Author Tools: Three Apps from Enlightenment

5 May

Three Apps From Enlightenment

I am an app addict. I have apps everywhere: on my computer, in “the cloud”, on my iPad, on my netbook, on my Android phone. One day I will find that Holy Grail of apps that will bring my chaotic life into perfect order. It will manage my email, my phone calls, keep me from getting lost, and read my mind well enough to write my books for me while I sleep. In the meantime, I’ve found I’ve a few that make my writing life easier.

My Writing Spot

I use this to rough draft everything I write–including this blog post. It’s a simple word processing app that shows a word count and allows you to write and search a dictionary or Thesaurus. That’s it. No distractions. Your word count tracks your progress in the status bar.

The beauty of the app is that there are no styles or codes attached to the text. It can be pasted directly to blog or publishing template with no code conflicts to clean up. In addition, I love being able to write anywhere, anytime the muse strikes. Files are saved to my account at the website, so I can type a note from the cell phone when I get an idea during a run or while I’m shopping. I can curl up in the porch swing and tap out a scene on my iPad. When I’m at a computer, I don’t have to log off Windows and log back into Linux to get a file I left on the wrong desktop.

For me accessibility is the most important feature a word processor can have. I don’t want to have to jump through technological hoops to open a document and start creating. And now that I’m using Second Life as a tool for creative immersion, I love the fact that I can plant my avatar in front of a pixel laptop, access this website, and start recording a scene as it unfolds between my characters.

Evernote

This one comes close to my ideal app. I can forward important emails I need to save straight to my Evernote account. I drop in trip itineraries, hotel confirmations, and flight schedules. Evernote’s biggest plus is the ability to search text in a picture file. I can snap a picture of a document or receipt with the cell phone and forward it to Evernote. Later, when I have forgotten what the document is called, I can search on words I know the document contains and Evernote will find it. This is another app that comes with a version for every major device and OS. I don’t know about you, but being able to access data from any device is becoming increasingly important to me as I access material from a wider range of devices and operating systems each year.

Dropbox

This app will save your sanity. No more losing documents to viruses or Word crashes. No more tearing your hair out when you can’t find the thumb drive you had your stuff on. No more getting to the office and realizing you need a document that’s still on a home computer. I save my WIP’s directly to the Dropbox folder as I’m writing. If Word crashes while I’m writing, all those automatic saves have gone to the Dropbox and been backed up online. If the hard drive crashes and the computer is useless, I still have the story.

Drop your documents and image files in Dropbox and you’ll have a file drawer out on the Internet where you can connect from just about any device you can name. The best-practices standard for backups is to save your files in at least three different places. You’ll exceed that recommendation without having to think about it if you use these three apps. Now you can relax, smile, smell the flowers, and meditate on the meaning of life — for at least a couple of minutes.

All of these apps will run on personal computers as well as mobile devices. If you’re a fellow app addict, tell me about your favorites in the comments.

2 Responses to “Author Tools: Three Apps from Enlightenment”

  1. Marilyn Campbell May 5, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Thanks Nara, now adding this info to all the other great techno stuff you’ve passed on.

    • Nara May 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Your welcome, Marilyn.

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