How to Improve Writing Skills with Web Applications
For some the art of writing, of word, comes as naturally as breathing or brushing their teeth. These fortunate few are able to conjure words as if by magic, flowing out of them, onto paper and into the minds of their audience. This is enviable. Whether they were born with this gift or a skill that was forged through years of education and experience, these select writers need nothing more than a pen and paper (or in this day and age a keyboard and monitor), and a juicy story. But for the rest of us, we need a little bit of help. While there is no replacing the long and arduous road of gaining experience, or the near impossible task of finding a Yoda-like mentor, technology has provided a handful of tools that can help budding writers get their ideas down, formatted and made presentable to their editor or their audience.
Highly touted by the likes of Tim Ferriss, the highly successful author of a trio of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, Scrivener was designed and built by writers for writers. It doesn’t matter whether the project is a book, ebook or screenplay, Scrivener helps the writers by neatly organizing their thoughts in an easy to search, locate and move manner, and all in a single window. Organization may sound like a banal and even boring feature, but it is one of the main factors that hamper or even derail the completion of a writing project. By using Scrivener writers will no longer need to worry about having the perfect layout since rearranging the chapters or sections later on is now a breeze. Instead, writers can focus on the thing they are good at and, if they ever want to publish, need to do, and that is to write. Once all the words, thoughts, prose, and ideas are on the page, then they can start the rearrangement and formatting process. Now, with Scrivener, this all-important task need not be all-frustrating nor time consuming. It is a simple drag and drop process, that can be likened to rearranging post-it notes on a big wall.
The zen-like OmmWriter takes the minimalist approach to the extreme. It takes your typical writing program and strips it to the barest of essentials, which basically amounts to the following; words on a blank page. When OmmWriter is launched it blanks out the entire screen in a sea of white, representing a blank page. As they start putting words on “paper”, the writer is given a sense of feeling that throws them back to the days when typewriters ruled. In those days, the only buttons that a writer had to worry about were the keys on the board and the only other action they needed to do was to push the slide to bring them to the next line. That’s it, no red underlines indicating a misspell or grammatical error. No font button, bold button, italics button. No “Insert Chart”, no layout designs, no “Save As”. Just the beautiful simplicity of words on a blank sheet of paper. And OmmWriter can give you that. It’s only other feature is a couple of musical and background tracks, more to generate white noise than anything else.
WordPress was created by Matt Mullenweg over a decade ago and now powers almost a quarter of the Internet’s websites. To say that it has been a revolutionary tool would be like saying that Niagara Falls is a neat, overactive stream. It cannot be overstated how important WordPress is, because aside from being the backbone to most of our beloved websites, it gave the common person an easy way for their thoughts to be heard online. The rise of blogs and bloggers was due in large part to the creation of WordPress. For writers, there can be no greater tool for it gave them the ability to publish their own work rather than be at the mercy of others. WordPress gave people an outlet to be heard and for them to represent their own work.
WordPress was made for the masses and is easy to use, in general. However, formatting seems to be the issue that most people get frustrated with the most and who can blame them. Fortunately, there is iaWriter. Made specifically to ease the often time-consuming burden of formatting, ia Writer automatically formats your writing using “markdown”, a markup language that drastically reduces the time spent on formatting down the road. There is a bit of trial and error to get things just right, but spending the effort at the beginning goes a long way when you have hundreds of pages of writing later on.
Writing, like most art forms, is not easy, but neither does it have to be hard. The tools mentioned will not only help you focus on what’s important, writing, but they will also help you be a more efficient published writer.