On Writing Apps

I know writing apps exist, but I couldn’t name a single one. But I bet there’s one called Writer or something really simple like that. And I wonder what purpose these apps actually serve. I mean, aren’t there word processors and writing programs that are likely quite a bit better that you can use on your computer? I’ve seen a few people write about various writing apps, but I mostly just think of these things as gimmicks. If I’m working on a major piece of fiction I don’t want to be doing ANY of the work in an app on my phone. And I very much doubt that your favorite author is working on his/her manuscript on their phone, and probably not even on their tablet.

I don’t know. There are apps and things that serve a definitive purpose and then there are apps and things that simply don’t. I think writing apps on mobile devices likely falls into group B.

Have you ever used any writing apps? What are the names of some?


On this day in 2014 I published Your Ideal Reading Spot.

 

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59 thoughts on “On Writing Apps

  1. I didn’t even know such things existed. If it did, everyone would be amazing writers and we wouldn’t find and bad writing or horrible grammatical and spelling mistakes, would we now?

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  2. Um. What are you talking about?

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  3. I used to use writing apps for college in order to take notes when I had my tablet, but then I realised that it was pointless because I ended up writing out my notes anyway to help me remember them so I agree that there isn’t much purpose for them. Nothing beats note-taking on pen and paper! Plus, whenever I write my blog posts, while I may jot down ideas in an app on my phone, I would never write the whole post on there, I would much rather type on a laptop and it means that you’re less likely to make errors in your writing.

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  4. I have one and I use it sometimes, but not often. I mostly use it to create characters, since it basically has a form you can fill out (Name, age, race, etc.), which makes it easier for me to keep track of them. I do have a couple things written in it, but other than that, it’s pretty much useless…I only still have it because I have some ideas written in it that I’m too lazy to transfer to my computer.

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  5. Nice article. I have a response. I have also read about “writing” apps which claim to clear your creative space of interruptions, provide soothing background colors and white noise music. They usually cost a fair amount of $50-100. I have MS Word and iOS Pages installed on my iMac, iPad and iPhone. I also have used the native iOS app Notes and it syncs within the iOS universe. What I did buy was an app called, wait for it, “Write.” Now i’ll admit, I was weak and was lured in by its clean interface and simplicity; somewhere a bit stronger than Notes and bit less complicated than Word or Pages. In the middle, just right. I was looking to create a work flow for myself because I noticed my habits and how I like to write. I’m sporadic and intuitive, undisciplined and my creative engine bursts in starts and fits. This app system seemed about right for me. I would maybe start writing something in my writing group on my iPad against a prompt and maybe added to it while I was sitting waiting in the barbershop on my iPhone and then when I was at my desktop iMac, I might plow through and complete a shitty first draft. That’s an agreement I have with myself, one system, not many. No notes, and write and word and pages, mixed up and all over the place. A system for me. Once I have a good first draft and I am going to rev1, I move over to Pages to finish. When I can leave as is or if some publishers, journals, etc. want a Word file, I make one. MS Word is the final place for that. It may sound complex, but for me it’s not. I think though, to your point, if you’re a writer, you write, anywhere and in any format that you have available. You don’t need a special app for that. And I think that writing apps are a seductive thing to writers who are looking for something to help them because they are not writing. I am not judging, I know from personal experience and from my writing peers. Whatever you have to do to make yourself happy and let the juices flow, I say do it! Hope I stayed on point and was helpful to the convo. Peace. J πŸ™‚

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  6. The only “writing apps” I use are just reference apps. I have one that converts English to Latin and vice versa for when I make up new words. I also have a rhyming dictionary for songs and poetry, and the regular dictionary on my phone. I know I can find all these things online, but I often write in places that have no internet connection, so it’s handy to have those apps so I don’t use all the data on my phone.

    As for actual apps for writing manuscripts or plotting or outlining… umm… yeah. That’s called a notebook for me. I may dictate into my phone in a pinch if I don’t have something to write with, but that’s it. It’s just too tedious using an app or my phone for any real writing.

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  7. I used to use an app called pocket writer. Just to put small fragments of my work up there and see what people think of it.
    ~Hafsa πŸ™‚

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  8. I think writhing on a smartphone is kind of tedious and not very effective. I personally would never write creatively on my phone – not only are typos annoying, but its not very engaging.

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  9. I am regularly away from home for 48 hours at a time for work. When I have a chunk of downtime I enjoy working on my writing. It is really convenient to take my tablet and portable key board, especially since I’m carrying my stuff in a back back like some dirty hippy, and I use dropbox and the google document writer which works really well.

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  10. I would agree with Google Docs and Dropbox, too. For a PC there is a Software called Write. It’s in beta but works pretty good. One thing I do with my android phone is turn on the built in voice recorder and start talking like I’m talking to someone. I leave myself a lot of voice messages, my little keyboard is too hard to type on

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    • Isn’t Dropbox just a storage service? And Google Docs just a word processor? Not really apps.

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      • They’re both apps. Docs and Keep are both good for note taking. Storing them in Dropbox gives you more functionality to share, edit and download, especially if you want to download back to an android device. Reading all your responses I’m not really sure what you’re looking for.

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      • Dropbox isn’t an app to me, it’s a way of life. It literally syncs everything in my literary life.

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  11. Here’s me, bare and honest before you.

    I’m a gimmick guy.

    What I mean by that, is there are phases I’ll go through when it feels as if I can’t get any writing done unless there’s something new and shiny for me to look at.

    You know what happens? I try out new and shiny, then realize it’s a piece of shit, and strut right back to MS Word with my tail between my legs, and go back to making ten folders and twenty documents for all the different points, twists, characters, and random crap that pops into my head.

    Just the other day I opened Scrivner. Now, I have friends that swear by this, and would gladly give up their first born if they had to choose between the two. I, however, opened it, clicked on ‘create new project’ or whatever, and immediately closed it.

    Even on my Note Pro 12, I tried apps, but then one day I was getting a file from dropbox, and all of a sudden I heard angels singing. I was like, Holy Shit! But no, it was a little button telling me that I could now use MS Word to edit my documents! I started using it until I realized it doesn’t have spell check or word count, yet, and almost threw my note through a window. Instead I just started using my laptop again.

    Don’t tell my wife, but I think the Note Pro may have been a gimmick as well.

    But those are just my thoughts, lol.

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