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 you 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.