March 12

Five Paid Apps That Help Me Write Better

NOTE: I am not affiliated with any of these apps. I am neither paid nor to-be paid if you decide to use them. This is the reason why I have not included any links to these apps. Also, I use them on Android. I’ve heard many of them are much better and have more features in the iOS option.

Why paid Apps?

Till a year back, I had always felt apps must be free. We have been spoiled by Google and Facebook that seem to be ‘free’ but are costing us much more than money. I had never imagined that I would pay to use an App, let alone five. However, as they say, the best things in life are not free.

The five apps that I mention below have changed my online life in the last one year. They have made managing the internet much easier, saving me a lot of time and have helped me relax and recuperate so that I can focus on writing – the thing that I do the best!

(There are a few extremely helpful free apps too. I’ll do another post on them soon.)

 

  • Headspace

What is it? 

Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace, was a British meditation teacher. Puddicombe trained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk before creating this app. The app teaches meditation and mindfulness. It can be used free for 10 days for 10 basic sessions. However, the paid version unlocks various levels and challenges of meditation. It also reminds, motivates and keeps track of your meditation sessions. Some of the famous users of this app are Richard Branson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lebron James. Seven airlines offer Headspace on their flights.

Why should a writer use it? 

Meditation and mindfulness should be a part of every writer’s schedule. Just like how we schedule a walk for our physical well-being, we must schedule a session of meditation every day for our emotional well-being. The best part of this app is that it has made me realise that meditation can be done anywhere, anytime and it needs hardly ten minutes of your time.

My most favourite feature

The app has an option called ‘singles’ which are guided meditation sessions that are tuned to help in a particular circumstance like, for instance, interviews, exams, anxiety, before flying, before a difficult conversation, when you are frustrated, stressed, under the weather, etc. Whenever something goes wrong in my day, I lock myself in the bedroom, turn on one of these single sessions and calm down within minutes.

How much does it cost?

Rs. 120 per month

It costs about Rs 70/month if you choose the annual plan.

 

  • Buffer

 

What is it?

Buffer is a social media scheduling app, i.e. it allows you to schedule posts on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Buffer has been my lifesaver right from when I started blogging at www.ReadWriteInspire.com In the free version, you can use Buffer for three social media platforms. However, since I need to manage seven platforms, I went in for the paid version. Initially, I used the free versions of both Buffer and Hootsuite, managing three platforms on each but it was getting cumbersome and stressful. So, I opted for Buffer. Except for Pinterest, I use Buffer to manage all my social media platforms. Though I do not schedule posts from my phone (I prefer to do it on my laptop), I have the app on my phone for two purposes: firstly, it reminds me to post on Instagram (as Instagram does not allow apps to post directly on it) and secondly, it helps me check and control the scheduled posts.

(Though Instagram had updated its policy and direct posting is permitted now, Buffer has still not got into Instagram’s list of approved apps.)

My most favourite feature

My most favourite feature on Buffer is the option to reschedule posts that you have already posted before. This feature is unavailable on Hootsuite. That’s the reason why I went with Buffer.

Why should a writer use it? 

Social Media is the necessary evil for all writers today. Buffer will not only help make life easier, but it will also encourage you to use platforms that you have never thought about before. For instance, I started using Google+ and LinkedIn only after I opted for Buffer.

How much does it cost? 

$10 per month

 

  • Tailwind

 

What is it? 

Tailwind is a scheduling app that is exclusively used to manage Pinterest. It is free for the first 100 pins after which you can opt for either the monthly or the annual package. If you want to know more about Tailwind, I would suggest you head over to Shailaja Vishwanathan’s blog. She gives you a detailed and comprehensive guide about using Tailwind to manage Pinterest.

My most favourite feature 

Tailwind Tribes. A Tailwind tribe is like your Facebook group without the useless gossip and vicious posts. Basically, it is a group where you share one of your pins in exchange for sharing a pin by one of the other members. You can use this feature in the free version too.

Why should a writer use it? 

A huge amount of traffic to my blog, www.ReadWriteInspire.com, flows in through Pinterest. Many avid readers hang out at Pinterest looking for their next read. So, writers should get on to this platform. Pinterest can be a valuable medium to reach new readers. While you can manage Pinterest by yourself, using Tailwind makes it much easier. It takes hardly 30-45 minutes in a week for me to schedule pins on Pinterest for 7 to 10 days. I pin about 5-6 pins every day.

How much does it cost? 

$120 per year

(I opted for the yearly plan.)

 

  • Todoist

 

What is it?

How many of you have heard of the GTD (Getting Things Done) method of organizing that makes sure that you do not have to remember anything. Todoist does that for me. It is a virtual to-do list that is arranged chronologically with tags and priority rating. It can be shared with others too.

My most favourite feature

The free version might be enough for most people. However, I needed the reminder via notification and the email option. That’s why I opted for the paid version.

Why should a writer use it?

Todoist is the first place where I dump it all – ideas, meetings, reminders, everything. For example, I received a Crossword Voucher recently that expires in a year’s time. I put it on Todoist with two dates—one is a month before it is due to expire and the other is a week before. Now, the thought of using the voucher will not keep nagging me. My brain space has been freed to concentrate on my writing projects rather than my to-do list.

How much does it cost?

$29 per year

 

  • Evernote

 

What is it? 

I reserved the best for the last. If there is only one app that I must choose among these five, I would go with Evernote. For a long time, I used Google Keep but it does not compare with Evernote at all. Evernote has many features and benefits that make it a useful tool.

My most favourite feature 

I love the camera feature of Evernote. When I click the picture of a printed page, I have the option to make it look like a scanned pdf. I use this feature liberally and save important documents, flight tickets, reservations, etc.

Another add-on with Evernote is the Templates that are available on their website. They are super-useful. I downloaded (and bought) a few templates from Simplify Days too. Here is the link to these free templates.

Why should a writer use it? 

Research. I started using Evernote when my research for an upcoming book became extremely heavy. Initially, I used it to clip useful articles that I came across during research. Now, it has expanded into this comprehensive ultra-useful vault that manages all my personal, professional and travel data.

How much does it cost? 

Rs 1,500 per year

 

While these apps have added immense value to my writing life, they may or may not suit you. All of them have a free trial option (with either limited features or for a limited time period) Make use of that. Invest in the app only after you are convinced of its benefits.

Another important thing to remember is that most of these apps require some amount of time investment. Anywhere between one to ten hours is the basic time that you will need to invest in learning and understanding the functioning of the app. The more that you use each of them, the more proficient you become and the more it helps you.

Do you have any favourite apps that help in your writing and productivity? Please comment. I would love to know.


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About the author

Welcome! I write for adults and children. More importantly, I love to write for writers. This is where I share everything I know about this mysterious process of writing.

Archana Sarat

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