Whether it’s a research paper, a chapter of a novel or a short story, I know how hard it is to get the creative juices flowing and write. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of ideas or lack of research, and sometimes it’s just hard to get the words out. Here’s a list of websites that I find helpful when the words aren’t coming or I’ve finished writing and need to touch up my work. Whatever it is you’re writing, and whatever stage you’re at, these sites are sure to help.
Zen Writer is a program you can download that makes it easier to block everything out while writing. The program takes up your whole screen so that there are no other distractions. There is a pre-downloaded menu of music to play or you can download your own, and the same goes for the background that is present while you write. It is very simple, but it’s a good tool if you have a hard time blocking out distractions.
This website shows that consistency is key. This website’s only goal is to get you to log on everyday and write 750 words. The website is very simple and has a plain white background that you write on. Once you reach 750 words, you can stop or keep going and the website logs your progress. One of my favorite things about this website is that after you reach 750 words, a map shows up that organizes data from your writing. It shows the overall mood of your passage, your most used words, and other things. The biggest con of this website, however, is that after thirty days, you have to pay $5 a month to continue, so you may not wish to use this website if you don’t want to pay for a membership.
This is another website that is very simple, but fun to use. The goal is to motivate its users to write, by using positive reinforcement. For every 100 words that you write on this website, a picture of a kitten pops up next to your screen. To get a new picture, you need to write 100 words. If you want to motivate yourself even more, you can increase the amount of words you have to write before you get a new picture. Plus, if kittens aren’t your cup of tea, you can select an option to see pictures of puppies or bunnies instead.
NaNoWriMo stands for National November Writing month. You can sign up and pledge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The site tracks your progress and you earn badges for completing different tasks. I’ve always found that November is too busy for me to sit down and write, so now NaNoWriMo has Camp NaNoWriMo which is the exact same as the original site, but in the summer.
Keep Me Out is great for any type of writing or work. It’s a site where you can set a time frame and add a list of sites you want to stay off of. Keep Me Out will warn you if you go on those site more than the amount of times you selected for that time frame. It’s perfect for staying focused when you need to complete something.
This website (it’s not actually an app; the name is misleading) is helpful for just about any type of writing. You copy and paste your writing into the text box and it tells you how many adverbs you used, how many sentences are hard to read, how many sentences are very hard to read, which phrases have simpler alternatives, and how many uses of passive voice there are. Each parameter is highlighted in a different color so it’s easy to tell what’s wrong with your piece of writing. It even tells you what grade the text reads as so you know how complicated your writing is.
Even though this isn’t just for writing, and a lot of people already know what it is, I put it on this list because I find it very helpful. It’s a very good tool to use when you need someone to edit your work. All you have to do is share the document with them and they can edit it while you look at it as well. It’s also helpful for group projects because multiple people can edit at once. I use it a lot when I need things to be edited so I don’t have to keep track of multiple drafts, and if I send something to multiple people I can keep all the comments in one document.
Evernote is great for someone who is constantly writing across multiple devices. You can write on a normal computer, and then download the app onto other devices so you can write when you’re away from your laptop. It’s great if you’re traveling and can’t be at a computer because you can use your phone or other device and then sync it your computer later. Evernote is also great because it accommodates Apple, Android, Blackberry and many other devices, It’s layout is also simple to use!
Awesome Note is very similar to Evernote in the sense that it allows you to write across multiple devices. I actually prefer it because I think it allows you to do much more than Evernote. It is a very good tool for journaling because it’s very easy to add photos, and it even has a type of note that adds in the date and allows you to select your mood and the weather for that day. There are different types of notes like to-do lists and reminders. There are also a ton of different themes you can select for your notes. It’s easy to use and very convenient. The only downside to Awesome Note is that is only available for iPhones, iPads and the Galaxy Note. However, there is a feature to export your notes to GoogleDocs so you can use it across other devices as well.
Writing.com is a site that allows you to share your writing with other writers and receive feedback. There are forums for you to join so you can connect with other writers and discuss your writing together. It’s a good website to get different perspectives on your writing instead of always asking classmates, teachers, friends and family members. There are also contests and writing tools on the site that all of its users have access to. One feature that I really like is that its app provides writing prompts. It’s a very simple app and it’s very helpful to get rid of writer’s block or explore different topics.