10 Apps Every Writer Should Know About
Writing can sometimes be downright difficult, and not just because it takes practice and skill. It often requires intensive research, note-taking, mind-mapping, organization, and a good drop of project management. Whether you’re a master planner or a perpetual procrastinator, a little extra help can go a long way. But with endless writing apps to choose from, selecting the right ones can be daunting. That’s why we’ve done the research for you, and chosen the 10 apps we think every writer should know about.
For note taking and content archiving
What does it does: Evernote, a cross-platform app, is the perfect tool to help declutter and organize your research. It lets you take notes, write to-do lists, and even archives your content through a user-friendly organizational system. For optimal productivity, you can enhance your notes by clipping web pages, images, and PDF's. You can also save links, embed audio recordings, and upload handwritten note! And best of all, it syncs across your devices.
Available for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Cost: There are three different plans to choose from. The Basic Plan is free. The Plus Plan is $46.99 a year. The Premium Plan is $89.99 a year.
Learn more here: https://evernote.com/
For source saving
What it does: This handy little app helps you quickly save content for later. You can tuck away articles, videos, or really anything online in your Pocket. You can save content from your browser, your email, or from over 1500+ integrated apps, including Twitter. And best of all, you don’t need an internet connection to check out your content later. Simply access your Pocket from your desktop, your smartphone, or your tablet.
Available for: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kobo, Web Browsers
Learn more here: https://getpocket.com/
3. MIND NODE
For brainstorming and mind mapping
What it does: Mind Node is perfect for brainstorming, visualizing, and mapping your ideas. With a clean interface and an ever-expanding layout, it helps you organize and rearrange your ideas on a clutter-free canvas. You can also colour code your themes and illustrate your thoughts using a variety of expressive stickers. What’s most compelling about this delightful app is that it helps you turn your ideas into tasks.
Available for: Mac, iPad, iPhone
*For an alternative brainstorming app that's available to both Mac/iOS and PC/Android users, check out Mind Meister.
Learn more here: https://mindnode.com/
For spelling and grammar
What it does: This desktop app is the new spellcheck: your fist line of defence in the editing realm! It not only catches spelling and grammar mistakes but also ensures your writing is clear and effective. While it doesn't measure up to the trained human eye, it scans text “for common and complex grammatical mistakes, from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement.” Grammarly vets anything you write online, including email, social media posts, and even webpage content. You can also upload your manuscript, short stories, and essays to ensure it catches any mistakes. And best of all, it sends you weekly writing evaluations to track your progress.
Available for: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer
Learn more here: https://www.grammarly.com/
5. MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY
For vocabulary and spelling
What it does: The app contains standard dictionary content, including accurate spelling, pronunciation, examples, origins, synonyms, antonyms, etc. Users can search offline, experiment with learning tools, and expand their vocabulary with “word of the day” features. For up-to-date American spelling, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the most trusted volume. In addition to a voice search feature, it also offers a selection of games to test your vocabulary.
Available for: iOS, Android
Cost: Basic versions are free. Premium versions vary.
Learn more here for Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/
* For Canadian and British English spelling, the Oxford English Dictionary app is the perfect alternative. It features over 350,000 words, phrases, and meanings, and contains regionally specific entries. It even has a camera and voice search feature.
For sentence structure and readability
What it does: Hemingway identifies dead weight and overly complex, wordy sentences. It helps you maintain clarity and highlights passive, dull language. It also tells you when you’re using too many adverbs and offers simpler phrase alternatives. This handy app will help you tighten your prose both online and offline—it's great for copywriting help. As an added bonus, it can handle all your text-formatting needs and export your edited versions to Microsoft Word.
Available for: Mac OSX, Windows
Cost: The web version is free and the desktop version is $19.99.
For desktop, learn more here: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/desktop.html
For web, learn more here: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/
7. iA WRITER
For a distraction-free canvas
What it does: iA Writer is the perfect platform for a distraction-free writing experience. As a simple plain-text editor, it enhances your focus by separating form from content and text from formatting. It offers an integrated file browser system and fast syncing with Dropbox and Google Drive. With customizable templates and curated fonts, you can create a beautiful platform that enhances your creativity. For optimal concentration all day, any day, iA Writeralso offers full screen or inverted colours in night mode.
Available for: Mac desktop, iOS (iPhones and iPads), Android (Smartphones and Tablets)
Cost: iOS and Android versions are $4.99. Mac desktop version is $27.99
Learn more here: https://ia.net/writer/
For just about all your writing needs
What it does: Scrivner helps you get from start to finish on any writing project. Designed as a project management and word processing tool, it supports you every step of the way. It hosts and organizes your research, notes, fragmented ideas, and lengthy passages. Whether you compose your text chronologically, at random, in snippets, or in large chunks, it will help create order from chaos. And your research and background materials are always within reach. To get you through that awkward first draft, Scrivner helps organically grow your lengthy manuscripts.
Available for: Mac OS X
Learn more here: https://itunes.apple.com/app/scrivener/id972387337?ls=1&mt=8
To shield you from distractions
What it does: Freedom is a lifesaver. This customizable app blocks distracting websites and apps so you can focus on the task at hand. It gives you complete control over distractions and helps enhance your productivity. With its customizable scheduling featuring, you can set recurring sessions, start them automatically, or schedule them in advance. You can also use their pre-defined block list or customize one of your own. If you can’t be trusted and need a little willpower boost, you can set it to lock mode.
Available for: Mac OS X, Windows Vista, iOs (iPad and iPhone), Android
Cost: For a one-month subscription, you pay $6.99. For a yearly subscription, you pay $2.42 a month. You can also pay $129 to have it forever.
Learn more here: https://freedom.to/
For citations and research management
What it does: If your writing heavily revolves around research, Mendeley is the tool for you. While it has many compelling features, namely an online research network, the desktop version is most helpful when it comes to compiling accurate references and bibliographies. All you need to do is build your article library and it will help you cite as you write and annotate what you read. You can even download a citation plugin for Microsoft word so you can focus on your writing instead of the correct MLA, Chicago, or APA formats.
Available for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Cost: The Basic Plan is free. If you want additional storage, the Plus Plan is $4.99 a month. The Pro Plan is $9.99 a month. The Max Plan is $14.99 a month.
Learn more here: https://www.mendeley.com/
Did we leave out your favourite app?
Let us know what it is and why you love it in the comments!