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Best Writing Apps to Boost Your Writing

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Whether you’re writing an email, a blog post, or a full-on novel, you’ll likely find the task impossible without the right tools. Which raises the question: what are the best writing apps to help you with everything from basic composition to firing-on-all-cylinders productivity?

This blog post sets out to answer that question. Here we’ve divided our favorite writing apps of 2022 into three categories (writing apps, editing apps, and focus apps) and provided brief reviews of each, so you can decide which ones you can’t live without!

While Google Docs and Microsoft Word are more-or-less fine, a dedicated writer like yourself deserves something more substantial. Here are seven writing apps designed specifically for creative writing, with various organizational tools to take your work to the next level. 

NATIVE ASYNC

1. Reedsy Book Editor

reedsy book editor

Price: Free
Runs on: Web
Best for: Authors seeking an elegant, distraction-free writing interface that typesets your work into a professional-grade book

With its sleek interface and easily navigable formatting options, the Reedsy Book Editor is a first-rate choice for modern authors. You can drag and drop chapters, insert images, and even track changes to look at past versions of your work — a function that most paid creative writing apps don’t offer. And if you find that you’re falling behind on your writing schedule, you can just enable its built-in goal reminder system, which will encourage you to get back on track. 

2. Scrivener

writing apps scrivener

Price: Free trial for 30 days, $45 license fee
Runs on: Mac, iOS, and Window
Best for: Novelists and other long-form writers who want an elaborate, organized interface

You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of book writing software that omits Scrivener, and for good reason: it manages to be both streamlined and incredibly sophisticated at the same time. With Scrivener, you can choose a template for your project (novel, essay, screenplay, etc.) and get organizing right away. The left-hand sidebar includes sections and virtual notecards for every element you could think of, and you’re able to arrange these elements however you like.

3. Ulysses

writing apps ulysses

Price: $4.99/month or $39.99/year subscription
Runs on: Mac and iOS devices
Best for: Writers who want to productivity-hack their formatting

At first glance, Ulysses looks a lot like Scrivener, but closer inspection reveals that they cater to different experience levels and interests. While Scrivener is known for its steep learning curve, Ulysses offers several tutorials alongside its features. This is especially useful because Ulysses uses “Markdown” rather than manual formatting — for instance, in Ulysses, you’d type # to create a header, or > to create a blockquote.

4. Plottr

Price: Flat fee of $25
Runs on: PC and Mac
Best for: Authors looking for a software that will help them smartly and fluidly outline their books

Plottr may be the one plotting software to rule them all. While Scrivener and Ulysses are built to be all-purpose writing platforms, Plottr was created with one main objective in mind: to help you outline and plan your story.

To that end, it shines. Plottr lets you easily build the scenes, plots, and arcs of your story, which its intuitive interface then allows you to visually organize, re-arrange, color-coordinate, and filter until your plot begins to flow and make sense to you.

5. iA Writer

writing apps ia writer

Price: Free trial for 14 days, $29.99 for Mac, $19.99 for Windows
Runs on: Mac, iOS, and Windows (free trial available for Android)
Best for: Writers who prefer simplicity over style

Reviews often compare iA Writer to Ulysses because it, too, employs Markdown for formatting. However, the interface is much simpler and more naturally integrated into your screen. This minimalist design fits perfectly with the mission of iA writer, which is “to keep you focused on just writing.”

6. yWriter

writing apps ywriter

Price: Free
Runs on: Windows
Best for: Authors who like to break their stories into bite-sized pieces

Pivoting to the non-Apple side of things, we have yWriter, a book writing app designed for Windows in a similar vein to Scrivener. yWriter boasts a well-organized interface that divides your story into scenes rather than chapters, which is less stressful for easily intimidated writers. This app is also great for tracking your progress, with features like a storyboard to review your narrative arc, and reports you can generate about your daily word count, the state of your draft, etc.

7. Storyist

writing apps storyist

Price: Free trial for 15 days, $59.99 license fee
Runs on: Mac and iOS devices
Best for: Screenwriters who are just getting started

Now let’s talk about screenplay writing apps. Though Storyist provides a solid foundation for novel writing, screenplay and stage play projects are where the app really shines. Upon creating a new project, you’ll work from a highly intuitive script template where each new line prompts you to choose action, character, dialogue, etc. This ensures proper formatting and keeps you conscious of which elements you’re using, so you don’t overdo it on dialogue or forget to transition between scenes.

8. Final Draft

final draft

Price: Free trial for 30 days, $249.99 license fee
Runs on: Mac, iOS, and Windows
Best for: Professional screenwriters who are ready to level up

Speaking of Hollywood, if you’re already such an advanced screenwriter that you’re frustrated by the limitations of “beginner” apps, Final Draft is the program for you. In addition to line-by-line formatting and other standard scriptwriting features, Final Draft offers countless options for comments, collaborations, content analysis, and more!

But remember, no app can replace a human edit.

9. Grammarly

Price: Free
Runs on: Web, including browser extension
Best for: Writers who want to carefully check short pieces, such as articles and emails

Grammarly is the writing world’s go-to spelling and grammar checker outside of standard word processors. Like any good editor, it underlines the errors and weak phrases in your writing — but Grammarly also goes above and beyond by providing a label and detailed reason for each correction, so you’ll actually learn from your mistakes

So if you write a ton of emails, Grammarly could be perfect for you! But if you write books, you might benefit more from the tools to follow.

10. ProWritingAid

Price: Free trial with limited features, $70/year subscription
Runs on: Web, Mac, and Windows
Best for: Long-form writers hoping to hone their personal style

ProWritingAid often draws comparisons to Grammarly, but this app’s approach to editing is a bit more holistic. Though it still points out significant errors, ProWritingAid’s suggestions tend more toward enhancing the flow of your prose — for example, reducing passive voice and filler words — than nitpicking for grammatical technicalities.

You’ll also find more methods of analysis with ProWritingAid, including auto-generated stats regarding your vocabulary, sentence structure, and more. ProWritingAid will let you know which words you’re overusing, which areas are inconsistent, and how you might connect your ideas more smoothly. Overall, it’s a great tool that will undoubtedly help you polish your writing (though keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to access the full range of features).

11. Hemingway

hemingway app

Price: Free online, $19.99 license fee
Runs on: Web, Mac, and Windows
Best for: Authors who value crisp, clean prose above all

Both a useful tool and clever homage to one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors, Hemingway is a must-have app for writers who like to keep things short and sweet. The purely prose-based editor gives feedback on sentence length, word usage, passive voice, and adverbs — simple elements that can nonetheless make or break a piece.

12. Readable

readable app

Price: Free online, $4/month for Readable Pro account
Runs on: Web (no browser extension yet)
Best for: Short-form writers who need their work to be easily digestible

Readable’s core mission is similar to Hemingway’s: to make your prose more, well, readable. But Readable has a few more bells and whistles to it, which may be helpful for writers who want really thorough textual analysis. Besides pointing out run-on sentences and other indicators of purple prose, this app collects tons of relevant statistics, from text composition to reading time. You’ll also receive scores on multiple readability scales — Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog, etc.

As with ProWritingAid, you’ll have to upgrade for full access to features like keyword density and quality control. This may be worth looking into if you create content for a living, but for writers whose work doesn’t depend on SEO, the free version of Readable should serve you well.

13. NaturalReader

Price: Free
Runs on: Web, Mac, and Windows
Best for: Writers who need fresh eyes — or rather, ears — for editing

Reading one’s work aloud is a great way to catch awkward phrasing and typos. But what if you’re already so accustomed to your own prose that, when reading to yourself, you skim right over these issues?

That’s when you can turn to NaturalReader, the best text-to-speech reader we’ve found this side of an actual person. To use it, simply copy/paste your writing into the text box, choose a voice and reading speed, and follow along with the magnified text at the bottom. You can pause, rewind, fast-forward, and change the other settings at any time; it’s all incredibly easy and conducive to comprehension. (Just make sure you’re actually listening, not zoning out.)

14. FocusWriter

Price: Free
Runs on: Mac and Windows
Best for: Overstimulated writers who want to get back to basics

Thought Ulysses and Hemingway were minimalist? You ain’t seen nothing yet. FocusWriter is exactly what it says on the tin: it compels you to focus on writing and nothing else. The interface takes on the appearance of a sheet of paper, and lacking any elaborate formatting options or research notes to mess around with, you have no choice but to write.

You can still adjust the font, track your progress, and even set a timer for writing sprints using the toolbar at the top — but it safely tucks these features away from view. If in-app distractions are your kryptonite, FocusWriter might be the solution you need.

15. Freedom

freedom app

Price: Free trial for 7 sessions, $6.99/month or $30/year
Runs on: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
Best for: Internet-addicted writers who can admit they have a problem

Of course, even a super-basic interface can’t protect you from distractions that lurk outside that interface. That’s why you need Freedom: app- and website-blocking software to curb your Internet and social media procrastination (which, let’s be honest, is an issue for all of us).

Freedom allows you to set timed blocks, schedule blocks in advance, and even “pause” before visiting distracting sites. It certainly covers all the bases in terms of potential diversions; users can customize a list of distracting websites and desktop apps, plus connect Freedom to their phones to block distractions on there as well.

But perhaps the nicest thing about Freedom is that it feels truly freeing — between the gentle branding and the ultimately self-imposed limits, you’ll come away feeling not restricted, but relieved that you can get some writing done at last.

16. Evernote

writing apps evernote

Price: Free basic plan, $4.99/month for premium
Runs on: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
Best for: Multitalented writers who want a single space to collect all their thoughts

Another one of the best free writing apps out there, Evernote takes written organization to a whole new level. With dozens of templates for everything from classroom note-taking to personal planning to structuring a novel, Evernote makes admin not only easy, but fun!

Besides abundant organizational templates — again, all for free with the basic plan — Evernote also lets you tag everything in specific categories, share your notes with collaborators, and even chat with them in-app. One of its coolest features is the Web Clipper, which you can use to save any excerpt of web content that appeals to you. More than anything, Evernote is a work-saving app designed to be adaptable and accessible for all kinds of writers and their projects.

17. Reedsy Prompts

reedsy prompts

Price: Free
Runs on: Web
Best for: Writers who just need a spark of an idea to get started

Okay, this one’s not exactly an app, at least not yet. But after comparing Reedsy Prompts to similar writing inspiration apps like Writing Challenge and The Brainstormer, we can honestly say it has much more to offer. For one thing, you’ll get five new prompts every single week — and not just on the Reedsy Prompts page, but sent straight to your email inbox. And if you write a short story based on one of those prompts, you could win $50 in our weekly contest!

At the end of the day, that’s what writing is all about: creating something wonderful and unique to share with others, whether it’s an informative article, a personal essay, or a 300-page book. Whatever your writing project, we hope these apps can be of use to you — and indeed, of service to everyone who gets to enjoy your work.

Compare the best writing apps of 2022

Writing appPricingBest for
Reedsy Book EditorFreeWriters who want to create a professional-grade book
ScrivenerFree trial for 30 days, $45 license feeNovelists who want max organization
Ulysses$4.99/month or $39.99/year subscriptionWriters seeking an easy-to-pick-up interface
PlottrFlat fee of $25Novelists concentrating on outlining their books
iA WriterFree trial for 14 days, $29.99 for Mac, $19.99 for WindowsWriters who prefer simplicity over style
yWriterFreeAuthors who think in terms of scenes
StoryistFree trial for 15 days, $59.99 license feeBeginner screenwriters
Final DraftFree trial for 30 days, $249.99 license feeProfessional screenwriters ready to level up
GrammarlyFreeWriters seeking a triple proofread
ProWritingAidFree trial with limited features, $70/year subscriptionLong-form writers hoping to hone their personal style
HemingwayFree online, $19.99 license feeAuthors who value crisp prose
ReadableFree online, $4/month for Readable Pro accountShort-form writers who need their work to be easily digestible
NaturalReaderFreeWriters who need fresh eyes for editing
FocusWriterFreeOverstimulated writers who want to get back to basics
FreedomFree trial for 7 sessions, $6.99/month or $30/yearInternet-addicted writers seeking an intervention
EvernoteFree basic plan, $4.99/month for premiumWriters who want a catch-them-all
Reedsy PromptsFreeWriters seeking inspiration

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