Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Ways to SAVE time by Wasting It!

I'm not always the first to jump on a bandwagon, or the first to even hear there is a bandwagon, but I like to pretend I'm a tiny bit tech savy. You know, for a liberal arts person.

So I'm a bit embarrassed that I only JUST TODAY found out you can get apps for your web browser.


Who knew?? (And if you did, don't rub it in my face!)

Just like on your smart phone or your itouch, you can download apps (many for free) for your computer. And, like the phone apps (sometimes EXACTLY like the phone apps), they can be helpful or just fun.

Like Angry Birds. You can wile away hours and hours on your computer hitting pigs by hurdling birds at them. While you write. (Up til now I've only done it in the car waiting at the bus stop.) (Which brings me to think I'm not that smart because if I wanted to hurl birds at pigs, my phone is completely portable which means I could take it to where I'm at my computer and play it there.) (Although then there is the question of why I'm on the computer at all, if all I want to do is play with birds and pigs and I can do that on my phone.)

I found this out by stumbling on this website: Ten Google Chrome Apps That Will Make You A Better Writer. (You wouldn't be wrong if you guessed Angry Birds is not one of those.)

Aside from the fun ones, there are some interesting apps that could be useful, some of which require you to be using Google Chrome, but others of which also are on Firefox apps (Yes, Firefox also has apps, which I found out about 15 seconds after finding out Chrome has apps). (I have no idea about Safari or other browsers, but I'm guessing they do too).

The most promising ones are the White Noise App, which is much better for blocking sounds than plugging my ipod in my ears and listening to music which tends to then drive the mood of my story rather than the mood coming from the story itself.

 There is a "Stay Focused" one that cuts off your time-wasting webpage browsing when you are supposed to be working. Ouch! I'll waiting for the "Hand that comes out of your screen and slaps you" app.

There are a few writing apps that black out your screen so all that is there is a black background and your writing, so you can write without distractions. (Check out Write Space; it works off line and saves with every keystroke, so you don't lose anything!) That's pretty cool in theory. Now if only it could also black out the room, the dog, the kids, the pile o' laundry, the dishes, and the bowl of popcorn.

The top ten list doesn't highlight all the good ones though. There's a timer one I like, which also could be pretty cool for managing how much time I spend on blogs or facebook or emails. You can set it for any amount of time and then the buzzer goes off. I can see using that to focus my writing (20 minutes of pure writing and then I get to check emails...) or facebook (10 minutes of facebook and then it's BACK TO WORK for you young lady!!) (That is totally what the buzzer should sound like, by the way.)

There's Quicknote, too, which is like the old yellow legal pads I love so much. You can type notes and add pictures and such on it. I love that idea as opposed to taking notes in Word, because... well, it's a legal pad. I love legal pads. They are so yellow. And lined. And remind me of college (although in college I used lavender and sky blue legal pads, which are much cooler but harder to find).  Also, it's easy to tell the difference between my notes and my actual writing that way. It also allows you to save them online so you can access them from anywhere you have internet - like when you are at the bus stop playing angry birds on your phone and suddenly think of a great idea for chapter four.

In relation to my love of legal pads, there is also a sticky note app. Who doesn't love a good sticky note? And this one lets your choose your color, and they don't accidentally fall off when you aren't looking and then you can't find it when you really need to remember that outstanding idea you had for your elevator pitch that would have agents crying and begging for your manuscript right this instant. Ah yes... if I had this app years ago I'd be a female James Patterson by now.

I could go on and on, but if you are interested, just head over to "the store" and browse around. But get the timer first, otherwise you might be there all day!


  1. It is craziness, these apps. They are endless. How to choose?? Today I discovered by DropBox auto links to my Polaris Documents on my smartphone where I can edit documents. And two hours have gone by and I have not yet started to do what I actually planned today! I didn't know I could change the colours of Sticky Notes. Must try that next. Thanks!

  2. These look fun. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ok-- I didn't know any of this --I thought apps were for phones only!

  4. Ooh, I think I like the one that cuts off web browsing. And I'm glad you aren't a female James Patterson...yet. You might not blog with us because you'd be famous and busy doing famous writer things.

  5. Ooh, I think I like the one that cuts off web browsing. And I'm glad you aren't a female James Patterson...yet. You might not blog with us because you'd be famous and busy doing famous writer things.

  6. Heidi, you're hilarious! John recently discovered Angry Birds when he got his new Droid; for a totally non-tech guy he sure spends a lot of time with pigs and birds these days.