Writers! Do you use your Android device for creating new stories, planning projects, or blogging — or do you simply jot everything down in a notebook and write it up later?
As a wordsmith, you are missing out on a massive productivity boost by not using your Android phone or tablet to help you in your work. You might be gaining inspiration from prompts or enjoying the latest books and magazines on the subject (or indeed any topic that interests you), potentially allowing you to reduce your use of paper and focus your attentions.
(This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use paper, but don’t get bogged down; use your notebook for drafting, rather than for everything.)
Forget saving it all for the word processor app on your PC, as you can use Google Drive and Microsoft Word on Android these days. Instead, embrace the versatility of Android and take advantage of notepads, blogging tools, voice recorders, call recorders, and more — all available for free!
Use A Notepad
Every writer owns a notepad of some sort. It might be a cheap, compact lined jotter or a Moleskine notebook you can take anywhere to make notes. As wonderful as writing with a pen is (many claim it a more creative process to get ideas down on the page through your pen rather than a keyboard), there is more flexibility in an app.
Keep the pen and paper for that first draft, but use one of these apps for planning, capturing useful links, recording thoughts, etc.
Microsoft’s free Office tool is available on desktop and mobile platforms, and it can be setup to sync your data with OneDrive — all you need for this is a Microsoft account. This remarkably accomodating app can be a reliable tool in your writer’s bag of tricks. Also, don’t overlook OnePaint if you like to make your planning colourful.
This is OneNote’s main competitor and offers more or less the same depth and breadth of features. We’ve covered Evernote at length on MakeUseOf, and whether you’ve been using it for a while or you’re new to it you should check our comprehensive Evernote guide.
Google’s answer to OneNote and Evernote continues to grow, albeit slowly. If you prefer a Google flavour to your apps, Keep has a few useful features such as home screen widgets and various features that are comparable to Evernote. Find out more in our Google Keep review.
Android Blogging Apps
Blogging has become a popular platform for writers to share their thoughts and even early drafts with fans, so it makes sense to ensure that your blog is easily updated from your Android phone or tablet.
The Android WordPress app is designed to be used with WordPress.com blogs as well as self-hosted blogs using the software from WordPress.org. Using the app is simple, and as well as providing you with the space to type up your thoughts, it enables you to set categories, tags, and add links and media.
For those of you who prefer Google’s own Blogger tool, there is a very good app that makes adding new posts (including images and other media) a doddle. It also comes with free hosting and custom domain. Although WordPress and Tumblr seem to be more popular than Blogger these days, don’t rule it out as an option.
Whether you want long posts or short, media-rich or just a quote, or if you’re just reblogging something a friend or someone you admire has posted, you can use the Tumblr app for Android to do all of these things with just a few taps of the keyboard. Found a scene or landmark that inspired you to write? Photograph and share it with a couple of words in Tumblr.
Don’t forget that WordPress and Blogger both support blogging via email, so you don’t even need to install the apps! If you’re interested in blogging from your mobile, here are some other apps to help you out.
Voice Recording Tools
Most writers need to record voice. This might be to keep track of ideas that leap into your head at 3am, or to record an interview for your latest feature. Android offers various tools (including those notepad apps mentioned earlier) for recording audio.
Smart Voice Recorder is a free audio recorder that uses the device microphone and features background recording, gain calibration, and saves in Wav format. Data can be saved to any accessible directory and shared via email, WhatsApp, Dropbox, etc.
To record calls, meanwhile, Call Recorder – ACR should be your first option, although remember to tell the person you’re speaking to that the call is being recorded. For interviews, this shouldn’t be a problem. The app can activated manually or automatically and comes with various useful features for saving and sharing.
Writers’ Block? Get A Prompt!
The Block. The Fear. A bane of most writers, losing the ability to write due to the (hopefully temporary) lack of any creative impulse can prove a major problem.
As solutions go, the best is to just write. Write anything.
Writing Prompts from ARC Apps is a useful free app that will give you some great inspiration for the story you’re currently developing. Once you find a prompt you like you use it right away or tap a button to email it to you for later.
From the same developer comes Story Plot Generator, which offers a collection of story plots for different genres. The plot generator uses four key aspects: location, detail, complication, and objective, with over 1 million possible combinations.
Reading For Writers
Writing isn’t just about writing — it’s about reading too. Make sure you have done the research, found the latest markets, and enjoyed interviews and features with writers and their techniques by installing some useful reader apps on your Android phone or tablet.
Writing Magazine is a British publication available to writers around the world (find out more at www.writers-online.co.uk). Rather than waiting for the postman to deliver it, you can use the Writing Magazine app that enables you to purchase and download the latest copy instantly. Meanwhile, other writing magazines are available, which you will probably find via Zinio, the popular mobile magazine reader for Android users. Again, the app is free, but you’ll need to purchase the magazine subscriptions.
Issuu is a digital publishing platform that enables easy reading on tablets with a range of free and premium publications. You’ll find a massive choice of magazines.
Finally, don’t forget the Kindle eBook reader app for Android devices. Ideal for accessing your Kindle library and all of those books you haven’t yet bought on the Amazon marketplace. If you’re not a Kindle user, Kobo and Nook apps are also available for Android, and don’t overlook Google Play Books!
What Tools Do You Use?
Android is a great platform for writers with a selection of apps to suit all creative requirements. We’ve included some of our favourites here, but what do you use? Have we failed to mention an app that you would have expected to see included?
Set us straight in the comments box below.