5 Cool Writing Tools to Crush Writer’s Block Right Now

As a writer, there are times when writing seems like a breeze. The Muse drops by to drop in some much-needed inspiration and your fingers are flying across the keyboard (or page). Then there are times when it seems like you are straining to get even a tiny morsel of creativity. For those times, you might consider checking out these 5 writing apps that are designed to gently nudge your inner Muse into writing that literary masterpiece.

1. The Most Dangerous Writing App (Web): Jolt Your Brain to Dump Creativity

Do you have a pesky little habit of constantly revising every sentence that you write in your first drafts? There’s a way to break that habit with an app literally called “The Most Dangerous Writing App”. If you’ve ever encountered “Write or Die” which forces you to reach a certain word count within a certain time frame, this app has the same concept. The only difference is the focus on inactivity.

The screen turns a darker shade of red every time you are inactive (not typing) and completely erases your writing if you stop for more than 5 seconds. Sessions can be set for 5,10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes or tailored to a specific word count (75, 150, 250, 300 or 1667 words).

If you’re up for a challenge, you might want to check “Hardcore Mode”, which won’t let you see all of the words you’ve typed until the sessions ends. (You can only see the letter that you’ve typed.

Good for: Freestyle writing sessions, Stream-of-consciousness writing, Decreasing time spent excessively editing first draft, Creative thinking sessions

Price: Free

Alternate: Flowstate – Overman (Mac/IOS)


2. Write. As: Write Your Thoughts Without Leaving a Trace (Android/IOS/Web/Chrome OS/Command Line)

Writing without distraction can be a huge obstacle to getting your writing done. With advertisements, social media, and funny YouTube videos, there is no shortage of distractions. While there are plenty of minimalist writing tools and apps out there to help you, from ZenPen (Web) to Write (Android) and Desk 3 (IOS) and Monospace (Android), only Write. As offers distraction-free writing with a host of other features designed to keep that writing private unless you choose to share it with the world.

Features

  • No login required. Start typing immediately
  • Private-Writing can only be accessed through URL or when you choose to share
  • Can write individual posts or combine them into a blog with your own domain
  • Publish to Twitter, Medium, or Tumblr
  • Available for use as a Chrome Extension, App, on the Command Line  and on the web

Good For: Quick distraction-free writing sessions that you don’t want on a public platform with more control over sharing options and the ability to store those sessions under an anonymous identity

Price: One initial blog is free (with a 50,000-character limit per post. There is a $10 per year option (3 blogs) or $4 per month option (10 blogs)

Alternate: Novni  Alternatively, if you just want to vent anonymously about anything, you can use The Comfort Spot app.  


3. JournalJerk: Finally Achieve A Consistent Journaling Habit (E-mail)

Journaling is one of the best ways to develop and refine your writing practice. Even if your journal only makes sense to you, the mere action of putting your words on paper, organizing and processing your thoughts, and committing to write is an excellent foundation. The problem most people have with journals is consistency. JournalJerk is here to fix this problem by leveraging your journaling commitment against a cash .

JournalJerk is more of a service than a stand-alone app or online tool. The service is email-based. JournalJerk sends a daily email reminder with subscribers responding back by email with a journal to hack away at their stated goals (1-7 days). The wager comes into play once the goal is set. Using JournalJerk requires a weekly subscription of $2.99, however, if you complete your journaling commitment for 6 weeks in a row, the price goes down to 9 cents (unless you miss the streak).

Confused? Here’s an example. Let’s say you commit to journaling 3 days a week. JournalJerk will email you a daily reminder and you will respond back with a journal at least 3 days in that week. (Multiple entries do not count.) After a week, the weekly subscription of $2.99 begins, being charged each week. If I complete 6 weeks of the 3-day journaling habit, I only pay $.99 a week after. If I miss a week, my subscription goes back to $2.99 per week.

Features

  • Exporting available in text file or JSON (JavaScript Object Notification) file, PDF exports are under development
  • Daily email reminders
  • Ability to pause and unpause writing streaks (in cases of vacation, for example)

Price: $2.99/week. Potentially lower (possibly down to a few cents) after 6 weeks

Good for: Personal use (to develop writing habit) or situation where daily journaling is required (like a writing class). The small weekly subscription plus daily reminders can help reinforce a journaling habit when you need it.

Alternate: Write Chain Challenge (Free)


4. TheRightMargin: Finish Your Writing Backlog NOW (Web)

Writers, especially those who make a living by writing, will eventually come across the “backlog problem”. You’ve got so many potential articles in the making but so little time to complete them. No matter how much you attempt to knock off some assignments, your backlog keeps getting longer and longer. Enter TheRightMargin. Designed for the writer with lots of commitments, but short on follow-through, this app will break down your writing project into milestones, provide tips and reminders along the way as well as keep track of your entire writing schedule.

Features

  • Breaks down projects into milestones with tips, prompts, and daily reminders
  • Visual timeline that shows your progress towards your goals
  • Flexible scheduling option that can be updated as priorities change

Good for: Scheduling writing projects with more consistent follow-through. The site is geared to help writers reflect on their assignments and plan accordingly.

Price: 14-day free trial. Monthly plans range from $5.99-$9.99 a month (can be paid in quarterly or annual). Includes a $9.99 Pay-as-You-Go option.

Alternate: Any project management system that works for you. Specific ones for writers includes Scrivener ($40 Windows/Mac, $19.99 for IOS) or Wrike (more for a group; prices range from free to $34.60 & higher)


5.  FoxType: Get a Second Pair of Eyes to Critique Your Writing (Web & Chrome Extension)

(View of sample paragraph using FoxType editor)

It can be hard to be objective about your own work. There are plenty of tricks include reading your writing out loud, reviewing your text multiple times, and sharing it with a trusted person. FoxType gives you another option, artificial intelligence. Using artifical intelligence, FoxType can review any text and grade it for  politeness, readability, fluency, sentiment, formality, and assertiveness (available as a Chrome extension that works in Gmail

The makers of FoxType also developed a sentence tree and visual thesaurus,

Great For: Fine-tuning your completed first, second, third, (and so on) draft for words that you might ordinarily miss

Price: Currently open for you-pick-the-price during trial

Alternate: Hemingway App (Web/Windows & Mac), Tone Analyzer (Web) & ToneCheck (Installs onto Gmail, Lotus Notes, & Outlook))

Got Any More Suggestions?

Feel free to share. The key point is to get writing!

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