Updated: Mar 6
Welcome to The Apps That Help This Artist. Musta has designed this series to provide specific, technical support. We will interview exciting, up and coming creatives on the apps and self-bettering tools that are helpful in establishing their careers and organising themselves.
In this episode of The Apps That Help This Artist we talk to Esther Aluko— Nigerian culture writer, literature and film critic. In 2021, she started a blog where she uploads books and film-centered content, especially reviews. In this interview she tells us what she thinks is the most difficult part of freelancing, the app that enables her to read on her device without any distractions and why Twitter is the perfect social media for her as a writer.
Hi Esther! Please tell us more about yourself.
I’m Esther Aluko, a final year law student who loves to read and write. I started writing ever since I knew how to read. I believe my love for writing is a by-product of my love for reading. I love language, words, and the many things that can be done with it. My love for reading inspired me to create a blog in 2021 ever since, I seen collaborations with literary magazines and indie authors in need of book promotion. I also work as a freelancer.
What’s the hardest part about being a freelance writer?
It gets difficult to show up, especially when you have a life outside what you do. I think that's the most difficult part because what many people do not tell you is that even when doing what you love, sometimes you get tired or burn out you'd need to work towards balance every day. So honestly, showing up is the hardest part and you must consistently wrestle against all the odds that'll prevent you from showing up.
What apps, tools or programs aid you in your freelance writing career?
Most of the apps I use for organizing my work are system apps on my phone. I'm a big fan of technology and I love what it has done to make life easier and better especially for me as a writer. My notes app on my phone is where I write down important tasks for the day, my google voice assistant is also a feature I use to eliminate the time I'd need to manually do things.
Aside from these, most of my favorite apps as a writer come in form of extensions. My chrome extensions are my favorite piece of tech to use. It takes the hard part out of my work. I also love Grammerly. It helps me check for spelling errors and ensures that my sentence structure is on point. Every writer knows you cannot be too careful when it comes to sentence structuring.
I like JustRead. It helps me to take away all distracting content on a page like buttons, ads, background images, comments, and side and bottom panel content. It just loads the main content and images in a simple interface leaving a clean post to read without any distractions. JustRead makes it easier for me to research content since I won’t be overwhelmed by the extra stuff.
There’s also Cite This For Me. As a final year student currently working on my project, this extension helps me to cite sources in multiple formats. It makes the citation process easy by automatically creating citations in my preferred style with a single click.
And lastly, OneTab has helped me a lot. Since writing requires tons of research, opening dozens of tabs is unavoidable. OneTab helps me to discard all opened tabs and create a list of all the opened websites. It makes it easier to access all the websites visited without lagging my browser.
What social media currently has most of your screen time and why?
Twitter. It has always been twitter. I'm not a strong social media user but I find Twitter satisfying. It's also a great app for me as a writer. I mean, it's a micro-blogging platform to share your thoughts. There are a lot of resources on the app and I think people should use it more. There's this feature that allows you to follow topics and see tweets under the topics you follow. It's amazing, to say the least. That way, you can intentionally curate your feed to your taste. I learn a lot from Twitter.
What is your writing process like: draft first, then edit or edit as you write?
I draft first then edit. Most of the time I write as the thoughts come, randomly, and watch as the words later take on a life of their own during my editing process. When I'm writing I think of it like I'm building something and so it doesn't need to look incredible until it's done. I'm creating art so I know it doesn't have to make sense until it's done. The draft is the star of any piece of good writing, with a good draft you can be confident of an amazing finished product. That's how I work and I must say, I'm also a fantastic editor.
If I am just getting into the creative work you do, what pieces of yours would you recommend I read?
I love the OP-ED I wrote about The Afrobeats documentary on Netflix and why we must document the history of the genre, next to that would be the piece I recently wrote about audiobooks for my blog and my article about the intersection between money and mental health which I wrote for a magazine I currently work for.
What's one piece of advice you'll give your younger self in relation to the work you do now?
Start. You already have all it takes to be everything you want to be, stop being overanalytical and critical about your work—your art has all it takes to find an audience, so start exactly where you are and grind hard.
Connect with Esther Aluko here!