Today, everyone needs to be creative. Whether you’re a writer, designer, or marketer – you need to create. Inspiration makes creativity easier, so when a writing student asked me about apps for inspiration, it made me think about the apps I use. Can apps help you to become inspired?
Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired on Demand
Can you demand inspiration from yourself? I doubt it. If you try to force inspiration, you’ll choke. However, you can create the right conditions for inspiration to land on you – like the blue bird of happiness. :-)
I’ve come up with seven apps I use which help me to get inspired more or less on demand. The apps create the conditions in which you’re likely to become inspired. They’re in no particular order.
1. Evernote: Your External Brain – and Inspiration
I’ve been using Evernote since 2009. Over the past five years, Evernote has become more and more important to me. I especially like the Related Notes feature. When you start writing a note, Evernote offers you “related notes”. Occasionally, especially if you have lots of notes, Evernote will bring a real gem to the surface, which inspires you.
Most of my thinking happens in Evernote, simply because it’s always available both on my computer and phone. I snap images with the Evernote camera, send handwritten notes from Livescribe (more on Livescribe in a moment) and Penultimtate to Evernote, and record audio notes.
If I want to get inspired, I create a note in Evernote, and start searching and browsing. I write a lot of content, for my clients’ books and blogs, and my own. I wouldn’t be half as creative or productive without Evernote.
2. Penultimate: Take Handwritten Notes on Your iPad
Evernote bought Penultimate, so all your handwritten notes and sketches transfer to Evernote automatically, as soon as you create them.
3. Livescribe Desktop (Requires Livescribe Pen)
Much as I love computers, nothing replaces handwriting for inspiration. I’ve been using Livescribe pens for several years.
Originally, I bought the pens for interviews. It’s wonderful to be able to take notes, and record an interview at the same time, then play back ONLY what you need to hear. It saves transcribing, which takes time, both uploading audio, and then waiting for the transcription to come back.
Over time, I started to use the Livescribe pens and Livescribe Desktop to plan, take notes, and create initial drafts of my writing. You can send any Livescribe page to Evernote.
4. Tinderbox (Mac): Automatic Organization for Your Inspirations
5. Scapple: the Endless Canvas for Ideas
I adore Scrivener, and have used it for years. Recently Literature and Latte released Scapple. It’s the perfect companion for Scrivener, and wonderfully inspiring.
The app gives you an endless canvas. If you’re stuck on something, start writing notes on Scapple, letting your mind drift, and make associations. Before you know it, you’re inspired.
6. Drafts (iOS): Grab Inspiration as It Flies Past
Have you noticed that inspiration usually strikes when you’re in the middle of doing something else? This is where Drafts comes in handy. Jot a few notes, and go back to what you were doing.
I used to jot notes on sticky notes, and on text notes. Invariably, I’d lose them. A week or two later, I’d remember that I wrote down something brilliant for Project X. I’d spend the next 15 minutes searching the piles of material on my desk, the notebooks on my shelves, and my computer. Then my devices. Could I find it? NO. Since I couldn’t remember what the heck it was, I had no search terms to search on.
After I discovered Drafts, it became my automatic scratch pad. Whenever I’m in the middle of something, and get inspired, I tap a few notes into Drafts. Later, I send the notes to Evernote, Dropbox, or email.
7. PicMonkey: Get Inspired With Images
I’m a writer, not a designer. Since I started to use PicMonkey I’ve found that it’s perfect not only to create images for blog posts and social media, you can use it to get inspired too.
Often I’ll start with a blank canvas on PicMonkey, and start doodling. Or I’ll drop an image onto PicMonkey, and start playing with it. Within five to ten minutes, I’ve been inspired. Try it yourself – it’s free.
So, there we have it. Seven apps for inspiration.
A tip: apps like Evernote and Tinderbox become truly inspirational once you’ve packed material into them. So stuff material in. Don’t worry too much about organization. Inspiration often happens with serendipity. :-)
The Easy-Write Process: Get Inspired on Demand
Want to get inspired on demand? It’s essential in 2014. The Easy-Write Process will help. It’s especially useful if you’re ruled by your inner editor, or tend to procrastinate.