Jot Garden

hacking creativity

Best iOS Apps for Writers (2018 Edition)

There are dozens of great iOS apps for writers, and hundreds of articles online which list them all out with short blurbs. Instead of doing a quick punch-up on every writing-focused app on the App Store, I’d like to do a deeper dive on the apps that I actually use every day to write short stories, beat my head against my novel, and generate fine blog posts such as this one. My point here is that this list will not be exhaustive, but it should be a great starting point.

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How to Keep Notebooks

My apartment is littered with the carcasses of notebooks. Some are full, some half-full, and in a drawer in my desk I keep several pristine books of different sizes awaiting their own ravishing.

If you’re a creative, and you don’t bother with minimalism,  you probably have a similar dark corner of your home where blank paper stares at you in expectation. It’s just who we are, and if you’re like me, the white expanses can sometimes raise up a sea of anxiety. And yet you buy more paper.

To “keep notebooks” sounds almost domestic, like keeping up appearances. The idea of housekeeping comes to mind. The most accurate analogy is to keeping a pet: if you feed your journal, it will reward you with a form of companionship and insight.

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On Keeping a Journal as a Creative

We don’t often discuss this, but ideas have to come from somewhere. As creative workers, we like to imagine that they bubble up from the aether, or from the bottom of a gin tonic. If we’re more honest, we discuss ideas in terms of observations, of memories and experiences. But even in that case, the creative process happens somewhere in the back of your mind, behind curtains in a place closed off to us. The best most of us can do is notice where the ideas start, and for many creatives, that place is in the pages of a journal.

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How to be a Writer (In Five Easy Steps)

Writing is easy. Just follow these steps, clap your hands, do a little dance, spend the next 1000-5000 hours working on the next great American novel.

1. Drink

It is difficult to overstate the importance of inebriation for budding writers. Ernest Hemingway, alcoholic extraordinaire, famously quipped that one should “write drunk, edit sober,” or at least the internet seems to believe he did, despite the large body of evidence that he wrote almost exclusively in the early morning with no mood-altering chemicals present. Despite factual inconvenience, alcohol and creative writing have become intertwined in the modern folklore of our business. Hemingway himself, along with a slew of other Lost Generation writers such as his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald, paved the way for alcoholics to stumble daftly into the world of literary success, with only happy endings for this particular lot of jolly fellows. Literature before the twentieth century (exempting certain examples) was seemingly drier, tee-totaled, instead fuelled by opium and pipe smoke (more on that later).

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