later refer to the whole webpage or only your highlights. It has (nearly) solved my problem of wondering why the heck I bookmarked an article, especially if it is super wordy (like some of the psychology, biology, or communication journal articles I had to read for my college courses, averaging around 30 pages.)
I use Liner on my phone and my Google Chrome browser to keep track of the things I read so I can reference them later. This is great for researching articles or blog posts because you can quickly scan your highlights without having to read through the whole article again.
All good writers are also avid readers. I follow a few dozen blogs easily through this app. I know there are many apps that offer easy RSS feed access, but I have used this one for years and it has remained simple and reliable.
When I find a good article through Newsify, I send it to my Pocket. Pocket allows you to save articles and access them even when you aren’t connected to internet, like when you’re on an airplane and too cheap to pay for WiFi. Like the next two apps on my list, Pocket allows you to tag your saved items. It also uses what you save to recommend more articles for you.
This is an app of possibilities. I like the ability to access my notes on all my devices or any computer with internet access. I also like the organization aspect you can’t get with GoogleDocs– I use files for all my projects, and add tags to group notes further.
When I started working for my campus newspaper as the content editor, the editorial staff was using a system of emails. Someone would submit a story, email it to the section editor. The section editor would email it to the content editor (me) and the copy editor. As these happened throughout the day all week long, the copy editor and I sometimes edited different forms of the same story, and emailed it on. This meant the stories were published. So every week, stories printed in our paper had incorrect facts or didn’t follow the guidelines of the Associated Press.
I was already using Evernote to type my class notes, so I made a new account and overhauled the system. Using this method, all of the editors had access to folders holding articles that needed to be edited. Instead of emailing it on, we moved it to another folder. Unlike the emails, we didn’t have to download each submitted story as a word document, which was nice considering we got between 60 and 100 submissions a week. And best of all, multiple people could edit an article at the same time.
If any of your writing projects include collaboration, Evernote is invaluable. If you like to work on the go, Evernote is invaluable. If you like to organize your writing, Evernote is invaluable.
This is my preferred way to organize information from around the web. I usually use it on my phone, but I have an extension on my browser to pin things from my computer as well. It keeps everything neat, organized, and easy to search. Plus, as a social media site, it can connect you with other writers who have similar interests to you.