Writing Apps

Have you ever tried any writing apps?  Do they actually help or hinder what you’re doing? Is it worth the effort of trying any? Is a pen and paper a better option? I’m a half and half girl…I still love the feel of a pen and a notebook or a blank sheet of paper, but sometimes when the blank page starts mocking you, you need a helping hand. That’s where I find a little technological inspiration helps…

I have found myself without a laptop recently and so have resorted to writing on my ipad and iphone which is not ideal.  It did open up the possibilities of using a range of writing apps though which I had never tried before.  A lot of them cannot be used on Windows so this was a great excuse to try something new. 

Writ​ing Challenge​ App – $2.99
I love this one and I’ve only just downloaded it…It’s essentially a tool to get you into the habit of writing and gives you a line of text or a single word and you have 1 minute to start writing your story. When your minute’s up you get another word or line of text and off you go again…if you don’t like the word you’re given you can ask for another one.

This is great! It gets me writing things that I wouldn’t normally think of, and more importantly it’s fun having a little challenge everyday. I do it while dinner is cooking so my session probably only lasts for about 15 -20 minutes but that’s 15-20 minutes that I wasn’t doing before! It’s also brilliant for teaching you not to be too pedantic about checking your work – just get writing. You can check later…

Scrivener – £​19.99​​ 
This is a slightly more scary app​ as shown by the price tag,​ but I can appreciate how great it is at organising your work. ​It’s perfect for gathering your ideas together in one place while you work on the main event. You can shuffle and arrange and have the whole book open at the same time as working on a particular sector. Great for jumping from place to place and working on different sections of your novel without losing your place or the thread of the plot.

On the desktop version which I have used you can save photos, web pages, snippets of ideas for inspiration; separate chapters and work on different bits at the same time; have character cards and location cards and a multitude of other things that I haven’t worked out yet. For me, organisation is the key and this lays everything out in a very workable format – it’s kind of like the noticeboard that you pin all your ideas to while you sit and write in​ ​front of it. You also get a limited amount of free uses on the desk top version so you can try before you buy.

Evernote – Free (premium $4.99)
I use the free version of this and it’s fab! I jot down ideas, save pictures that I find interesting, keep quotes handy – it’s generally like my old note book. I don’t use it for serious writing – there are other things for that, but it’s super handy for labelling things into groups and makes searching for your ideas really easy. ​ In fact I wrote most of my notes for this blog on Evernote.

Day One Journal – Free (premium from $3.99)
Great for getting writing on a daily basis in journal form. You can add photos, text, locations etc and it save photos in a calendar on the date taken which is helpful.

Mind Node – £9.99 
Mind mapping app which is a really nice way to layout random thoughts and connect the dots. Love it! This will be really useful instead of post-it notes stuck on the wall.  I will be looking at this one more in depth in the future!

W​erdsmith – Free (but membership costs £4.49)
You have to set up a studio to start with which is very easy to do. I like the ritual setting to remind you to write at a particular time of day. It has a nice simple layout with ideas on one side and projects on the other side and projects can be text, novel or screenplay. Novel and screenplay need to be upgraded. On ideas there is a funky little button which tell you word count, how long you spent writing it and how long it takes to read. I love this but have since found out in my research that it’s quite common! You can set up a profile here too but you have to pay £4.49 for the privilege.

C​​reative Writer – from £0.99
You have to pay immediately for writer’s packs (priced from £0.99), after downloading for free, but it does have a great word generator which allows you to press random words and create random sentences instead of just typing. It switches between predictive text keyboard and free typing easily so you can use either format.

i​A Writer – £4.99
Straight into the writing! Easy tabs to use and very plain and non-distracting.

Storyist – £14.99
You have 3 templates to choose from – novel/screenplay/blank which all have their formatting pre-set. There is a massive guide to help you get started and appears to be for writers who are ready for submission to publishers rather than creating the story.  Given the money you’re spending I would rather buy Scrivener.  This layout is a little bit more basic and not quite so multi-functional.  

Ulysses – free trial for 7 days. £35.99 per year or £4.49 per month.  The cost puts me off entirely so I’m afraid this one won’t be for me as there are other writing apps out there for less. 

Writing Shed – £12.99
I have to say that the pretty graphic of the shed made me want this one as every writer wants to have a shed to write in. You have 3 Project Types: Novel, Short Stories or Poetry.  I chose novel and you can set yourself a target word count which is helpful.  It then lays out your whole shed to include Chapters; Scenes; Characters; Locations; Research.  You can also track which competitions and commissions you’ve worked towards. It looks like it’s the perfect writing shed!

ScrivoPro – £4.99
Nothing to do with the Scrivener app but designed to work on i-products.  Not very attractive or inspiring and it’s clearly using the Scrivener name to attach itself to. 

Some other articles to read about writing apps: 
http://www.thewritersacademy.co.uk/blog/writing-apps/                      http://uk.pcmag.com/software/89326/guide/the-best-writing-apps-of-2017

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