What do you do if you’re passionate about writing, but inspiration always strikes when you’re away from your pen and paper or your laptop? You turn to the next great thing: smartphones and tablets. Right now, there are many apps out there designed to help you jot your ideas now the moment they seize you and not lose them ever again.
New York Times blogger Kit Eaton put together a list of popular apps for all kinds of writers – from bloggers to creative writers and everything in between:
Eaton: “This is the writing app I use most often to write this column, books and other articles. The app is a full-featured text editor, giving people the ability to customize fonts, colors and page formatting, embed images, and more. The app also has predesigned page formats to help write screenplays, manuscripts and novels.
To help build a novel, Storyist provides different types of “story sheets” to work on. You can use the sheets to note information about characters, plot points, scene settings and other details.
Storyist works well with or without a keyboard. It also saves documents seamlessly to the cloud so you can begin your work on your tablet and edit it on your phone. But its interface is a bit complex and takes some getting used to. The app costs $15 and works only on iOS devices.”
Eaton: “The app borrows the look and feel of its writing interface from a traditional typewriter, including the font you type in. Its cleverest feature is its “focus mode,” which fades out everything else in your document other than the line or paragraph you’re working on. This works similarly to how your eyes stay focused on the words you have just typed on the paper when using a traditional typewriter.
Another clever option with iA Writer is that you can highlight adjectives, nouns, verbs and the like in different colors, which may prevent overdecorating of text.To preview the final result, there is a visually neat mode that shows what the document would look like if printed in a traditional book format.
The app also has some traditional word processing tricks like find and replace, and you can export your text in a format that is compatible with other word processors, including Microsoft Word. The app is available on iOS for $5and is free on Android.”
Eaton: “This app is focused on creating a calm writing environment. It makes it easier to concentrate on writing by removing as many distractions — like editing features — as possible. The Zen feeling is nurtured visually: The page you write on is decorated with delicate images of objects like trees.
The app also encourages people to wear headphones while writing and plays a selection of gentle background music and natural sounds.
OmmWriter’s on-screen keyboard also takes a lot of getting used to, and I found myself making many more typos than I did when using Apple’s built-in keyboard. OmmWriter for the iPad is $5.”
Eaton: “This one has a similar complexity to Storyist’s. Its most powerful feature is that it can work with files exported from Scrivener, a very popular creative-writing app that runs on traditional computers. Scrivo Pro is capable and powerful, but it has a steep learning curve. The iOS-only app is also expensive, at $20.”
Eaton: “A writing and note-taking app for Android. While Android apps sometimes lack the polish of iOS apps, Monospace has a clear and elegant design. It’s also free.”