November 21, 2019

Best Writing Apps and Software

Best Writing Apps and Software

Evernote

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

Jotting down 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 appworth 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 tool 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.

Use for: outlining

Try Evernote

Grammarly

Grammarly_Dashboard
The Grammarly dashboard

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 wordsuggestions 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 2018 Grammarly review.

Use for: checking your work for grammar mistakes

Try Grammarly

Ginger Software

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.

Use for: checking your work for grammar mistakes

Read my review    

ProWritingAid

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

It works similarly to Grammarly and Ginger 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.

Use for: self-editing

Read my comparison

Hemingway App

Ernest Hemingway famously said:

“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.”

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 voiceto active voice and much more. Hemingway is quite useful when you wish to reduce your word-count without leaving out any essential points from your article.

Use for: self-editing

Try Hemingway App

iMindMap

Mindmap
I use iMindMap 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 tool available today but cheap alternatives include MindNode and MindMeister.

Use for: outlining your non-fiction articles and chapters

Read my guide

Dragon Naturally Speaking

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 tool to write faster and converting speech to text, check out my guide to how I use the writing tool Dragon Naturally Speaking. If you’re on a budget, you can try dictation by using the inbuilt software in Windows or Mac.

Use for: dictation

Try Dragon Dictate

Olympus WS-852 Dictaphone

This workflow enables me to write while away from my desk or while walking. It’s also faster than typing and a break from sitting down in front of a screen.Ok, so technically this isn’t a writing app but a voice recorder or dictaphone can work well with writing software. I sometimes outline articles in advance in Evernote, print out my notes and then dictate these articles into this device. When finished dictating, I upload the file to Dragon Naturally speaking and transcribe it.

Use for: dictation

Rev

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.

Use for: transcriptions and dictation

Try Rev

Blurt

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 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 a first draft by blurring out previous sentences.

Once a project is complete, you can share writings directly from Blurt to Medium, copy it 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.

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

Try Blurt

Airstory

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 tool 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.

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