Here are some of my favorite writing and research resources from graduate school and beyond. Most of these programs/ apps are available for PC and Mac. However, the list does lean slightly toward Mac stuff since I am a Mac user. I will try to keep it balanced. If you have any suggestions, please send them to me!
Hands down, my favorite writing program. It blocks everything else on the computer and allows you to focus on writing. There are different calming writing backgrounds to choose from and soothing background music as well. There is a free version and a premium version. Both are great. Check out the pricing for the premium–I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Another clean-page writing app that I really like. Byword is super simple and aesthetically pleasing. It gives you a clean white or black background for extensive writing projects; the only thing you will see is a word count, which is barely visible at the bottom of the page. The feature I love most: you can set Byword to hide paragraphs or lines as you type so that you are focusing only on a single sentence or paragraph. Unbelievably useful for those of us who love to go back and fiddle with perfectly adequate writing. Sorry, PC people; this one is Mac only.
Very useful writing goal website. I found it particularly helpful while writing my dissertation. I do not use the site as much anymore, but I do still adhere to the 750-word writing goal.
Invaluable all-in-one writing program for large projects (like dissertations!). I use this to plan courses, write articles, organize large service projects, etc. They now have a Word version, which works well. Many professional writers and novelists use this program. I have yet to find one that compares. Also, they offer a substantial student discount.
Literature and Latte
This is not a writing program but a comprehensive list of writing resources (including writing programs) for Mac and PC users. It is worth bookmarking at the very least.
This is a great time-keeping technique for those of us who don’t like time-keeping techniques. It always works for me, especially when I need to make some significant progress on an article or project. A few of my colleagues seem to like it as well. There are really cool apps for it, too–Android and Mac.
My Delicious Library
Really cool online bookshelf. You can scan your books into the computer if you have a webcam. Best of all, you can generate an MLA bibliography from your bookshelf!
Solid online organizer and archiving system for your academic articles. It is free, Mac and PC compatible, and can be installed on your desktop for easy filing. Also, you can share articles with others.
For the serious Mac user, Papers is one of the most sophisticated, multifunctional, powerful archiving systems for articles, books, and pretty much anything else that has letters written on it. I cannot tell you everything this program does because I am constantly discovering new tricks each time I use it. Some killer features: it locates all of the source information for an article with just the author’s last name, connects to your library’s system so that you can search for articles from within the program, and it displays PDFs in full view for easy reading. Love it.
Everyone love Zotero. It is the most efficient of the three bibliography management systems listed here. It does everything that the others do and more. Highly recommend.