Ten Google Chrome Apps or Extensions That Will Make You a Better Writer

This post, by Literary Seamstress Kemari Howell, originally appeared on her Easily Mused site on 9/28/11 and is reprinted here in its entirety with her permission.

It took me a while to fall in love with Google Chrome. I was a die hard Firefox user for many years, and felt I owed FF my loyalty for saving me from the wretched Internet Explorer. But now I can’t live without Google Chrome. It’s minimal design paired with its ease-of-use makes it a worthy browser. 

But what I love most about Google Chrome are the apps/extensions. They make browsing the internet a much more satisfying activity. But Google Chrome apps and extensions don’t just enhance browsing, they also help improve productivity, make certain tasks easier to perform, and can even help curb procrastination when you need it.

As a writer, I need all the help I can get being more productive and limiting procrastination. Google Chrome doesn’t just help me surf the web, it also makes me a better writer. By utilizing Google Chrome apps and extensions, you can also become more productive as a writer (and hopefully less distracted). Some of my favorite Google Chrome apps and extensions are below.

Ten Google Chrome apps or extensions that will make you a better writer:

Send to Kindle – The description on the app page says: “Send to Kindle is a Browser extension for Kindle owners who prefer reading web content on their devices. It’s designed to offer a quick way for pushing web content to Kindle, so you can read articles or news on your device.” It’s also available for Safari, Firefox, Opera, and IE9. 

ScribeFire – If you’re a blogger, or have a website hosted on one of the well-known blogging platforms, then ScribeFire will be a very useful tool. “You can post to blogs from WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Windows Live Spaces, Tumblr, Posterous, Xanga, LiveJournal, or any other blog that supports the MetaWeblog or MovableType APIs.” Also available for Firefox. 

Lazarus: Form Recovery – I’ve been using Lazarus for several years now and I can honestly say it has saved my butt quite a few times. Lazarus autosaves everything you type so you can easily recover from form-killing timeouts, crashes and network errors. All those blog posts that disappear when your computer crashes, or when you try to post and get an error can now be saved. If only I had known about this during the Myspace blogging days. Also available for Firefox. 

StayFocused – One of my favorite apps, and one of the best. This is a godsend during NaNoWriMo. “StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.” Definitely helps cut out the distractions and curbs the procrastination. 

White Noise – This one isn’t for everyone. “Some people find that a white noise source improves their ability to concentrate by covering over irritating or distracting sounds like an annoying neighbor’s stereo or the loud traffic outside.” If you aren’t one of those people who finds white noise soothing, go ahead and skip to the next app, but if you’re like me, you’ll love this app! 

Vyew – This one also isn’t for everyone. This is best utilized between two or more people collaborating on a project. (Great for writers working on projects such as anthologies or for illustrators and writers working on graphic novels). “Vyew is a tool that allows you to meet and share information both in real-time and continuously. Upload images, files, videos and more into Vyew, and Vyew will store the information in one room that anyone can access and contribute to at anytime.” 

Write Space – I just recently started using this one. I like it. It’s not extravagant, but that’s part of its appeal. I do have other apps and software similar to this that I use often, but I find this also does the trick in a pinch. According to the webstore page, “Write Space is a customizable full-screen text-editor that lives in your web-browser. It is designed to minimize the distractions that come between you and your writing.” 

Dark Scroll – Similar to Write Space. “Dark Scroll is a distraction-free writing environment for Google Chrome. This application is similar to WriteRoom, Write Monkey and Pyroom.” I’m looking forward to the features that will be introduced in the future, especially more font options and the ability to sync with Google Docs.

Dictionary.com – I don’t know what I would do without my dictionary and thesaurus. I use them more in a day than I can imagine. “Dictionary Instant instantly returns word definition as you type, plus a quick link to Dictionary.com if you ever need further detail.” Functional and necessary.

Kindle Cloud Reader – I think it’s safe to say that a good many people now have a Kindle (or other e-reader) and that this isn’t a gadget that will fizzle out and die anytime soon. It took me a long time to want a Kindle, and even longer to finally get one. Now that I have it, I don’t think I can live without it. Or this extension. “Kindle Cloud Reader is a web app from Amazon that lets you read your Kindle books, instantly.” So even if you don’t have a Kindle, you should certainly have a Kindle app. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

There you have it, ten Google Chrome apps and extensions to make your writing life easier and more productive. You can find all of these Google Chrome apps and more at the Google Chrome Web Store. Just search for an app by category, or if you know it, by the name of the app.

Q: Do you use Google Chrome? If not, what’s your favorite browser? And of course, what are your favorite apps and extensions for your browser?

Kemari Howell

Kemari Howell is a freelance book editor and Literary Seamstress. She is a thirty-something mother of twins, whom she calls Thing 1 and Thing 2, and currently lives in Florida. A self-proclaimed belletrist, Kemari has been writing since she learned the fine art of cursive writing. She’s had several short pieces published, including a poem when she was fifteen, and is currently working on an as-yet-titled YA novel. She has been editing informally for well over seven years, only recently making the migration to full-time freelancer. She is the founder and managing content editor of Easily Mused, a concept borne from a desire to support and inspire the creative community.