21 of Best Writing Apps and Software for 2021

This regularly updated list features the best writing apps and software for authors, bloggers and freelancers.

I use many of these writing apps regularly. Others, come recommended by writers and authors. Everything here will help you become a better, smarter and more productive writer provided…

Put writing first.

Remember, while today's writing software is useful and powerful, don't let a shiny app distract you. That means spending time in the chair and writing your articles, books or stories!

When you're done, you can tinker with the best writing apps as a reward.

BEST WRITING APPS 2021
  • Easy to use, works anywhere
  • Features a powerful online grammar checker
  • Great writing insights
TRY GRAMMARLY FOR FREE →
LivingWriter
  • Built for authors and novelists
  • iOS and Android apps available
  • Time-saving story templates
TAKE OUT A 14-DAY FREE TRIAL→
ProwritingAid
  • Over 20 powerful writing reports
  • "Goals" feature helps you focus on impactful changes
  • In-app videos and explanations help you learn as you edit
TRY PROWRITINGAID FOR FREE →
Scrivener
  • Manage large manuscripts
  • Organize your writing
  • Research and write nonfiction
TRY SCRIVENER →

1. Grammarly

 

Use for: Checking your work for grammar mistakes

Best Writing Apps
Grammarly graphical user interface

I use this application to check my blog posts and book chapters for typos and spelling mistakes. The premium version of Grammarly has powerful features that also help you to improve your writing skills.

It provides several editing recommendations such as avoiding passive voice, using shorter sentences,  alternative word suggestions for using a broader vocabulary, and so on.  Many of these features are also invaluable when you need to trim your word count.

You can find out why I like this premium grammar checker in my 2021 Grammarly review.

It costs $29.99 per month.

2. LivingWriter

 

Use for: checking your work for grammar mistakes

Best Writing Apps
LivingWriting story templates

LivingWriter is a new writing app for writing stories or a book. Rather than using a word processor, Living Writer is accessible via your web browser.

It helps writers arrange their plots and stories using boards much like Scrivener. Living Writer contains a series of outline templates for popular story structures like the Hero's Journey.

It's a great choice for short stories and novels.

LivingWriting now includes apps for Android and iOS and a new offline desktop mode. You can take out a 14-day free trial without using a credit card.

3. ProWritingAid

 

Use for: Self-editing

Best Writing Apps
ProWritingAid real-time report

ProWritingAid is another proofreading and grammar checker writing app that will help you improve your writing and refine the art of self-editing.

It works similarly to Grammarly, but it's more affordable. If you're unsure about this writing software and how it compares to the apps above, I recently published a detailed review and video comparison.

It costs $50 for one year.

4. Scrivener

 

Use for: Writing books and longer-form works

Best Writing Apps
Scrivener is not your typical word-processor

I can’t recommend Scrivener enough as a writing app for longer-form works.

I use this book writing software to write feature articles for newspapers, long-form content, reports, books and more. In the past, I used Scrivener for blogging. These days, I use it mostly for long-form writing.

Scrivener goes far beyond a regular word processor such as Microsoft Word.

Scrivener makes it easier for writers as well as students to organise their ideas and manage more complicated writing projects, using both the desktop and mobile writing app. It's also available on iPad.

Scrivener also has plenty of keyboard shortcuts to speed up the writing process. If you need help, you can learn how to use this book writing software faster by taking this course by Gwen Hernandez.

It costs $45.

5. Dragon Naturally Speaking

 

Use for: Dictation

Best Writing Apps
Dragon is my recommended dictation software

I use dictation writing software to write 1,000s of words per hour when up against a deadline, something I just couldn’t pull off with a word processor.

Dictation is not like typing, but it's a skill worth learning.

For exploring this writing app to write faster and converting speech to text, check out my guide to how I use the writing app Dragon Naturally Speaking.

If you're on a budget, you can try dictation by using the inbuilt software in Windows or Mac for your work.

It costs $300

6. Write! Pro

 

Use for: Writing and Note-taking

 

Best Writing Apps
Scrivener is not your typical word-processor

Write! Pro bills itself as a digital workspace for writing and note-taking.

It works on Mac, Windows or Linux as an app on your computer. Write! Pro backups up your work to the cloud for safety and anywhere access.

It's a distraction-free writing app much like Byword or IA Writer and comes with a focus mode and white and dark themes. However, Write! Pro includes more fonts and editing features than those apps.

For example, the app enables writers to set daily goals around word-count and arrange both short and long-form writing using a file and folder structure as well as tabs, kind of like Scrivener.

Writers can also share their work with readers and editors from inside of the app. It also supports Markdown.

It costs $21.49.

7. Rev

 

Use for: Transcriptions and dictation

 

Best Writing Apps: Rev
Try Rev for more accuracy, at a higher cost

Rev is another useful dictation app for writers.

Using the iPhone or Android app, you can dictate a draft into your phone and then upload to Rev for transcription by a human at $1 a minute.

Alternatively, if you interview someone for writing better non-fiction articles, you can save time by transcribing these interviews. It's more accurate than using a dictaphone but at a cost.

It costs $1.25 per minute of transcribed audio.

8. Vellum

 

Use for: Preparing a book to self-publish

 

Best Writing Apps: Vellum
I self-publish my books with Vellum

I… love Vellum.

One of the trickiest parts of self-publishing is creating a book that looks good. Or at least it was.

With Vellum, you can create beautiful looking e-books and print books in minutes. I prepare all my books for self-publishing with Vellum, and it's a delight to use.

It costs USD199 to created unlimited ebooks.

9. Ginger Software

 

Use for:  Checking your work for grammar mistakes

 

Best Writing Apps: Ginger Software
Ginger grammar checker

Ginger software is an affordable alternative to Grammarly.

I recommend the Ginger software writers who don’t consider English their primary language. It enables you to translate documents written in Spanish, French, German and more into English and check for grammar errors.

10. IA Writer

 

Use for: Writing articles and blog posts

 

Best Writing Apps: IA Writer
An elegant, easy-to-use word processor

IA Writer is my favourite distraction-free writing app for short blog posts and articles. While Scrivener is great for managing large writing projects, this writing app is perfect for smaller ones.

This writing app for iPad, iPhone and Mac helps writers overcome distractions through a feature called the Focus Mode.

The writing app also has a full-screen mode that highlights the line you are currently typing and fades out everything else on the document.

This is one of the most ingenious features I have come across for focusing your mind on the current point, which is rather useful especially in creative writing projects.

I use IA Writer on my laptop, desktop and mobile. It's an elegant, easy-to-use word processor and it syncs my writing across all of my devices.

Other minimalist writing app alternatives include Byword and WriteRoom.

11. A Plain Text Editor

 

Use for: Writing whatever, wherever

 

Best Writing Apps: Plain Text Editor
Budget friendly writing software

That's right, if you're a writer on a budget, you don't need to spend any money buying expensive writing software or apps.

Instead, you can use the text editor that comes free with your operating system.

Just open up Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac. I like plain text editors for writing something short quickly and easily, without thinking much about it.

10. Dynalist

 

Use for: Outlines

 

Best Writing Apps: Dynalist
My Dynalist dashboard

I use Dynalist to create bullet-point outlines of articles and book chapters before I dictate them.

It's the fastest outlining app I've tried apart from mind-mapping software.

It also enables sharing and collaboration, which is useful if you want to commission an article and give it to another writer to create.

If you're the type of writer who likes to outline their work in advance, this app is useful. It also supports Markdown and can be used as a to-do list tool.

It costs $7.99 per month, but the free version is probably good enough for most writers.

13. Ulysses

 

Use for: Writing articles and blog posts

 

Best Writing Apps: Ulysses
Ulysses is a more feature-rich alternative writing app to IA Writer or even Write! Pro.

For instance, it has features such as Markup-Based Text Editor, keyboard shortcuts so that writers can be faster, a library to organise notes and documents, set writing goals, publish directly to WordPress and Medium, and so on.

It includes mobile and tablet writing apps. Arguably, it's not quite as distraction-free as IA Writer, but it helps you organise both small writing projects (like a blog post) and large ones (like a book).

14. Final Draft

 

Use for: Screen-writing

 

Best Writing Apps: Final Draft
Powerful writing software for screenwriters

Final Draft is the default app of choice for screenwriters.

I've experimented with Final Draft and it strikes me as an example of powerful writing software with a bigger learning curve than your typical word processor.

Although I don't write screenplays I was in a creative writing group a few years ago, and a few screenwriters in it used this app.

15. Day One

 

Use for: Journal writing

 

Best Writing Apps: Day One
A snapshot of how I use the Day One writing app

I'm a big believer in the power of journal writing for finding new ideas and conquering issues like writer's block.

I use the writing app Day One every morning to write a short entry about what I'm struggling with and areas to focus on.

It syncs across all of my devices and supports pictures and markdown too.

16. Evernote

 

Use for: Writing articles and blog posts

 

Best Writing Apps: Evernote
I use Evernote for writing outlines

I use Evernote to record ideas for blog posts and book chapters during the day.

Jotting down n notes immediately when ideas come to you is a fantastic way of capturing random moments of inspiration as well as overcoming writer’s block. So this is certainly a  note-taking app worth exploring.

I also save articles and writing prompts I like into Evernote as part of my personal swipe file using the mobile app.

This writing app also has several other features worth exploring such as dictation mode which will easily allow you to transcribe your voice notes as text, integrations, team collaboration and more.

You can read about how I take charge of Evernote in this guide. Bear is a popular alternative to Evernote.

17. Hemingway App

 

Use for: Self-editing

 

Best Writing Apps: Hemingway App
An app that will improve your writing and self-editing skills. 

“If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”

Ernest Hemingway

That's easier said than done.

So they created a writing app with him in mind!

The good news is writers can use Hemingway Editor to improve their writing and self-editing skills. Paste your text into the application and it will provide suggestions for removing an unnecessary word here and there such as adverbs or tautology.

It also suggests reframing specific sentences from passive voice to active voice and much more. Hemingway is useful when you wish to reduce your word-count without leaving out any essential points from your article.

It's also free.

18. Ayo

 

Use for: Outlining your non-fiction articles and chapters

 

Best Writing Apps: Ayoa
A mindmap

I use Ayoa to create mind maps for articles and book chapters. This writing app enables me to finish articles faster.

I recommend outlining as a way of working for non-fiction writers who want to increase their daily word-count.

This approach works particularly well if you then dictate your mindmaps as articles.

iMindMap is the most advanced mind mapping app available today but cheap alternatives include MindNode and MindMeister.

19. Blurt

 

Use for: Non-fiction, creating a daily writing habit

 

Best Writing Apps: Blurt
This app has a clean and distraction-free interface

Blurt is an interesting new app with the aim of helping writers work a little every day.

It's useful for writing journal entries, blog posts, a newsletter, a book and an essay via a web-browser.

Once logged in, pick a project type and then set a target word-count for a writing project as well as the days you'll work on it.

The clean and distraction-free interface is a little Medium, assuming you don't find writing in a browser distracting. It also enables you to prevent self-editing while writing the first draft by blurring out previous sentences.

Once a project is complete, you can share writings directly from Blurt to Medium, copy them from Blurt or export as Markdown.

If you're interested in Blurt, you can take out a free 14-day trial before paying USD4.99 a month.

20. Airstory

 

Use for: Non-fiction, research, newsletters, curated content

 

Best Writing Apps: Airstory
The Airstory clipper in action

I purchased Airstory as part of an AppSumo detail a year ago. It's changed a bit since then.

Today, Airstory offers a free web-clipper for Chrome or Firefox.

When you come across an interesting piece of research, clip it into your Airstory library and tag it.

Later, when writing a newsletter or article in Google Docs, drag that clipping with a citation into your document. It's a little like Evernote although faster and streamlined.

Airstory is a useful app for non-fiction writers who like to capture and cite reading materials online. It's also a good writing app if you curate content for a newsletter.

21. The Novel Factory

 

Use for: Fiction, learning how to write

 

Best Writing Apps: The Novel Factory
Offers a step-by-step tutorial to writing your first novel

The Novel Factory is writing software for fiction writers.

It works on the web and via a desktop app for Windows. You can try it for free before a once-payment of £24.99.

It offers a step-by-step tutorial to writing your first novel taking you through scene, character, themes and so on.

I don't write fiction much these days so I haven't tested The Novel Factory extensively. It reminded me a little of the Scrivener fiction template.

22. Campfire

 

Use for: Fiction, story-planning, character creation

 

Best Writing Apps: Campfire
The Airstory clipper in action

Campfire is another type of story planning software aimed at new fiction writers.

It was created in two months by two 19-year-old American college students.

At the time of writing, approximately 2000 people use it. It offers a dedicated app for Windows and Mac. I don't write much fiction but its world-building feature looked useful. Although the app needs a little work, there's a clear roadmap on the developers' website.

You can try Campfire for free for 10 days before a once-off payment of $24.99 for the standard version or $49.99 for the pro version.

A Final Word On The Best Writing Apps

There are thousands of writing apps, some of which are free, some of which are expensive, and all of which look promising.

I’ve spent a lot of time testing and using these writing apps and blogging apps. I dumped the apps that added no value to this site, and I paid for ones that helped me grow an audience and write better articles and stories.

As you can see there are many blogging and writing apps, and each will solve specific problems for you, but your craft should always come first.

Pick an app from this list if it solves a problem for you and then get back to what counts.

Filling the blank page and building lasting relationships with your readers.

Got Questions About These Writing Apps?

If you're still wondering what are good writing apps, I recorded this short video that reveals my 7 favourite apps based on the above list and how I use them.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PbTpRERGLag

Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you'll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan Collins: You may already know that there are dozens of different writing apps, which you can choose for your writing projects, but which one is the best. Hey there, my name is Bryan Collins, and that's a question I want to answer in this week's podcast episode. Now I'm a little nerdy about writing apps and I've tried and tested many of them over the years. Well, this week I want to talk about 10 of the best writing apps that I use, and I'm going to get into the pros and cons of each. And to help you find the right one for your freelance writing project, or for your stories, or for your book, I'll also talk about how these particular apps will help you with whatever you're working on. Now, I typically use these writing apps for books, for writing freelance articles, and for writing blog posts for Become a Writer Today.

So, when you're considering a writing app, think about what you're working on, and if they'll help you solve a particular problem in your creative life. Now, with all of that said, let's dive into writing app, number one.

My first writing app of choice is iA Writer. It's available on Mac, on iOS, and more recently on Windows and it's one of these new minimalists or distraction free writing apps. Basically when you open iA Writer, it'll take up your whole screen and present you with a blank page, and you won't have to do anything, but write. In other words, you don't need to worry about how it looks, or playing around with the preferences, or different tools that you can tinker with, and that can take away from working on your first draft. Now, what are the pros of iA Writer? Well, if you are prone to getting distracted while you're working on your manuscript, it's fantastic because it'll just present you with a flashing cursor and you could get going.

It's also ideal if you want to write for the web, because iA Writer supports Markdown and Markdown is basically a way of using hashtags and the asterisk symbol and so on, to write HTML quickly. If you do any type of blogging I'd encourage you to learn Markdown, it doesn't take that long, and use an app like iA Writer, because it'll help you produce articles for platforms like WordPress or Medium a lot quicker. But what are the cons of iA Writer? Well, if you're writing something bigger, like let's say a book, it's probably not as good for that because you'll find it a bit difficult to navigate through your manuscript. And it's also not ideal if you're self-editing a large manuscript, because you can't really dive into individual parts of your book and also zoom out and see it as a whole. So, I'd recommend using iA Writer for short form articles and for blog posts, and if you're writing for the web.

My second writing app of choice is Scrivener. And Scrivener has been around for a few years now, so you've probably heard of it. And it's the writing app that I bought when I was working on a thesis for a course I was taking about eight or nine years ago. Scrivener is great because not only can you write short form chapters within Scrivener, but you can also zoom out and see your entire manuscript. So, it's particularly good for self-editing. In other words, you can drag and drop sections of your book, or whatever it is that you're working on. And you could also attach research notes, citations, and other materials that will help you. It's also got some advanced tools for writers, such as setting targets for your projects, for individual chapters, tracking your output per day and so on.

And you can also use Scrivener to compile your manuscript for self-publishing. Now, the pros of Scrivener are that it will save you a lot of time when it comes to self-editing your manuscript. But the cons of Scrivener are, there is a learning curve. And in fact this learning curve can put off some new writers. And in fact, there're even courses in how you can master Scrivener, and entire books about using Scrivener for your writing workflow. Now that said, I still use Scrivener regularly, and I'm currently using it to work on a new book that I'm writing about parenting. I encourage you to use Scrivener, or to take a little bit of time to learn Scrivener. If you're working on any long-form writing projects, like a book, or perhaps a really long feature article for a client.

My third writing app of choice is called LivingWriter, and it's a relatively new writing app that I heard about last year. And I recently interviewed the people behind this app, Dominic Chase and Casey Kerbs, basically LivingWriter is a writing app that lives in your web browser. And you can use it for short writing projects and also for long-form writing projects. It's a little bit like Scrivener in that you can drag and drop different parts of your writing projects around. Well, what makes LivingWriter a little bit different, is it also comes with a series of templates which should help save you a lot of time, particularly if you're writing fiction.

Now at the time of recording this podcast, it's got templates for telling stories. These are, The Story Circle, The Hero's Journey, the 27 Chapter Method, the Seven Point Story and the Three Act Structure. And Dominic and Casey told me that they're planning on adding more of these templates to LivingWriter, as it goes on. What are the pros of LivingWriter? Well, it's easy to learn, in other words, you can get up and running in minutes. What are the cons? Rather than paying once off, you've got to pay a small monthly subscription. And what should you use LivingWriter for? Well, let's say you're working on a big writing project, or you're writing fiction and you don't fancy learning how to use Scrivener. Well, then LivingWriter is a fantastic alternative, and I think the templates will save you a bit of time.

My fourth writing app of choice is one you're probably familiar with. No, don't worry. It's not Word, it's Google Docs. Now I use Google Docs on and off to collaborate with other editors and a writer. How do I use it? Well, if I commission an article for one of my sites, what I'll do is upload the draft to Google Docs and I'll share it with an editor who lives in the United States. Now, I live in Ireland and it's fantastic that we're able to collaborate on changes for the article in question, because she can mark it up on Google Docs, and then I can send it to somebody else who can upload it to my site. I also use Google Docs, when I want to write something on the go and I probably don't have access to an app like iA Writer, or Scrivener.

Because if you're writing it in Google Docs, then it's available everywhere. The pros of Google docs, well, it's easy to use and it's got some handy outlining tools if you format sections and your headings appropriately. The cons of Google Docs, well personally I find writing in a web browser can get a little bit distracting, because I'm likely to click on Twitter, or Facebook, if I'm procrastinating about a difficult section in whatever I'm working on. What could you use Google Docs for? Well, you could use it for anything, but I'd recommend using it for collaborating with other writers, or your editor, or when you want to work on something, but you don't have your writing app of choice to hand.

My fifth writing app of choice is for Mac only. Unfortunately, if you're a Windows user, it's called Day One, I use Day One all the time. And by all the time, I mean every morning to record, journal entries. Now, I used to keep a journal in a password protected file on my computer. And I find journaling is really helpful for overcoming negative thinking. And also for capturing little anecdotes that I might use in a book, or story later on. So I normally put these in Day One and then I'll review my entries later when I'm working on a draft, or a book. And Day One is purpose-built for journaling, so you can upload your photographs. It takes care of all the dates and location info and so on. And it works quite well with an iPad and iPhone. And you can even link up all of your notes, if you want to get really fancy with it.

I also like Day One because it syncs all of my journal entries securely across all of my devices. So, I don't have to worry about losing the journal that I spent a couple of years writing. What are the pros of Day One? Well, it looks great, and it's really easy to use. What are the cons of Day One? Well, of course, it's Mac only. So, if you want a dedicated journaling app for Windows, you're out of luck. What should you use Day One for? For journaling of course. If you keep any type of journal about your creative life, about your creative work, about your business, or even just for yourself, and it's keeping a journal is cheaper than therapy, then Day One is the app I'd recommend you use. They've even recently added some neat little features, like daily journaling prompts and also, On this Day, so you can see what you wrote about last year, or last month, or even a couple of years ago. And also get a little bit inspired when you're not sure about what to put into your journal.

And my next writing app of choice is something that will help you write that first draft faster, it's speech to text software. Now, I've written a lot about speech to text software on the Become a Writer Today podcast. And generally, if you're looking for the best speech to text, or dictation software, I recommend using Dragon Dictate by Nuance, and there are various versions of this tool, both the professional edition or personal edition for Windows, or Mac is probably what you need. And they do have a mobile version that you can use as well. That said, lately I've been gravitating more towards using Rev, Rev is basically a human transcription service.

And what I'll do is outline the first draft of my manuscript in a writing app. And then I'll dictate that first draft into my phone, using Rev. And I'll send it to a transcriptionist and that cost $1.25 per minute. And I find that's a lot faster way to write something, or at least get the first draft out of my head. Now, if $1.25 is a bit beyond your budget, use a automated transcription service, which costs approximately $1.25 per minute at the time of recording this episode. But it's not quite as accurate as a human transcriptionist, or alternatively you can of course use Dragon.

But basically the pros of using speech to text software, or a transcription service are that it's fast. It's fast, and it will help you get ideas out of your head and onto the page, because you can't write anything, or you can't edit anything if you don't have material to work with. The cons are you'll need to change your writing workflow, particularly how you approach outlining and first drafts. And it took me at least a year to make this transition. A thing to know about the benefits of speech to text software, or using a transcription service, but it's quite another thing to adapt to it. What should you use speech to text software, or a dictation service for? Well, if you want to write something quickly, or if you want to get a difficult first draft out of your head. You can also use it for interviews, if you're interviewing subjects for your non-fiction. And that's something I've done as well, when writing for publications like Forbes.

My seventh writing app of choice is Evernote. And I've used Evernote quite a lot in the past to prepare for interviews, for articles that I was writing. And also to capture materials like PDFs and notes from meetings and so on. I don't write directly in Evernote, but I find it's a good place to put supplementary research. And also just to capture things or materials you get from other people. Now, the pros of Evernote are, it's like your digital brain, or your digital elephant, and it syncs across all of your devices, and it's relatively affordable. The cons of Evernote are, sometimes it can feel a little bit clunky and you need to figure out a system for categorizing all of your notes and ideas. And that actually brings me to a couple of alternatives to Evernote because that's the question people often have. Bear is one popular alternative to Evernote, and it's a bit more lightweight, and it feels a little bit faster than Evernote.

And another popular alternative that I've been investigating, but I haven't quite figured out how to use it as part of my writing workflow yet, is Roam Research. And Roam Research is a really new web app that acts as a note-taking tool that automatically networks, or connects all of your different ideas for whatever you're working on. Now, that sounds a little bit complicated, that's because it looks like there is a small learning curve to Roam. And it's something I'm planning on investigating over the next few months to see how I can use it for writing nonfiction and for perhaps keeping a zettelkasten, which is something I've also talked about recently on, the Become a Writer Today podcast.

My eight writing app of choice is Grammarly. And I use Grammarly almost every day, and I recommend it often to readers who need a little bit of help with self-editing, or who want to proofread their manuscript, or perhaps don't have a huge budget to work with. Now, Grammarly works on your phone. It can work in Google Docs. You can work in a web app, but I use it by downloading the desktop app to my computer, and I'll write away in a writing application of choice. I'll paste it into Grammarly, go through all of the suggested changes, and then put the edited version back into my writing app of choice. That's probably a slightly slower way to do it, but I find that alternating between two different writing apps helps me find and fix errors in a way, that keeping it in one writing app without changing the font, or line spacing can't.

Now, I like Grammarly because it's more accurate than Word. And it also gives me some insights to how I can improve my writing, and help with self-editing, it'll identify repeated words and it can even check documents for tone of voice. And in fact, many editors I work with also use Grammarly. The problems of Grammarly are, the free version is relatively powerful and it works everywhere. The cons of Grammarly, well, there is a fee of approximately $29 a month, if you want to use their Premium version. And that might put you off, if you're a relatively new to writing. What should you use it for? Well, for self-editing and proofreading your work.

My ninth writing app of choice is a good alternative to Grammarly. It's called ProWritingAid. ProWritingAid is another grammar checker or proofreader and I like it because it's particularly good for fiction. And it's also particularly good if you use Scrivener, because it connects directly to your Scrivener file. And that's how I use it, when I want to check something in a Scrivener project that I'm working on. Now, the pros of ProWritingAid are that it's got lots of nice little features like a plagiarism checker, which is handy. If you want to check, if you overly sighted, or overly used a source without properly citing them in your materials. And the cons of ProWritingAid are, that like Grammarly, you really need to get the Premium version, if you want to get the most from it. Now, if you'd like a discount for Grammarly, or ProWritingAid, I'll put some links in the show notes, for where you can get that discount.

And my final writing app of choice. Well, it's the one that you have with you at the time. And to explain, let me tell you about Roald Dahl. One of my favorite children's book authors. He was working on a particularly challenging and difficult manuscript. And he was in traffic one day and he suddenly thought of a breakthrough for the manuscript that he was working on. And he looks around his car and he didn't have anywhere to write down the breakthrough. So, he got out of his car in traffic, which isn't something I recommend. And he wrote down a single word into the dirt on his car. And that single word was enough for him to overcome the breakthrough for his story, which ultimately became Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In other words you don't need any fancy tools, or software to write something great. If you're feeling creative, just get to work. Because ultimately looking for the best writing app can become a form of procrastination.

Yes, the different writing apps in this podcast episode will help you fix problems in your writing project, or perhaps produce something a little bit quicker, or more efficiently. But ultimately at the end of the day, your job as a writer is to turn up in front of the blank page and do the work however you can.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode. If you did, please leave a review for, the Become a Writer Today show on the iTunes store, or wherever you're listening to it. Because more reviews and more ratings will help more people find, to Become a Writer Today podcast.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode. If you did, please leave a rating on the iTunes store. And if you want to accomplish more with your writing, please visit becomeawriter today.com/join. And I'll send you a free email course. Thanks for listening.

 

Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you'll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan Collins: You may already know that there are dozens of different writing apps, which you can choose for your writing projects, but which one is the best. Hey there, my name is Bryan Collins, and that's a question I want to answer in this week's podcast episode. Now I'm a little nerdy about writing apps and I've tried and tested many of them over the years. Well, this week I want to talk about 10 of the best writing apps that I use, and I'm going to get into the pros and cons of each. And to help you find the right one for your freelance writing project, or for your stories, or for your book, I'll also talk about how these particular apps will help you with whatever you're working on. Now, I typically use these writing apps for books, for writing freelance articles, and for writing blog posts for Become a Writer Today.

So, when you're considering a writing app, think about what you're working on, and if they'll help you solve a particular problem in your creative life. Now, with all of that said, let's dive into writing app, number one.

My first writing app of choice is iA Writer. It's available on Mac, on iOS, and more recently on Windows and it's one of these new minimalists or distraction free writing apps. Basically when you open iA Writer, it'll take up your whole screen and present you with a blank page, and you won't have to do anything, but write. In other words, you don't need to worry about how it looks, or playing around with the preferences, or different tools that you can tinker with, and that can take away from working on your first draft. Now, what are the pros of iA Writer? Well, if you are prone to getting distracted while you're working on your manuscript, it's fantastic because it'll just present you with a flashing cursor and you could get going.

It's also ideal if you want to write for the web, because iA Writer supports Markdown and Markdown is basically a way of using hashtags and the asterisk symbol and so on, to write HTML quickly. If you do any type of blogging I'd encourage you to learn Markdown, it doesn't take that long, and use an app like iA Writer, because it'll help you produce articles for platforms like WordPress or Medium a lot quicker. But what are the cons of iA Writer? Well, if you're writing something bigger, like let's say a book, it's probably not as good for that because you'll find it a bit difficult to navigate through your manuscript. And it's also not ideal if you're self-editing a large manuscript, because you can't really dive into individual parts of your book and also zoom out and see it as a whole. So, I'd recommend using iA Writer for short form articles and for blog posts, and if you're writing for the web.

My second writing app of choice is Scrivener. And Scrivener has been around for a few years now, so you've probably heard of it. And it's the writing app that I bought when I was working on a thesis for a course I was taking about eight or nine years ago. Scrivener is great because not only can you write short form chapters within Scrivener, but you can also zoom out and see your entire manuscript. So, it's particularly good for self-editing. In other words, you can drag and drop sections of your book, or whatever it is that you're working on. And you could also attach research notes, citations, and other materials that will help you. It's also got some advanced tools for writers, such as setting targets for your projects, for individual chapters, tracking your output per day and so on.

And you can also use Scrivener to compile your manuscript for self-publishing. Now, the pros of Scrivener are that it will save you a lot of time when it comes to self-editing your manuscript. But the cons of Scrivener are, there is a learning curve. And in fact this learning curve can put off some new writers. And in fact, there're even courses in how you can master Scrivener, and entire books about using Scrivener for your writing workflow. Now that said, I still use Scrivener regularly, and I'm currently using it to work on a new book that I'm writing about parenting. I encourage you to use Scrivener, or to take a little bit of time to learn Scrivener. If you're working on any long-form writing projects, like a book, or perhaps a really long feature article for a client.

My third writing app of choice is called LivingWriter, and it's a relatively new writing app that I heard about last year. And I recently interviewed the people behind this app, Dominic Chase and Casey Kerbs, basically LivingWriter is a writing app that lives in your web browser. And you can use it for short writing projects and also for long-form writing projects. It's a little bit like Scrivener in that you can drag and drop different parts of your writing projects around. Well, what makes LivingWriter a little bit different, is it also comes with a series of templates which should help save you a lot of time, particularly if you're writing fiction.

Now at the time of recording this podcast, it's got templates for telling stories. These are, The Story Circle, The Hero's Journey, the 27 Chapter Method, the Seven Point Story and the Three Act Structure. And Dominic and Casey told me that they're planning on adding more of these templates to LivingWriter, as it goes on. What are the pros of LivingWriter? Well, it's easy to learn, in other words, you can get up and running in minutes. What are the cons? Rather than paying once off, you've got to pay a small monthly subscription. And what should you use LivingWriter for? Well, let's say you're working on a big writing project, or you're writing fiction and you don't fancy learning how to use Scrivener. Well, then LivingWriter is a fantastic alternative, and I think the templates will save you a bit of time.

My fourth writing app of choice is one you're probably familiar with. No, don't worry. It's not Word, it's Google Docs. Now I use Google Docs on and off to collaborate with other editors and a writer. How do I use it? Well, if I commission an article for one of my sites, what I'll do is upload the draft to Google Docs and I'll share it with an editor who lives in the United States. Now, I live in Ireland and it's fantastic that we're able to collaborate on changes for the article in question, because she can mark it up on Google Docs, and then I can send it to somebody else who can upload it to my site. I also use Google Docs, when I want to write something on the go and I probably don't have access to an app like iA Writer, or Scrivener.

Because if you're writing it in Google Docs, then it's available everywhere. The pros of Google docs, well, it's easy to use and it's got some handy outlining tools if you format sections and your headings appropriately. The cons of Google Docs, well personally I find writing in a web browser can get a little bit distracting, because I'm likely to click on Twitter, or Facebook, if I'm procrastinating about a difficult section in whatever I'm working on. What could you use Google Docs for? Well, you could use it for anything, but I'd recommend using it for collaborating with other writers, or your editor, or when you want to work on something, but you don't have your writing app of choice to hand.

My fifth writing app of choice is for Mac only. Unfortunately, if you're a Windows user, it's called Day One, I use Day One all the time. And by all the time, I mean every morning to record, journal entries. Now, I used to keep a journal in a password protected file on my computer. And I find journaling is really helpful for overcoming negative thinking. And also for capturing little anecdotes that I might use in a book, or story later on. So I normally put these in Day One and then I'll review my entries later when I'm working on a draft, or a book. And Day One is purpose-built for journaling, so you can upload your photographs. It takes care of all the dates and location info and so on. And it works quite well with an iPad and iPhone. And you can even link up all of your notes, if you want to get really fancy with it.

I also like Day One because it syncs all of my journal entries securely across all of my devices. So, I don't have to worry about losing the journal that I spent a couple of years writing. What are the pros of Day One? Well, it looks great, and it's really easy to use. What are the cons of Day One? Well, of course, it's Mac only. So, if you want a dedicated journaling app for Windows, you're out of luck. What should you use Day One for? For journaling of course. If you keep any type of journal about your creative life, about your creative work, about your business, or even just for yourself, and it's keeping a journal is cheaper than therapy, then Day One is the app I'd recommend you use. They've even recently added some neat little features, like daily journaling prompts and also, On this Day, so you can see what you wrote about last year, or last month, or even a couple of years ago. And also get a little bit inspired when you're not sure about what to put into your journal.

And my next writing app of choice is something that will help you write that first draft faster, it's speech to text software. Now, I've written a lot about speech to text software on the Become a Writer Today podcast. And generally, if you're looking for the best speech to text, or dictation software, I recommend using Dragon Dictate by Nuance, and there are various versions of this tool, both the professional edition or personal edition for Windows, or Mac is probably what you need. And they do have a mobile version that you can use as well. That said, lately I've been gravitating more towards using Rev, Rev is basically a human transcription service.

And what I'll do is outline the first draft of my manuscript in a writing app. And then I'll dictate that first draft into my phone, using Rev. And I'll send it to a transcriptionist and that cost $1.25 per minute. And I find that's a lot faster way to write something, or at least get the first draft out of my head. Now, if $1.25 is a bit beyond your budget, use a automated transcription service, which costs approximately $1.25 per minute at the time of recording this episode. But it's not quite as accurate as a human transcriptionist, or alternatively you can of course use Dragon.

But basically the pros of using speech to text software, or a transcription service are that it's fast. It's fast, and it will help you get ideas out of your head and onto the page, because you can't write anything, or you can't edit anything if you don't have material to work with. The cons are you'll need to change your writing workflow, particularly how you approach outlining and first drafts. And it took me at least a year to make this transition. A thing to know about the benefits of speech to text software, or using a transcription service, but it's quite another thing to adapt to it. What should you use speech to text software, or a dictation service for? Well, if you want to write something quickly, or if you want to get a difficult first draft out of your head. You can also use it for interviews, if you're interviewing subjects for your non-fiction. And that's something I've done as well, when writing for publications like Forbes.

My seventh writing app of choice is Evernote. And I've used Evernote quite a lot in the past to prepare for interviews, for articles that I was writing. And also to capture materials like PDFs and notes from meetings and so on. I don't write directly in Evernote, but I find it's a good place to put supplementary research. And also just to capture things or materials you get from other people. Now, the pros of Evernote are, it's like your digital brain, or your digital elephant, and it syncs across all of your devices, and it's relatively affordable. The cons of Evernote are, sometimes it can feel a little bit clunky and you need to figure out a system for categorizing all of your notes and ideas. And that actually brings me to a couple of alternatives to Evernote because that's the question people often have. Bear is one popular alternative to Evernote, and it's a bit more lightweight, and it feels a little bit faster than Evernote.

And another popular alternative that I've been investigating, but I haven't quite figured out how to use it as part of my writing workflow yet, is Roam Research. And Roam Research is a really new web app that acts as a note-taking tool that automatically networks, or connects all of your different ideas for whatever you're working on. Now, that sounds a little bit complicated, that's because it looks like there is a small learning curve to Roam. And it's something I'm planning on investigating over the next few months to see how I can use it for writing nonfiction and for perhaps keeping a zettelkasten, which is something I've also talked about recently on, the Become a Writer Today podcast.

My eight writing app of choice is Grammarly. And I use Grammarly almost every day, and I recommend it often to readers who need a little bit of help with self-editing, or who want to proofread their manuscript, or perhaps don't have a huge budget to work with. Now, Grammarly works on your phone. It can work in Google Docs. You can work in a web app, but I use it by downloading the desktop app to my computer, and I'll write away in a writing application of choice. I'll paste it into Grammarly, go through all of the suggested changes, and then put the edited version back into my writing app of choice. That's probably a slightly slower way to do it, but I find that alternating between two different writing apps helps me find and fix errors in a way, that keeping it in one writing app without changing the font, or line spacing can't.

Now, I like Grammarly because it's more accurate than Word. And it also gives me some insights to how I can improve my writing, and help with self-editing, it'll identify repeated words and it can even check documents for tone of voice. And in fact, many editors I work with also use Grammarly. The problems of Grammarly are, the free version is relatively powerful and it works everywhere. The cons of Grammarly, well, there is a fee of approximately $29 a month, if you want to use their Premium version. And that might put you off, if you're a relatively new to writing. What should you use it for? Well, for self-editing and proofreading your work.

My ninth writing app of choice is a good alternative to Grammarly. It's called ProWritingAid. ProWritingAid is another grammar checker or proofreader and I like it because it's particularly good for fiction. And it's also particularly good if you use Scrivener, because it connects directly to your Scrivener file. And that's how I use it, when I want to check something in a Scrivener project that I'm working on. Now, the pros of ProWritingAid are that it's got lots of nice little features like a plagiarism checker, which is handy. If you want to check, if you overly sighted, or overly used a source without properly citing them in your materials. And the cons of ProWritingAid are, that like Grammarly, you really need to get the Premium version, if you want to get the most from it. Now, if you'd like a discount for Grammarly, or ProWritingAid, I'll put some links in the show notes, for where you can get that discount.

And my final writing app of choice. Well, it's the one that you have with you at the time. And to explain, let me tell you about Roald Dahl. One of my favorite children's book authors. He was working on a particularly challenging and difficult manuscript. And he was in traffic one day and he suddenly thought of a breakthrough for the manuscript that he was working on. And he looks around his car and he didn't have anywhere to write down the breakthrough. So, he got out of his car in traffic, which isn't something I recommend. And he wrote down a single word into the dirt on his car. And that single word was enough for him to overcome the breakthrough for his story, which ultimately became Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In other words you don't need any fancy tools, or software to write something great. If you're feeling creative, just get to work. Because ultimately looking for the best writing app can become a form of procrastination.

Yes, the different writing apps in this podcast episode will help you fix problems in your writing project, or perhaps produce something a little bit quicker, or more efficiently. But ultimately at the end of the day, your job as a writer is to turn up in front of the blank page and do the work however you can.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode. If you did, please leave a review for, the Become a Writer Today show on the iTunes store, or wherever you're listening to it. Because more reviews and more ratings will help more people find, to Become a Writer Today podcast.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode. If you did, please leave a rating on the iTunes store. And if you want to accomplish more with your writing, please visit becomeawriter today.com/join. And I'll send you a free email course. Thanks for listening.

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