8 Writing Tools I Love and You Will Too

A beautiful teaching friend of my late sister sent me a thoughtful email last week. Her words make the time and effort I’ve spent on this blogging gig all worthwhile. Here’s some of what she shared with me

Hi Trudy, I just wanted to thank you for your Teachers Thriving Blog. It is reassuring to know that there are other teachers out there feeling a bit deflated about teaching and someone who is interested in helping out…. thanks to reading your blog and some conversations with my family I am trying out a new plan. My Mother has been encouraging me to write as she enjoys my stories and I have enrolled in a writing course and begun researching. I know it will take time and may not even work, but currently I have two days a week to use the time to learn what I can and see if I can start a series of historical fiction. They will be based on the stories I have of my grandfather as a young boy and his escapades. I know it may not work, but at least I have something to work towards! Thank you again for being an inspiration!

My friend’s interest and investment in developing her writing have, in turn inspired me to share my favorite writing tools. Whether you are writing in your day-to-day work, creating a side project, blogging, researching, trying to engage your students in writing or authoring your next text, I’m confident you’ll find a gem in this collection.

Dictionary App – Have you noticed how increasingly hard it is to put your hands on a ‘hard copy’ dictionary these days? For some reason, they are scarce in the offices I work in. This dictionary app saves my bacon at least once a week. Don’t overlook the thesaurus function. It will give you the perfect word to better express yourself. I have the app loaded on my mobile devices so it always within reach. The free version will do the trick if you can overlook the ads.

Evernote – My relationship with Evernote started 2 years ago. It changed the way I work. It’s a “must-have” if you are researching anything. It works on the ‘notes with a notebook structure’ but, the genius is saving bookmarks, articles, snippets or your own words in the app. The app works across all my devices and syncs itself each time I use it. The tagging system is brilliant. Start with the free version. I’ve now upgraded to an annual subscription and couldn’t live without it.

Grammarly – Grammarly makes you a better writer by finding and correcting up to 10 times more mistakes than your word processor. This is relatively new in my writing arsenal, but already I’m addicted. Not only is it checking everything as I write this blog post, it is working behind the scenes each time I post on social media. With the application downloaded, you can drop documents into the Grammarly editor and let it go to work. I’m using the free version. It meets my needs. After you have signed up, look out for the personalized email from Grammarly at the end of the week pointing out how many words you’ve written and errors avoided.

Gingko – ‘101 Alternative Jobs for Teachers‘ had its origins in Gingko. This will be your go-to app for larger writing projects that become a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to fit all the pieces together. If you’re not sure whether to start with a list, an outline or index cards, go with Gingko. It will help you organise your thoughts and ultimately your writing with a coherent structure.

Pages – At this point I will confess I love Apple. If you also love Apple, spend a large chunk of your time writing and don’t have Pages, you might want to reassess. Again my eBook was finalised in Pages, where the design, formatting, and conversion to a pdf took place. I also have the Pages app on my iPad which allows me to access my draft documents anywhere, anytime, on any device from my iCloud account.

Book Creator – I have road tested many apps for making iBooks. If you are working with children to create an iBook or writing an iBook for children, this app would be my top recommendation, particularly for a picture book layout. It’s easy and beautiful. Just start playing with the free version, you’ll soon see what I mean. The app allows for submitting your books to the Apple iBooks Store and Google Play Books. It is now available for iPad, Android and Windows.

WordPress – This blog is built with WordPress software. The software is open source, used by millions and free. Consequently, there are millions of themes and plug-ins to make your site unique. A self-hosted WordPress site is preferred by the majority of professional bloggers, however if you are new to blogging you can use a free WordPress site at WordPress.com. Looking for a blogging option for students? I’d recommend EduBlogs (also built with WordPress).

Hanx Writer – This one is just for fun and it’s free. I spent two years in a typing class during junior high school learning to touch type on a manual typewriter. Clunky things they were. This app, created by Tom Hanks (yes, THAT Tom Hanks) takes me back there. Real carriage return, key clicks and no autocorrects. You may not use it to write a novel, but try it for a personal note.

And a bonus…
Adobe Slate – O.K. So I haven’t actually used this one yet. Hence, it’s sitting down here on its own. But it claims, “Create and share beautiful visual stories. Turn you next newsletter, report, invitation or travel adventure into a gorgeous visual story.” I discovered this only last week and seriously, it looks so cool I could be crazy enough to invent a project just as an excuse to use it. Once you hit the homepage, scroll down to check out the “Made with Slate” collection.

This page has no paid advertising or affiliate links, just darn good info, because that’s how I roll.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *