Best Writing Tools for 2021

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Resources for All writers

Here, we round up the best writing tools you need to take any idea and get it ready to publish, including pens, keyboards and other tools. These are the types of tools every writer should consider using.

If you're only looking for software, check out our guide to the best writing apps instead.

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1. Grammar Checkers

Every good writer needs to know the fundamentals of English grammar, but mistakes still happen. A grammar checker, like spell check software, acts as a last line of defense before pressing publish.

These tools also include a readability score for improving sentence structure and clarity and eliminating instances of the passive voice.

In this resource, we round up some of our best grammar checkers you can use to find and fix common grammar errors in your work. It also profiles popular tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid.

Grammarly plagiarism checker

2. Plagiarism Checkers

Writers worry about plagiarism for two different reasons. Firstly, they worry somebody has plagiarized their work and is ripping it off elsewhere online.

Secondly, writers particularly of academic works, worry they've accidentally plagiarized a third-party source before submitting an essay or a piece of writing for review.

Here, we round up some of the best plagiarism checkers you can use to check your work for instances of plagiarism, accidental, or otherwise.

iA Writer

3. Distraction-Free Writing Apps

What should you do if you try to write the first draft only to find yourself getting distracted by all the features in your software of choice, or by going online and wasting time on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter?

A distraction-free writing app helps you focus on your work for longer and finish writing a first draft. IA Writer, Ulysses and Byword are our preferred choices.

We recommend pairing your app of choice with software like Freedom App and also using the Pomodoro Technique. This type of software eliminates online distractions, like the news and social media, while this technique helps writers focus for longer.

HemingwayEditor -grammar checker review

4. Book Editing Tools

Writing the first draft is the hardest part, but the fun really happens when it's time to self-edit. That's when you can find and fix errors in your work and improve the clarity and structure of your writing.

The right editing tools simplify this process. They'll also help you eliminate needless adverbs and adjectives.

Hemingway App is one popular free example. Lots more exist for Mac and Windows.

Living Writer writing app

5. Story Writing Apps

If you're a fiction writer or a novelist, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about the art of storytelling and hooking the attention of readers.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out how to begin and conclude a story.

The good news writers can pick from lots of story apps and map out a plot in advance. If you're a new writer, we recommend Living Writer.

Campfire is a good choice for genre storytellers. Scrivener is ideal for anyone writing long non-fiction stories.

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6. iOS Writing Apps

These days, you don't need to sit at a computer to write your articles or produce content.

You can easily produce and write lots of blog posts and articles using your iPad or even your iPhone, like IA Writer and Apple Notes.

Best iOS Writing Apps
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7. Android Writing Apps

If you don't like iPhone, and you prefer using Android devices, fear not. There are a plethora of Android writing apps that you can use to create and publish content online. We recommend Google Keep and Evernote. Notion is also popular.

Dragon dication

8. Speech-To-Text Software

If you'd like a break from sitting at your desk all day, speech to text software from the likes of Nuance is fantastic because it gives your hand a break from typing.

Use it while out for a creative walk and write on the go with your phone or a dictaphone. Our speech-to-text guide explains more.

Writers with a larger budget can try transcription software. We recommend Rev.

Scrivener

9. Book Writing Software

Many people say they have a book inside of them, but few of them actually take the time to turn that idea into something that they want to publish.

Writing a book is a long and complicated project, and it's something that requires specialized software. In this resource, we round up some of the best book writing software that you could use, including our top choice Scrivener.

It's ideal for managing long-form writing. You can even use Scrivener for blogging.

Logitech MX Master 2

10. Ergonomic Mice

As somebody who suffered RSI, I learned long ago not to skimp on a mouse because you'll end up getting cramps in your hands and being unable to write for long periods. Logitech offers some of the best ergonomic mice for writers of all budgets, for both Mac and Windows.

Although the Apple Magic Mouse is a nice device, it's painful to use if you've large hands. We recommend the Logitech MX Master 2 or 3 for Windows and Mac.

Logitech MX Keys Keyboard

11. Ergonomic Keyboards

The keyboard is an important writing tool. Again, it doesn't make sense to skimp on a cheap one because it'll feel horrible to use, and chances are you end up writing in pain..

Plus, cheap keyboards are more prone to typos. Opt for the latest Apple keyboard, a Logitech MX keyboard or a mechanical one from DAS. Mechanical keyboards are more expensive but they last a long time.

A standing desk

12. Writing Desks

Writers spend hours sitting in front of a computer. That's why it's important to have a good ergonomic desk. Thanks to the benefits of a sit-stand desk, you can alternate it during the day.

Here, we round up some of the best writing desks that you can use to work on your articles, stories, or books, both sitting and standing.

Journal

13. Journaling

Once you know how to write a journal, it's a great practice for writers. It encourages you to turn up and sit in front of the blank page regularly. And it also… helps clarify thinking about ideas and overcome writer's block.

You can journal using password-protected Microsoft Word, Pages or Google Docs. For prolific journalers, we recommend dedicated journaling software like Day One App. It supports journaling prompts and templates.

Writing pen

14. Writing Pens

What if you want a break from writing in Microsoft word or looking at a monitor? Well, sometimes getting a notebook and a rollerball or ballpoint pen is a great way to explore expressive thinking and get your words out onto the page.

Lots of writers also like fancy pens and affordable fountain pens, including Neil Gaiman. Why compromise? We recommend the Pilot G4 Rollerball pen and also a Parker Fountain Pen.

A writing cup

15. Writing Utensils

Writers need an array of writing utensils apart from software, pen and paper. A good notebook, like a Moleskine, helps for free writing and capturing ideas. If you think visually, considering buying crayons, markers to create mind maps.

A good lamp will help prevent eye-strain when working late at night too. And if you like to wake up early and write, invest in a decent cup for that morning caffeine hit.

Trello Graphical user interface, application

16. For Writing Projects

If you're the type of writer who works a lot with others, you need a way to manage lots of different writing projects you're collaborating on.

Use tools like Google Chrome with Google Docs to collaborate on individual documents and longer manuscripts.

However, if you're working with a team on lots of different writing projects, consider dedicated project management software like Trello or Airtable.

A mind map

17. Mindmaps

Thinking of ideas and putting them in one place is an important process for any writers. Otherwise, you turn up in front of the blank page and you won't know what you're going to write about.

Some of the more popular apps for capturing ideas include Evernote and iMindMap. You can also use these tools for brainstorming and for creating mind maps.

Evernote on a mobile

18. Note-Taking

Pen and paper work fine for taking notes. However, if you'd rather use dedicated software Apple Notes is a good choice for iOS users and Google Keep for Android users. Zoho Notes is also popular, as is Evernote.

We recommend advanced note-takers considering building a personal Zettelkästen using an app like Evernote, Day One or Roam Research.

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19. Content Writing

It's easier than ever for writers today to publish their work online and find an audience. Content marketing is a fantastic way of building a relationship with readers and also with growing your creative business.

Instead of relying on a word processor, bloggers, content marketers and copywriters should check out writing tools like iA Writer, Ulysses and ByWord. Ahrefs and Clearscope are good keyword research tools.

I Only Need Writing Software

If you'd rather learn about software for writers, check out our guide below.

Best Writing Tools: FAQs

The best writing tools can help you finish your story, article, or even your book, faster. Writing tools are about more than software.

What do all writers need?

All writers need a quiet place where they can work on their ideas without interruption. They also need a means of expressing themselves with pen and paper or with digital tools and software.

Writers also need an editor who can help them improve their work and learn more about the craft, an audience and readers.

If you're starting off, invest in a good keyboard, mouse, and affordable writing software for your genre or preferred writing style.

do you need content writing tools?

You don't necessarily need any specialized software to create content online. Writing a piece of content, a blog post, or an article in Microsoft Word or Google Docs will get the job done.

That said, sometimes it's faster and more effective to use specialized content writing tools that support markdown. Examples include iA Writer, Ulysses and Byword.

Do I recommend ProWritingAid?

ProWritingAid is a fantastic type of software for writers who use applications like Scribner and also for writers who spend a lot of time writing fiction. It will help you check your work for instances of inadvertent plagiarism and also find and fix common grammar mistakes.

If you want to learn more, read our ProWritingAid review.

What are the best writing apps for novelists?

Novelists have lots of great writing apps to choose from. Some of the best writing apps available today include LivingWriter, Campfire, and Scrivener. All of these enable you to arrange your stories, ideas and get something ready to publish or send to your editor.

What is a writer's toolkit?

A writer's toolkit describes everything that they use to come up with an idea, express it on the blank page, and turn it into something that they could send to an editor and later on publish. A toolkit will typically include a pen, paper, a notebook, a computer, a keyboard, a mouse, and some writing software.

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