Get it write: Banish writer’s block with these 10 apps
Ah, writer’s block – the age-old affliction that seems to strike at completely random and untimely moments. There’s no writer in this world who has not suffered from it at some point in their career. It’s inevitable. And when it does, it can feel like the universe has somehow stolen the creative gene from your brain. Trying to write feels like running a marathon after smoking a 20-pack – it’s just not gonna happen.
The ironic part of it is, the dreaded block often strikes at the worst moment possible, like in the runup to a deadline. Maybe you’re entering a screenplay to a competition, or better yet, you’ve sold the damn thing and have just weeks to complete it. And then BAM! Your brain turns to mush and no amount of soul-searching or brainstorming can help.
As the great, late writer Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” While that might be good advice, it doesn’t help much when you’ve got a specific task at hand. Luckily, we live in the digital age now, meaning there are a plethora of innovative & useful apps to help overcome that blasted writer’s block. Here are ten of the best to help drag you out of that hole and back into the creative sphere:
One of the reasons writer’s block even comes about is due to organization (or lack thereof). When the brain feels overwhelmed, it can be difficult to focus on creating storyline details. That’s where Storyist comes in, helping writers to track the plot, characters, and settings, and keep all writing organized and accessible so you can focus on telling your story. The app’s rich text editor makes it easy to create manuscripts and screenplays with support for comments, images, headers, footers, and style sheets. You can also sketch out a story using index cards and then refine it with customizable plot, character, and setting sheets.
Weekend Read (Free)
Created by screenwriter John August (Big Fish), Weekend Read is not so much for writing, but for reading screenplays. One of the best ways to get those creative juices flowing is by finding inspiration elsewhere, and that’s what makes this app so handy – users can easily read screenplays on their iPhones with a choice of fonts & sizes, meaning you can catch the work of your favorite writers on-the-go. And best of all, it’s free!
Scripts Pro ($9.99)
This app is made specifically for film & TV screenwriters, meaning everything is industry standard and the format is easy with a simple toolbar. As mentioned, one of the key triggers of writer’s block is when the brain feels engulfed with the task at hand. Being organized can help to free up room in the mind and allow for creativity to flow more easily, which is why Scripts Pro can really help. The app promotes a clutter-free working setup and has a reader preview mode that is helpful when you need to take a step back and edit.
Evernote allows users to capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere, so if you have an idea while you’re out & about, you can quickly jot it down and revisit it later. The app enables the enhancement of your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. It works well with regards to story building – for example, you might add initial thoughts to Evernote, then build on the ideas, and record audio notes, allowing the stories to evolve and the characters to come alive. The Basic version of the app is free, while the Plus & Premium packages come at reasonable prices ($34.99 per year and $69.99 per year, respectively).
Prompts does what it says on the tin, as an app that uses a “creative, intelligent, patent-pending AI to help you write” by suggesting topics and asking questions to get those juices flowing. Whether or not the topics are related to what you are working on, it always helps to ease that writer’s block by getting the idea wheels turning. The app itself has a database full of 300,000 creative prompts, as well as a feature that allows you to set custom writing goals.
Be Focused (Free)
This app helps with time management, ensuring your mind doesn’t get lost in the researching black hole. Be Focused allows users to schedule that precious time with short breaks, so you can stay on track with writing and not get distracted or overwhelmed with the project at hand. However you decide to schedule your day, Be Focused will help you do exactly that – stay focused.
Brain Sparker (Free)
This app is similar to Prompts in that it uses random creativity prompts to help “ignite imagination, overcome creative blocks, and brainstorm new ideas.” Brain Sparker helps its users break free from writer’s block by providing inspiration for all sorts of subjects. After all, writing about random topics is a great way to ignite creativity.
Lists for Writers ($2.99)
If you’re stuck in a writer’s rut, then Lists for Writers is an incredibly handy mobile app. The creators have compiled a variety of lists to help writers – both young & old – come up with brainstorming ideas. Users have access to various types of lists, including names, character traits, and plot lines. If you’re having trouble coming up with the details of a story, this app is an incredibly handy tool for brainstorming the smaller elements of your screenplay.
750 Words (Free)
This app is similar to the idea of free writing – putting a pen to paper and letting your creative mind takeover. The difference is, 750 Words takes this concept to the computer and encourages users to write three pages a day in the hopes of clearing the mind and allowing the ideas to start flowing. If you’re really struggling with your screenplay, it might help to write off-topic for a few hours and get into the creative zone.
You know what they say – “two heads are better than one.” That’s perhaps why WriterDuet is quickly becoming the new standard for screenwriting. The app is a modern, professional writing program that features real-time collaboration, seamless online / offline writing, and infinite revision tracking. It combines natural process and a user-friendly setup for a unique & innovative way for writers to collaborate and come up with ideas together.