Have you ever been hit with a great idea only to let it evaporate away by not finding the time to jot it down? If you’re not the pen and paper type, but you’re searching for ways to help you improve your craft, why not coax out that inner writer with the best writing tools and apps that the web has to offer? Whether you’re pages into your first novel, posting an article to your blog or sharing content between multiple users, these 10 tools are sure to make writing manageable, shareable and distraction-free.
1. Penultimate (Free): If you’re already a loyal Evernote user, than you’ll love their iPad app. It’s free of clutter, but packed with tools. All of your notes are searchable and available to you on any computer or mobile device.
2. Storehouse (Free): This iPad app offers a simple way to tell a story by combining text, photos and wonderful layouts. Tell your story from any device, anywhere. You can share travel adventures, culinary journeys, short stories or journal entries. Storehouse is there for you to design your own tale to tell in whatever way you want to tell it.
3. GoodNotes 4 ($6): Have you ever heard of digital ink? GoodNotes 4 is where you get it. This app for iPads and iPhones lets you take handwritten notes, sketch diagrams, mark-up PDFs and organize every last one of them. If you want to feel like you’re truly touching pen to paper, check out Adonit’s Jot Stylus, which works seamlessly with the app.
4. Draft (Free): Draft’s goal is to give writers what they need to be better at what they do. This free site is a strong believer that all writers, even the greats, don’t do it alone. Draft gives you the option of inviting people to pick at your words. If you like the suggestions your friends or editors suggest, Draft is able to track those changes and allows you to accept or reject them. Another nod to great writers is Draft’s Hemingway mode, playing off of the idea that writing and editing are two separate entities. When Draft is set to Hemingway mode, you can only move forward; no deleting, no going back. It’s meant for you to write now and edit later.
5. Poetica (Free): It’s all about collaboration in this space where writers can get a little help from their friends. Whether you’re writing a WordPress blog post, an email in Gmail or drafting a document in Word, you can share it on Poetica to get another pair of eyes to glance over it. This site can save your work and import PDFs. If you’re in need of a proofreading tool, then Poetica is your answer.
6. Penflip (Free): Fans of GitHub’s platform better give Penflip a go. Creator, Loren Burton said, “It’s not a stretch to imagine the usefulness of a GitHub platform for non-developers — authors, teachers, students — though as much as I search, I can’t seem to find one. So I’m building it myself.” Penflip’s platform (built off of none other than GitHub), operates for hosting, collaborating and publishing writing project like novels, eBooks, textbooks, research papers and more. A great asset of Penflip is the opportunity to work offline and make your projects public or private, but private projects come with price.
7. Shareist ($10): Shareist is a button for your web browser that helps you plan, produce and distribute content and measure results. First, capture text, documents, links, videos, tweets, quotes or images. Then, Shareist lets you tag and comment on them, essentially turning your inspirations into social media posts, personal notebooks, blog posts, email newsletters or eBooks. This will be your go-to content market platform where you can connect all the services that you already publish to (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Constant Contact). Plus, it can be used individually or as a team.
8. Writer Pro ($20): Writer Pro is a writing suite that boldly goes where no other writing app has gone before. It’s no wonder it’s dominating the app store rankings. Most would say it’s because of the app’s workflow design, which helps writers develop their writing. Writer Pro creates an environment for users to focus on the task at hand, streaming the writer through a process of getting ideas out in “Note,” fleshing them out in “Write,” progressing to “Edit” for refinement, then on to “Read” when complete. If you’re looking for a tool to guide you through the writing process from start to finish, Writer Pro is it.
9. Grammarly ($12): Don’t have an editor but need another set of eyes to help perfect your writing? Get Grammarly. This tool is akin to your very own grammar coach that can proofread and correct up to 10 times more mistakes than a regular word processor. Grammarly also helps you avoid plagiarism and improves your text by correcting grammar, word choice, spelling and style mistakes.
10. WriteRoom ($10): This word processor throwback is essentially a blank sheet of paper for Mac users; a full-screen writing environment with a minimalistic approach, unlike the cluttered word processors of today. Writing without distractions is WriteRoom’s forte. No need to fiddle with embellishments. It’s just you and the screen, simple as that.
Help a writer out! What other online tools and apps do you find helpful to your life as a writer? Share with us in the comments below!