Writers know there is a lot more that goes into writing than just putting words on a page. Whether it’s a fiction novel, a master’s thesis, or even web copywriting, writing involves brainstorming, planning, outlining, rearranging, editing, proofreading, and perhaps some hair-pulling along the way. It can be a struggle to stay organized and keep your creative flow throughout the process. Instead of surrounding your desk with hundreds of sticky notes, follow the golden rule: work smart, not hard. There are endless online tools and apps designed specifically for writers to help you organize work, generate ideas, find grammar mistakes, and more. In fact, there are so many out there that it can be overwhelming. That’s why we created a top 10 list of writing apps that are worth your time.
Braincat is at the top because it is the most unique tool to help writers get organized and boost their creative energy. Writers use Braincat for creating plotlines, developing characters, taking notes, fleshing out an argument, and more. The power behind Braincat lies in clearing your mind. The app guides you through a specific thought process that lets you document every idea before building an outline, so you can have a fresh head and get a chance to look at the content before deciding what the project means as a whole. This is especially helpful for creative writing projects because it allows you to change your perspective as you build the outline. Thus, naming the ‘big idea’ is the last step. Braincat follows this basic process:
- Discover: Answer a set of guiding questions that prompt you to think outside the box and thoroughly assess all angles of the project.
- Input: Enter in any and all details that are on your mind in any order; significance does not matter, just flow.
- Categorize: Now you can look at each item individually and decide what bucket or category it belongs in.
- Sequence: Decide the order or priority of the buckets you created in the last step. This is also when you name the big idea.
- Output: Braincat produces a variety of output styles with all of your information, including a traditional outline and a mind map.
Scrivener is a great organization tool for storing all of your work. It offers infinite folders and layers for large complex projects, and has a minimalist layout for distraction-free writing. It allows you to add notes and a synopsis to each document, and offers features like cloud sync and compatibility with dropbox. Scrivener is one of the more expensive options out there because it is rather comprehensive and can act as a main hub for all of your writing work.
This one is similar to Scrivener, but it boasts a sleek and minimalist interface for writing and organization. Reedsy makes formatting simple and offers an impressive amount of features for a free software. It is designed for novelists with a focus on large writing projects and typesetting.
Ulysses is another organizational writing space dedicated to seamlessness and exclusively for Apple devices. The focus of this app is keeping your focus, with an intuitive and minimalist interface that sticks to the basics and keeps you writing. It also utilizes markdown techniques, such as typing ‘#’ to format your text as a header. While it may take a little while to get used to, most users feel that this speeds up formatting in the long run, rather than moving away from the keyboard to manually format text.
Plottr is designed specifically for creative outlining and book development. The colorful and fun interface lets you create multi-layer timelines to build and rearrange plotlines easily. Create notecards that are organized chronologically and add detailed information to each one that collapses and expands upon clicking it. There’s no subscription required, just buy it for $25.
Of course, Grammarly is an important tool for any kind of writer. Even if you don’t struggle with grammar, grammarly is a huge time saver when it comes to proofreading, and we all make mistakes sometimes. Grammarly will also offer suggestions on word usage and brevity to keep your writing in tip-top shape.
This is an editing software that goes beyond a simple grammar check and offers tips to make your writing stronger. It highlights abstract or vague language, overused words, transition improvements, and more. It will produce multiple detailed writing reports with tips to help you make your writing stronger. ProWritingAid also suggests informational videos and articles targeted to your writing weaknesses, so you can learn as you write.
Milanote is an outlining app that lets you create visual boards of notes, images, videos, links, or other files. It is perfect for visual thinkers and versatile enough for any type of writing. The interactive user-friendly interface makes organization easy, as you can click and drag to rearrange, expand or shrink notecards, and color code each bit of information.
This editing service is great for copywriting because it focuses on readability to allow you to tailor content to your audience and optimize for search engines. It highlights issues like sentence length, passive voice, and adverbs. There is a free web-based version or you can purchase it for $20.
Many writers prefer a dedicated app, screen, or space just for writing. It’s important to eliminate distractions to stay in the zone and keep those fingers on the keys. FocusWriter offers a minimalist writing space that is customizable and takes up the entire screen. It is only available for Windows and Linux, but it is free to download with an option to leave the creator a is grammarly premium worth it tip.