A-Z #E4W|X-Factor Apps–Daily Inspiration to X-Factor your Creativity

The X post for #26Tech A-Z Challenge is not about reality television programming, nor will it immediately make you a celebrity despite your obvious talents.

These apps and services keep your tablets and browsers full of regular design or creative inspiration. Which may or may not give you some more X-Factor.

Included below is a brief #E4W or Evernote for Writers tip on creating a visual mood board format within Evernote.


Visual X-Factor

As a  visual learner I find a good dose of well-designed visual inspiration has great results through all my creative works.

1. Design Blogs

Design Blogs – There are many design blogs to subscribe to which offer inspiring images. There are dozens of lists opinioning on top design blogs to watch, but here’s one listing 15 of the best.

2. Image Collections

pinterest iconPinterest offers boards of pinned images from across the web, all categorised or tagged for your searching pleasure. There are also mobile Pinterest apps to both access these images, and pin more of your own.

Start off by checking out my own large Pinterest boards (might as well plug them here) – I have a huge board of Writing pins, and other design boards and genre boards. Take a look at which boards I follow also, for further inspiration.

Any social media sites such as Facebook, or Pinterest can be a time-suck, and require some discipline to use simply for quick or regular shots of inspiration. But Google+ in particular, has many excellent sharing writing and design communities where some stimulating images (and discussions) are shared.

3. Daily News

i09 logoGawker site, i09 is meant to be for sci-fi fans with a science, technology and future theme, but publishes so much more. Another Gawker blog, Lifehacker, is must-read for productivity, technology and life hacks, and is available locally for several countries. Lifehacker | io9

4. Subscribe

Feedly appFound some good sites? Subscribe, then pull them together into an RSS Feed reader app or webapp.

I use Feedly, because all my feeds look great in block or magazine format. Others like news boards like awesome iPAD app, Flipboard. Yet others take the best articles offline for reading on-the-go – I use Pocket for this. Others like Instapaper or Readability.

I’ve focused more on these apps in the R for Reading Offline post in this series.

Feedly |Flipboard | Pocket

4. Create Your Own Visual Inspiration (I use Evernote)

Pinterest is a mighty fine web-board (and app) for the curation of graphics, but sometimes I want to store these away from the web. Several of the all-over note-taking apps (profiled in N for Notes) such as Microsoft OneNote, Springpad and Evernote, are great for this (and offer access via apps and the web also).

Springpad, in particular, is great for curating a board of visual elements, and has an actual board view where you can play around with placing notes and files onto the background.

Desktop Board Creation: I Use Scapple.

Evernote for Writers Square200Tip: #Evernote4Writers

Here’s how I create a visual inspiration board in Evernote: –

Evernote Visual Prompt board

Using the Evernote “Card View” I can also have my visual notes presented in a large block format. i09 has a regular feature of posting a Concept Art Writing Prompt – if I like these, I send to Evernote and file into my Visual Prompt board, where I can gaze over the pretty pictures. Across the web, many blogs offer regular visual writing or creative prompts worth collecting.

There’s the board, and an enlarged note with my favourite image that came from i09, my super nan (if I had one).

Auditory X-Factor

Tablets and browsers come into play easily when considering some auditory X-Factor.

1. Music Playlists.

playlistMany creatives work with music playlists running as background. Playlists for creative tasks, and particular genres have often been shared on websites – like this playlist master post shared at YA Highway. And here is 8Track’s huge collection of writing playlists.

For general themed music, we’re being inundated with options to find and stream music via web-radio or associated apps.

2. Ambient Music or Sounds

ambientSome of us work better with background noise – either ambient or static white noise. Or a cafe coffee shop, perhaps?

listly-square-logo_thumb.pngCheck out the Latte post in this series, or the full ambient sound list of apps and websites is found in the Listly List: * Distraction Free Tools – Ambient Sounds and Noise Reduction Apps

3. Podcasts and Radio Shows

podcast-headphonesThere are too many inspiring podcasts and radio shows to list here. Search for best writing, creativity or productivity or [insert your interest] podcasts. Subscribe and download to listen either from your desktop or via mobile devices for times when you’re commuting etc.

4. Audio Books

audiobooksAudio books have helped me “read” books which I’d otherwise not find the time to attend to. Sometimes hearing something provides a different meaning or nuance than that found in reading words. Consider trying out the format if you’ve not as yet stepped into this increasingly large world of books to listen to.

Daily Inspiration – Emails, Websites and Apps

And finally we come to the daily inspiration available from several websites and email subscriptions. I’m going to concentrate on ones which come down as apps for a start –

Innovate (iPhone)

innovate appThe Innovate app for iPhone brings down the latest posts from the innovation and creativity community – so you’ll find posts listed from TED, Accidental Creative, Fast Company, Blogging Innovation and feeds on topics from Twitter and Flickr. Free app.

Appstore: Innovate.

Behance App (iOS)

behance appBehance is the must-go site for design portfolios and there’s an app for it too. Browse and search for creatives you follow, browse fashion, typography,architecture, photography and digital art galleries and more. Free app.

Appstore: Behance.

TED App (iOS)

ted appMany of us could use up a lot of time simply browsing around Youtube for the latest videos. At least browsing through TED offers many videos we know are going to be “good for us”.  There is also a TED Books app to shelve all the free little books produced during TED conferences, and a TED Communicate app for conference attendees. Free app.

Appstore: TED

Daily Quotes in an App

There are a lot of quotes collection apps available through appstores. But not so many provide daily or regular inspiring quotes. Here’s a short list from the Apple app store –

Things to do with your quotes:

See the two Q posts on Quotes which discuss collecting quotes into Evernote or other apps: Quotes Collections post in this series.

26Tech-Logo_thumb.png#26Tech: This was the X post for my A to Z challenge, where this blog will be posting 26 days worth of Tech posts relevant to writers and creatives.

You will find the other posts under tag: #26Tech or an index post will be provided on May 1st.

A2Z-BADGE-0002014_thumb.jpgA to Z: in April you will find other bloggers providing A to Z posts on many topics, through the 2014 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Evernote-for-Writers-Square200.pngEvernote 4 Writers: The above post contained a tip for using Evernote as a visual board.

2 thoughts on “A-Z #E4W|X-Factor Apps–Daily Inspiration to X-Factor your Creativity

    1. Furniture isn’t something I think about when populating a story world. But I do do house shots, exteriors and other dominant buildings. Sometimes I go on the lookout for them, spending far too much time “researching” my story world images.

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