Sometimes, a pen and paper are not enough for these trying modern times and so, over the years, I have picked up a few helpful digital tools along the way. While this is directed at copywriters, I think a few other job titles could benefit too. Let’s kick this list off with a colon:
THe HEadLINe GETs CAPitAlisED LIke ThIS RighT?
Does this preposition get capitalised? Why does ‘with’ look so weird in lowercase? Who am I? What is English? When the midday (morning and afternoon) downward spiral starts to happen, TitleCase is there to hold your hand and affirm you. All you do is throw your headings in there and it does all the capitalisation for you. Hooray! Also, if there’s anything else you left in your Grade 10 English class, Grammar Girl usually has an answer.
Open plan offices, a marvel of the modern agency and the downfall of concentration. Whenever something needs your full attention, headphones are essential, doy! Another tip is to match your music with the kind of copy you’re writing. Writing something inspirational? Survivor – Eye of the Tiger. Something inspirational but corporate? Kenny G – Forever In Love (or any other Kenny G song because they all sound the same, trust). Also, make a few playlists on your music platform of choice. Playlist ideas include: Another Revert Calls, I Ate My Lunch Before 12 and The Client Approves. If you need some ambience to transport you to the land of dancing letters and clauses holding hands, try Noisli.
I Just Want to Write!
When I’m doing little bits of copy, it often feels pointless to create a Google Doc or lurk around in Pages. That’s where Writer, the Internet Typewriter comes in. Writer autosaves, displays your character count AND you can change the text and background colours. Reverts going into the double digits? Change the colours to blue and feel a wave of calm wash over you as you internalise your anger. Also, if you’re usually working in your web browser, it’s a great way to avoid cmd + tabbing your precious life minutes away.
Ye Olde Writer’s Blocke
I’ve been meaning to get a dictionary to flip through for when the words evaporate but for now, I use AdjectivesStarting.com. There’s only so many times you can use amazing, great and wonderful before you start feeling like a one-trick word pony. AdjectivesStarting will give you more tricks. As you expand your collection of adjectives, get some cheap thrills by seeing what offbeat words you can get client approval on.
When you don’t have a traffic manager, keeping ahead of who needs what when can be tricky. Wunderlist is a great app that allows you to create lists on lists on lists with reminders and sub-lists and notes and all those other wonderful things that will make you feel like a fully fledged organised person. It also makes a very satisfying ping when you complete a task.
“One Minute Please”
If you don’t work on scripts regularly, it can be difficult to remember how many words go into a thirty second radio slot and so forth. Speech – Words to Minutes has a guide to the amount of words in a specific timeframe and it also lets you input your word count to determine how much time your copy will take up.
Apparently 52 minutes of work followed by a 17 minute break is optimal for productivity. Is this true? According to The Atlantic it is, but either way, I am not one to turn down a break. You may be familiar with Toggl, the time tracking software, but have you been using their Pomodoro timer? You may not be a 52:17er so you can set it to whatever interval you please but it will let you know when it’s time to let your brain chill out (or guiltily carry on working).
Lastly, Google is your friend. When in doubt, just click here, hold its hand, and go on a journey to the land of infinite possibilities. Last lastly, this is a small peek at what’s out there so please share your favourite websites, tips and apps in the comments!