I’ve always thought with all of the convenience of modern day technology that leaving behind more traditional ways of life is rather sad. For a while, I was very much against eReaders such as the Kindle and Nook. I certainly never thought that I would own a smartphone or more advanced phone, but since recently receiving Verizon’s Galaxy Tab as a gift, I can’t keep my hands off of it. While I still stay true to many of my primitive habits (like writing by hand and reading books with tangible pages), I have found my Galaxy Tab to have many perks that are gems among my list of writing resources. I’ve come up with five that have proved exceptionally useful to me as a writer. (Note: The following free applications can be downloaded onto any Android phone, not just the Galaxy.)
1. Voice Recorder
Voice Recorder is the perfect app for the on-the-go writer. When I was writing my first novel, I used a clunky tape recorder to brainstorm myself out of plot holes and even to babble lines of poetry for later use. The tape recorder eventually broke, so I was excited to discover this application. Not only is this great for recording ideas when you don’t have a pen and paper nearby, but a gem for students like me whose thoughts can wander during long-winded lectures.
2. Days Left
This is one of my favourites. Days Left is a reminder app which allows you to install widgets onto your home page. Just punch in the date of an event or deadline, pick a colour or icon to go with it if you wish, and drag it into place on the selected page. These are perfect for keeping track of deadlines for assignments and writing contests. I have about twenty on my phone right now.
This is one of the best tools a writer can have, and now it’s even faster and easier to use. Just type (or swype) a word into the search engine. You know the rest. I use this as well as Thesaurus.com several times a day when writing poetry or constructing sentences. Also, if you have an account on Dictionary.com, you can sync it with the application and continue adding words to your list of favourites. This is what I do to keep from losing all of my best words. Download this app and kiss “It’s-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue!” syndrome goodbye. 😉
This one was controversial to me for a while as it is difficult for my nostalgic self to abandon my “real” books for .azw and .opf documents; but since I’m a writer as well as a reader, the benefits are far too numerous to turn down. Any of you who knows what it’s like to spend precious minutes flipping through a book to find a favourite part will appreciate the search option on the Kindle. Enter the word or phrase you’re looking for and highlight without marring the prized pages of a hardcover. The best feature on this app in my opinion is the note-taking function. I use this to write all of my “Writing Methods From…” articles. If you’re serious about learning the craft of writing, paying attention to structure by taking notes is one of the most effective approaches. If you love mysteries, you can even play detective and try to solve the mystery before the book is over!
This last one is a bit obvious. Serving the same function as the infamous “writers’ notebook,” it saves you a bit of extra room in your pocket or purse. The Evernote app will sync with your online account if you have one, but if you’re more of a sticky-note kind of person, you might want to try the Memo or Desk Notes app.
Do you use an Android or other smartphone to benefit your writing? Would you say it’s more of an effective tool or a distraction? Did I miss your favourite application?