Writer’s Block? These 10 Web Tools Will Make Your Pen Mightier.

Apps and products built to nurture your inner Hemingway

April 29, 2016 9:00 am

The key to writing?

Just start. Seriously: if you wrote one page a day, you’d have a novel by the end of the year. Blah blah blah, you’ve heard that before.

But getting your thoughts down is tricky. You have infinite excuses not to start, be it time or fragile mental state (“I will not write unless I’m swaddled in furs”).

Fortunately, technology is here to assist.

The following apps and devices will help you develop a stronger writing habit at (admittedly) some mental cost. But hey, that’s where the “90 percent perspiration” part comes in, right?

The Most Dangerous Writing App: A simple web app that erases everything you’ve written if you stop typing for more than five seconds. Best for free-flowing ideas. Terrible for manuscripts. (Similarly minded and evil: Flowstate.)

Freewrite: Formerly “Hemingwrite,” this is basically a portable e-ink typewriter that saves your musings to the cloud … but allows for little distraction. Or editing. Great for first drafts that you don’t want to lose.

Rough Draft: Again with the flow. This writing app won’t let you delete anything other than an immediate typo. It also allows you to enter “placeholders” for pictures, video and charts.

Papier: Need to get down that perfect idea quickly? This Chrome extension allows you to jot down your thoughts on a new tab (no cloud integration, but it does save within the browser).

Wipebook Pro: Essentially a dry-erase board in notepad form. It’s best for people who go overboard on brainstorming but need to do a bit of editing down the road.

Go Fucking Work: A Chrome extension that blacklists sites that make you unproductive, instead pinging back messages like “You’re Dying Soon. Work.”

Cleartext: Keep it simple, stupid. This text editor only allows you to use the 1,000 most common English words. And yes, it was inspired a bit by Trump. And Orwell.

Expresso: On the other end: this web tool points out your writing weak spots (filler words, weak verbs, etc.) and makes suggestions after the fact. It’s your clarity editor.

The Mind Journal: A handsome leather writing ledger that prompts you with new questions and tasks each day — primarily for your emotional benefit, but also to get your thoughts down on paper (again, the most important thing you can do).

Serial Reader: To write, you need to read. So read the best. In this app, classic literature (from Kafka to Fitzgerald) gets boiled down to daily 20-minute bites. Consider it your morning blast of inspiration.

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