It’s easy to measure the cost of procrastination if you fail to file your taxes. Or you forget to buy an anniversary gift. But it’s a bit more difficult when you are a writer of any kind and your lizard brain tells you to go over to Netflix instead. You can blame it on creative downtime, but does that get the job done?
If you are a writer or want to start writing, try these five apps to see if they help you get off to a running start, and ditch writer’s block too.
WriteWell: A Writing Tool for the Reluctant Student
Your writing life starts from the school years. Assignments, reports, and that pesky essay keep the inkwell flowing. So the demons of writer’s block aren’t far away. Your untrained brain stumbles on outlines, formats, and information. This is where WriteWell is invaluable as a writing aid.
WriteWell helps you organize any information easily with its Essay Editor. The writing templates help you start a paper with a vast library of outlines that cover student needs from middle school to future careers. The many writing tips handhold you through specific types of essays or research reports. Read through the subject specific sample papers on the app to get your mojo back.
The basic plan is free but is limited to 2 documents. Paid plans cost $29/Year.
Write: Force Yourself to Write a Dirty Draft
macOS has a well-known app called Flowstate that forces you to write against a ticking clock. The Write app is its browser equivalent that is free. It also employs the same pressure tactic to boost your writing productivity. You may realize that you focus better when the timer is running away in the background.
Write and apps of its ilk also employ the devious mechanism of erasing all your work if you stop. This makes you continuously write throughout the session, resulting in a rough draft. Once that draft is on the screen, you can polish it to your heart’s content.
Write is a simple single page app that saves all your data on your computer.
Cleartext (macOS): Write in Simple English
It’s okay to use pleonastic sentences with elaborate words. But what’s the point if no one gets it. That’s why you should ditch words like “pleonastic” and “elaborate”. Use “wordy” and “fancy” instead. That’s what this free macOS app does.
Cleartext limits your writing to the top 1,000 most commons words in the English language.
Cleartext highlights any word that isn’t in the top 1,000 commonly used words. You can replace a complicated word with its simpler synonym so that everyone can understand your text. Use this app to write simpler and shorter emails or clearer memos.
You may not replace your favorite text editor yet, but you can stop delaying an email or a report when you know there’s no need to get entangled in clever words.
Werdsmith (iOS): A Writing Studio in Your Pocket
There may be times when you feel like writing but you are away from your computer. Seize the moment before procrastination hits you with whatever notetaking tool you have in your pocket. It can be something as simple as Google Keep or as powerful as Werdsmith. It is a compact writing “studio” for your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.
The writing app comes with custom themes and formatting options. You can use it to write documents or even screenplays and novels.
Furthermore, you can set writing rituals and word goals to motivate you, and track how much you write every day. All your work can be backed up to the cloud.
Download: Werdsmith for iOS (Free Trial, In-App Subscription)
Prompts (iOS): Show Up and Write Every Day
Anne Lamott in her famous book, “Bird by Bird” says,
You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively.
You have to take your writing “bird by bird”. Prompts is a nifty iOS app that helps you get unstuck with hundreds of creative and unique prompts. The prompts use AI to suggest ideas for poetry writing, journal writing, storytelling, narration, screenplays, and more.
Prompts also allows you to set daily writing goals with reminders. You can use the app to see how many words you’ve written, and how many hours you’ve written. This feedback can help you build a better writing habit around your most productive hours.
Prompts syncs with iCloud, so you can work on a piece of writing on your iPhone and then send it over to other apps.
Download: Prompts for iOS ($0.99)
Take Every New Writing App for a Test Run
The cost of procrastinating on your next document could be a missed deadline and a loss of face. It could be a job opportunity gone begging because you didn’t send that email on time.
Science has the answer to procrastination, but you have to pick up the tools.
Beginners find it difficult to make it a habit, so try these writing tools for motivation and planning if you have something big like a novel in mind.