Many of us in the Publishing program would someday like to be editors. As editors, we will have the crucial job of leading an author towards the ultimate goal: perfecting and finishing a novel. This task may seem daunting, and the process can be painful. The experience is a little like to trying to wash a cat. However, with some perseverance, a freshly washed cat is something of beauty. This goes for a greatly pruned and polished novel as well.

What can an editor do to make an author’s writing process less painful so that the novel might show up in time for the next deadline? Maybe, a smart phone app? In the grandness of the digital age, we are bombarded everyday with new ways to improve ourselves, our cooking, our shopping, and now, our writing. A smart phone is in all of our pockets at all times anyway, so why not utilize it for publishing, too?

What’s one of the best things a writer can do to improve his writing? Read more. Oyster, an eBook subscription app, will allow you to do just that.  Check out our entire post about Oyster here.

Jotting down ideas on the train or when walking around is another way to improve a writer’s skills. Sometimes though, it is hard to keep track of a pad of paper and a writing utensil. A phone is always in our pockets, however. Dragon Dictation will turn your voice recordings into text quickly and easily. Evernote allows you to record observations in a more structured way where you can then add photos, reminders, and to-do lists. MindNode is a great app for plotting and character mapping because it aids in the creation of flow charts.

Sometimes an author’s problem is not a lack of words but a plethora of words. The app fittingly titled Hemingway analyzes an extensive block of text, highlighting hard-to-read sentences. The app also points out adverbs, and synonyms are supplied to minimize verbosity. Writer Pro is another app that can help simplify writing. You can select and highlight different parts of speech within the text, and it also displays the reading time and number of sentences.

The most difficult obstacle for any editor is definitely getting an author to stay focused. Writer’s block is the most evil of monsters when it comes to finishing a manuscript quickly. It’s even worse when the editor’s red pen taps away impatiently on his desk. Thankfully, there are a couple apps to help whisk the writer’s block monster away. With Write or Die, writers can set word count goals for themselves. If the word count is not met within a certain time period, then the app can administer various “punishments.” Although, when it comes to writer’s block, the biggest distraction can be the smart phones themselves. So when you using your phone to better your writing, use SelfControl. This app simply lets you block other sites and apps, like Facebook or Twitter, for the time of your choosing.

Let’s not let our smart phones become our biggest distraction. Let’s embrace the phone and the ingenious apps that can make our publishing lives a little less stressful.

Check out the entire list of helpful writing apps here.