The American journalist Gene Fowler once remarked,
“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
Make no mistake, though – Fowler was totally lying, and writing is really hard. So let’s enlist the help of our robot overlords in order to make it a little easier.
Today I’ll share 15 apps and websites that might help you become a better writer. Some are huge, multi-faceted programs, while others are more single-purpose and can help with organizing research, planning, gaining motivation, or editing.
If you’d like even more resources to help with other aspects of your education, you’ll find even more websites, apps, and tools over at the Resources page.
If you’re unable to see the video above, you can view it on YouTube.
- Coggle – a free mind-mapping tool that can help you organize ideas.
- Storyline Creator – a mapping tool that’s built around individual characters and the flow of events in a story.
- Evernote – my second brain. Pretty much everything I write starts out as a note here. Here’s another article I wrote with additional Evernote tips.
- Scrivener – a full-fledged application for writing a novel. This is what I finished writing 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Gradeswith.
- Novlr – a new alternative to Scrivener. It seems like it has a nicer design, but fewer features. I found some recommendations for it on the NaNoWriMo forums.
- Byword – a minimalist Markdown editor for OS X. You don’t need to know Markdown to use it… but Markdown is really easy to learn.
- Twinword Writer – a tool with a built-in thesaurus that suggests alternative words when you pause in your writing.
- Write or Die – an app that will punish you if you don’t keep writing. Punishments can range from annoying noises to “Kamikaze Mode”, which starts erasing your writing!
- Written? Kitten! – a more positive take on the Write or Die concept; instead of punishing you, it rewards you with pictures of kittens every 100 words.
- 750words – the name describes it pretty well; this is a site that can help you build a daily writing habit. It’s got pretty cool stat-tracking as well.
- DailyPage – a site that gives you a different writing prompt (e.g. Write about your favorite leader) every day.
- Mendeley – I’m not a grad student, but I’d use this if I was. It’s a free tool that can help you manage research documents and PDFs.
- editMinion – a tool that can analyze your writing and pick out weak and over-used words. It can also tell you if your sentences are too short or long.
- Coffitivity – plays coffee shop noises to give you a nice working atmosphere – a good alternative to white noise generators.
- Brain.fm – a web app that uses AI to generate music that’s supposed to help you increase your focus and attention. The site even has research to back up their claims. I’ve tested it a few times, and while I’m not sure if the music is truly working or just providing a placebo effect yet, I will way that it’s pretty darn good music for working.
By the way, if Brain.fm’s style of music isn’t for you, then you might enjoy my Ultimate Study Music Playlist on YouTube. I add new songs to it often.
Lastly, if you haven’t heard it, you might enjoy the CIG podcast episode where I break down how I wrote my 27,000 word book.
Got other recommendations that I didn’t include here? Share them in the comments!
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You will hardly find a student who enjoys writing a college paper. Among all the other tasks they get assigned in college, paper writing is one of the most difficult assignments. Students run into several problems:
lack of ideas
problems understanding the paper’s topic
problems with research
problems with structure
lack of knowledge about citation styles
problems expressing their thoughts
Fortunately for students, technology offers us many ways to improve paper writing and make this process easier. With the help of numerous online tools and mobile applications, college paper writing is no longer a student’s worst nightmare. Here are 20 websites and apps that can help.
Admission Essays: An online service for students who need to write good essays and application letters. It provides dozens of free essays to use as samples for students’ work. Here, everyone can learn how to write good papers and compose great application letters.
Dictionary.com: This resource provides more useful information for students than just definitions. A thesaurus, citation formats, many links to useful tools, a style guide, and formats for punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviations – you can find it all here.
Encyclopedia.com: A perfect place for research, where students will find links to many reference books and such well-known and authoritative encyclopedias as the Columbia Encyclopedia and Britannica. More than 100 dictionaries are available here to search for different information related to college writing.
Bid4papers.com/college-paper.html: A resource for students who want to get more experience in college paper writing, learn how to do it properly, and understand all the nuances of academic writing. This resource provides high-quality services together with a very good theoretical base for young people to start writing their essays professionally.
Find Tutorials: A website where students will find a big collection of academic tutorials to help them deal with academic writing. All tutorials are reviewed on their quality, and you can easily see which of them are worth the attention.
TED: Studying in college is impossible to imagine without this online resource, which collects video talks from experts in different fields. You can watch videos on relevant topics, read articles written by professionals, and organize events.
HippoCampus: A good resource for students who are not sure they’ve understood all the material properly. Here you can find lectures and a lot of other information on psychology, algebra, economics, biology, sociology, and many other topics.
Evernote: One of the best and most well-known applications for taking all the notes you need for college paper writing.
Simplenote: All your ideas, tasks, and assignments will be easy to find now, as this useful application lets you manage them and syncs with other devices.
Springpad: This application stores links, photos, notes, locations, and lots of other information so you can collect and use it for writing later.
Google Docs: A perfect place to save all your papers, spreadsheets, lists, calendars, and many other documents. Students can share their docs with fellows or teachers, making the process of college paper writing quicker and easier.
Byword: This application was created to make the process of writing easier and more enjoyable. Students can create texts, sync them in the cloud, and use Markdown support and many other features.
Writing Kit: A very good application for research and writing. It allows you to use Markdown syntax, and it syncs to Dropbox.
iA Writer: This application lets students concentrate on the most important task, and this is writing. Distraction-free, this app is pleasant on the eyes, and it syncs to both iCloud and Dropbox, making it easier for students to use.
PlainText: This app is clean and simple, but it does what a student needs: it helps them get their writing done. Nothing will distract you from writing while using this application, and its Dropbox sync makes PlainText a must-try.
iThoughts: A good application to keep track of your ideas and keep them in order. It’s a great help to any writer, as it helps you remember everything and browse your notes.
Nebulous Notes: This application is a must-try for students who need to format their writing with different fonts or backgrounds. It allows you to add various special characters, tabs, date functions, and more.
Elements: A plain-text editor that allows you to sync all files to Dropbox. There are plenty of elements in this application for students to improve their writing: word count, a scratchpad, auto-saving, touch support, line count, and more.
Outliner: An application to outline writing ideas, move them easily with drag-and-drop, make notes, and order all your writing in many different ways.
Notesy: A plain-text editor with the option to preview files, view links, search for information, add phone numbers, and much more. This is a good way to organize ideas and research results for further writing.