Three years ago I came up with an exciting new idea for a book. Within 24 hours I had mapped the entire story; plot, characters, every chapter. I even joined a local writer’s group to exchange feedback on the storyline. I was serious about this book!
But then… I only went to the writer’s group once, and as far as actual writing, I’m still stuck somewhere in chapter two, some 1000 days later.
Why can’t I just write the thing? I’ve identified three big blockers to my book-writing progress: distractions, the enormity of the undertaking, and a lack of inspiration. Fortunately, I’ve discovered there are apps that address these blockers – great tools for writers who find it difficult to focus and finish.
BLOCKER: Distractions. I spend 75% of my day on the computer, and when I need a little mind-break, the web is the perfect diversion. From gossip columns to YouTube videos, I will spend hours watching or reading about friends, strangers, and acquaintances living their lives. What a waste!
Writer’s App: StayFocusd
StayFocused is a Chrome app that allows you to limit the amount of time you spend on time-consuming websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you block will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. How cool is that?
BLOCKER: Overwhelmed. I am intimidated by the scope of what lies ahead. Thinking about writing my book takes me down the rabbit hole… Can’t remember where I left off…have to read everything over again…where was I going with that….aaak!!
Writer’s App: A Novel Idea
A Novel Idea is an iTunes app that helps you to plot your story and record your inspirations. You can link together your characters, locations, scenes, and plot and keep track of where you are in the whole process.
BLOCKER: Uninspired. Often I’ll turn to the web to get inspired (see problem #1 above). Even if I do avoid getting tangled up in the web of the web, it’s rare that I’ll be inspired enough to launch into an all-out writing session. I just need something quick and easy to spark my creative fire.
Writer’s App: The Brainstormer
The Brainstormer is another iTunes app that can jumpstart your creativity and spark new ideas. Simply “spin” the wheels for feature plot/conflict, theme/setting and subject/location to create fun combinations to help spark your chapter.
There are hundreds of apps out there for writers. Just make sure you light up your StayFocusd app so you don’t spend too much time searching vs. writing! As for me, time to work on chapter 3!