It’s that time of year again, and fear is in the air. Around the world writers are knitting their brows, clenching coffee-stained teeth, and breaking out in cold sweats at the thought of not finishing their stories with a bang. It can only mean one thing: it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and take that dive into the literary world you’ve always dreamed of––at least, I hope so. I’ve already completed one novel-length manuscript, but this year I’ll be competing against the clock in my first NaNoWriMo. Besides understanding friends and an endless supply of caffeine, I’ll rely on software suited to NaNoWriMo’s unique demands. Fortunately, there are plenty of NaNoWriMo-friendly options available for your Mac and iOS devices.
Writer’s block is terrible -- and it inevitably happens at the worst possible times. As you can imagine, the Mac|Life crew has our own struggles with this affliction from time to time, so we have lots of different strategies for working it out.
Microsoft Word has had something of a rocky history with Mac owners, although by and large the folks in Redmond appear to have succeeded in pleasing the majority of users with the latest 2011 edition released in October of last year. Here are a few ways to make the most of the slick new version, including a few hidden gems.
The writing process is different for everyone who tilts at it, and the curiously named OmmWriter Dāna II provides an approach so unique that you’ll either be captivated or appalled. Like many word-processing apps, OmmWriter begins its efforts to eliminate distraction by going full screen, dropping away your Dock, Desktop, and everything else. Then it takes more unusual steps—the screen is wallpapered with one of eight lovely images, ranging from a snowy forest to a purpley color wash.
By now you’re probably familiar with Docs’ basics. But just in case: Google Docs is a web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application that stores any files you create in it, as well as files you upload. While Google Docs doesn’t offer all the functionality you’d find in Microsoft Office, its web-based collaboration features present a whole new world of utility, and these tips will help you mine Docs for everything it’s worth.
Writers: we're a tortured bunch. And with our Macs and our iPhones and iPads in hand, we can do a lot of damage. Heck, there's a whole bunch of great writing apps out there designed specifically to help fuel our creative fires. They say that writing may be a dead trade, but these free apps definitely prove that writing is still alive--especially in our hearts.
All cheesiness aside, here are three great, totally free apps that'll help stimulate your mind, inspire you, and help you stay focused on that Sci-Fi novel you're writing in your basement. Remember, every writer needs a toolbox, and we just have ours stocked with Apple products.