BY LIDA MEYER
It’s one of those days. You’re sitting in front of your computer, staring at an empty Word document. You feel uninspired, and your mind keeps wandering. Plus, there’s a whole world of distraction only a few mouse clicks away. A quick look on Facebook and Twitter won’t hurt. Oh, and perhaps your favourite blog has a new post.
Before you know it, two hours have passed, and the page you should’ve been focusing on is still blank.
Does this scenario sound familiar? These days, with the whole world at our fingertips, it’s so easy to lose entire days cyber loafing. Luckily, there are some great apps that can help curb our wandering minds and let us focus on our writing.
Write or Die: If you think you perform better under pressure then this dramatically named app might just be the solution to your procrastination.
The app for Mac and Windows gives you two choices – keep typing or face the consequences. If you become distracted, punishment will follow. The penalties range from visual warnings and annoying sounds that doesn’t stop until you start writing, to Kamikaze mode. When you select Kamikaze mode as a punishment, your words starts deleting themselves if you stop writing. Now that’s serious motivation!
Self Control: The name says it all. This free app gives you the self-control you might feel you lack. It allows you to block the mail servers and websites you’re most tempted to visit when you should be writing. Just add the distracting sites to your blacklist, set the period of time it needs to block it, and press “Start”. It will block everything on your blacklist until the set time has expired – even if you delete the application or restart your computer.
If it’s a lack of inspiration that’s been keeping you from churning out words, then these following apps might help.
Spice: Can’t seem to find the right words? Perhaps Ernest Hemingway can assist, or good old William Shakespeare. This iPhone app takes the ordinary dictionary to the next level. It allows you to glean inspiration from a literature database of 30, 000 expressions and keywords. You can even look at the history, trends and popularity of the words and phrases. This app is the perfect remedy for writers’ block.
Writing prompts: This iPhone app is the ideal pocket muse. Just give your phone a shake, or swipe across the screen to set loose an array of prompts using sketches, genres, colours, scene elements and current events. The database of 600 creative prompts can be accessed on or offline. It’s a great idea generator that can be used anytime and anywhere.
Coffitivity: Apparently, being a little bit distracted can actually enhance our creativity and productivity. Research has shown that certain people perform better with a certain level of background noise. That’s exactly what the creators of Coffitivity, an app that recreates ambient sounds of coffee shops, believe.
You can choose from a gentle “Morning Murmur” or a more energetic “Lunchtime Lounge” track. For the perfect background ambience, combine a Coffitivity track with your own music. You can work from the comfort of your own home whilst listening to the soothing sounds of clinking coffee cups, cheerful chatter and your favourite music.
About the Author
Lida Meyer has a Bachelors Degree in Production Design from AFDA Film School in Cape Town. Since graduating, she’s worked on many local and international commercials, films and editorial shoots, not only art directing and styling, but also producing and managing productions. Apart from film and writing, her other obsessions include travelling, reading and learning about new cultures.