Writing in the modern era can take on many forms. Whether you’re a blogger, journalist, or the next Hemingway, the best writing apps can sharpen your pen. In other words, get your work from draft to published quicker, with fewer grammatical errors and a broader audience.
Writing Apps and File Cloud Storage Tools
So everything is in the cloud these days, where you should store your Word, text and other writing files too.
Google Docs is a free online editor (part of G Suite and one of the most popular websites) with smart writing, editing and a styling feature to format text. For one thing, you can add hundreds of fonts, links, images and other drawings into your Docs. Find a few free for posts, letters, resumes, newsletters and other custom text. Use powerful collaboration features to share, comment and edit Docs anywhere in real-time. Google Docs works with Microsoft Word files, which convert back into Docs and vice versa. Further check out several useful Google Docs add-ons for even more writing enhancements.
Microsoft Word has been the standard writing software and word processor. You can use it with a paid Microsoft Office 365 plan. Word provides a familiar editor with spelling, grammar and stylistic suggestions. Use co-authoring capabilities to collaborate on shared projects at Office.com. Office also includes other useful apps like Excel and PowerPoint. Get free Word templates in over 40 categories and a Resume Assistant powered by LinkedIn. Presently save Word documents to your local hard drive and the OneDrive cloud.
Draft is a simple word editor focused on multiple editors and version control. Write in plain-text, HTML or Markdown. Import text from cloud services Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive. Publish to WordPress, Tumblr, Ghost, Svbtle, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, or anywhere with webhooks. Then turn any online text into notes using the Draft Chrome Extension. Transcribe audio and video files from YouTube and Vimeo. And the reports can help writers with useful data from social media and Flesch reading level scores.
“The past is always tense, the future perfect. – Zadie Smith”
Grammar Checkers and Editing Tools
Good writing can only go so far when you don’t have proper grammar nor editing aids by your side.
Grammarly is a free online writing aid that helps you write clearer. The tool offers grammar, spelling, tone, clarity, engagement, delivery and style corrections on the fly. The service integrates with Docs, Word, Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, Messenger, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium too. Use the Grammarly Chrome extension for punctuation, passive voice, word choice and hard-to-read text. You can save files to the cloud and as native Word files. Lastly the paid plan includes a handy plagiarism checker.
ProWritingAid has grammar and style tips along with a contextual thesaurus and in-depth reports to improve your writing. Get style suggestions for repetitive phrases, vague wording, varying sentence length and adverbs usage. Chiefly the app integrates with Word, Google Docs, Chrome and many others.
Ginger is a grammar checker, contextual speller, translator, dictionary and personal writing trainer. Hence Ginger can help you write smoother integrated into Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Office with the Ginger proofreader extension on Chrome.
Readable lets you test the readability, spelling, and grammar of your text files and website copy. They say that the average reader’s attention span in 2020 is only 7 seconds. So your content needs to be as digestible as possible!
Any worthy paper or writing project requires solid notes and research. For a digital notebook to write online, these apps are indeed keepers.
Google Keep is a free note app that lets you save notes, lists, photos, audio and web links to the cloud on all your mobile devices. The best part is you can access these notes right from any Doc.
Free Google Docs Add-Ons
If you’re using Google Docs, we suggest these essential add-ons for your writing process:
diagrams.net is a free online diagram maker that lets you create slick charts and then insert them into your Docs. Users can design flowcharts, UML, Venn diagrams, web, software, and cloud architecture mockups for Azure and AWS.
LanguageTool is a style and grammar checker for English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Russian and up to 25 languages. This proofreader may pick up errors not detected via Google’s spell checker for foreign languages.
Doc Builder allows you to create reusable templates and text snippets from the sidebar. You can format your snippets via settings managed in an external Google Sheet. Then you can add snippets that include merge tags to fill your Docs with outside data sources.
Search & Navigate
Search & Navigate can quickly find and navigate to any part of your Doc. For larger Docs, it’s useful to browse by text, headings, bookmarks, images and tables via the sidebar.
SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant
The SEMrush add-on lets you check the SEO ranking of text based on the best-performing articles in Google search. You can get keyword tips and a readability score in real-time during edits. Also it has premium options for originality and tone of voice metrics.
Minimalist Distraction-Free Writing Apps
If you need to focus on writing with no distractions, zoom in full screen with one of these minimal editors.
iA Writer is a clean, distraction-free writing tool that focuses on simplicity. Zone in with a monotone design and select options for Focus Mode, Reading Time and Automarkdown. A fast working app with custom fonts available and a Word export.
WriteRoom is a distraction-free alternative to word processing for the Mac that just focuses on a text editor for words. However, the app doesn’t handle page layouts, tables or graphs yet.
Calmly Writer is another distraction-free writing editor. The tool can import then export to HTML, plain text, markdown, PDF and Word.
Here are beloved and free blog sites for authors to extend their audience further and quickly publish blog posts.
Medium is a platform for writers and readers to follow their favorite topics and publications. Surely a good place to expand your audience and they offer a Partner Program to earn money for your work.
Tumblr features a microblogging and social networking site that lets you host a custom blog and follow others. The site has almost 500 million blogs and provides a canvas for creative media, including text, photos, GIFs, videos and audio posts.
WordPress powers 36% of the sites on the internet with free and paid blog package options available at the host WordPress.com. Also WordPress.org is an open-source software for businesses to run custom sites and blogs on their self-hosted domains.
With WordPress being a fantastic choice for many blogs, there are several great plugins to enhance your content and writing flow further.
Edit Flow enables you to create an editorial calendar and workflow with your team in WordPress. Keep your writers organized with user groups, comments, email alerts and story budgets.
Yoast is a free SEO plugin for WordPress that helps you optimize blog keywords, search results, readability and metadata. The premium options also include internal linking suggestions, content insights, a redirect manager and focus keyword export.
Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP
Schema & Structured Data plugin lets you add Rich Snippets markup to your posts according to the Schema.org guidelines. Most important for SEO, this could boost the visibility of your articles in search. Also it’s compatible with the Yoast and AMP for WP plugins.
Wordable lets you import Google Docs to WordPress posts and pages. This can be a huge timesaver for writing apps but there may be formatting issues depending on the complexity of your Docs.
Educational Writing Tools
For writing basics 101 or just how to write a story for beginners, tech can play a pivotal role.
NoRedInk is a learning tool for young writers used by 50% of US school districts. The app gives students online assignments, quizzes, and adaptive exercises with learning tips. In turn, teachers get actionable data to improve their curriculum.
If you’re an author and aspiring book creator these apps are here just for you.
Scrivener is tailor-made for long writing projects and used by novelists, screenwriters, students, journalists, translators and more. It comes with a corkboard, outliner, parallel document viewer and full-screen writing editor. Export to a variety of formats, including Word, RTF, PDF and save screenplays for Final Draft.
Autocrit is an online manuscript editing tool especially geared towards fiction writers. The free version comes with a word processor, spelling and grammar checker, interactive editing tools for adverbs and readability.
Have you ever dreamed about writing a screenplay for a Hollywood film?
Final Draft is a screenwriting tool used by 95% of film, television and media pros. It offers advanced brainstorming, a refined beat board to organize your ideas visually and a new story map.
Finally, if you’re looking to make extra money as a writer, these are popular freelance websites to write for. At the same time you can hire writers to work on your writing project.
Upwork is a freelancing network that connects workers and agencies to businesses looking for specialized tasks. Hence find opportunities for writing, coding, design, marketing, analytics and a lot more.
iWriter is a freelance site just for writing with thousands of writers looking for gigs. Find and create projects for any word count.
Pro Blogger and Business Writing Tips:
Nothing in life is free except using Google. Thus with all the costs of running a website business, it makes sense to use the free G Suite of apps starting with Drive for storage, Keep for note-taking, and Docs for writing and collaborative editing. More useful Google add-ons and extensions are released every day, including Grammarly and the SEMrush writing assistant, to get your content ready and readable for publishing.
In the end, WordPress is still the best way to publish blog posts with the potential for Google Docs automation through Wordable or other services like Zapier. Also you have lots of ways to boost your content, including plugins for SEO, structured data and open graph data for social sharing. And you can still syndicate your work further on free blogging platforms like Medium and Tumblr.
Best Writing Apps
Overall, we hoped you enjoyed our favorite apps for writers. Next, check back from time to time for updates on the latest and greatest new writing apps. If you have any writing tool suggestions we may have missed, then feel free to send them in the form below for review.