Top Apps for Writers

What’s on the iPod: Trash Tongue Talker by Jack White

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How decadent it is to have some free time! I finished a bunch of work early on Monday, so I had yesterday to work on my personal writing. Good thing — I had roofers pounding on the roof and a furnace installer sawing away in the basement. I could walk away when it became too noisy, and I could resume whenever the mood struck. I got some coursework done, too, which is always nice.

Also, I’m looking to upgrade my phone. Mine is like the one on the commercial –even a thief wouldn’t want it. I’ve filled it with as much data as the minuscule SIM and memory can handle. It now freezes at every command.

But oh, the apps! We love our digital friends, don’t we? It made me think that a list of my favorites and those of others would be a useful tool for all writers. Here are some of the best in no particular order:

LastPass. LOVE this program, which I use on my desktop. LastPass saves every password and gives you the option of automatically signing you in to your accounts. Cool functions include one master password (keeps everyone away from your info), random password generator/saving, and autofill.

Tape-a-Talk. For your Android. It’s brilliant — know when you need that tape recorder but weren’t thinking you needed a tape recorder? This app records for you. It’s saved me a few times.

Talking Translator. Available on both Android and Apple, though the Android version is getting higher props. I get my word-of-the-day fix, plus I can translate nearly anything into English. For free.

Bubble.Us. Consider it a kick-start to your brainstorming process. Create what they call “mind maps” to get your manuscript going. Meant for novel outlining, but you could use this for articles, marketing plans, whatever.

Q10. Ever wish you had a screen with no distractions? Meet Q10. It’s for writers. It’s a text editor. Download it.

yWriter5. Simon Haynes loves writing, but he didn’t love getting lost in his document. He created this app, which breaks writing up into scenes, something Haynes believes will help keep novelists on track, including providing reports that show various aspects of the story as it’s being written. Never get lost in your novel again, he says. I’ve yet to try it, but I’m intrigued.

Yarny. This is my next obsession, I can tell. Here’s that place to store those great ideas that haven’t come to fruition, those tidbits you’re inclined to jot down on a piece of paper that will undoubtedly disappear. If you feel like writing the whole article, book, whatever on Yarny, go for it.

Write.App. Here is your free online notebook — it says so on the home page. Private, distraction-free writing space that you can share, as well. Best features: you can post to Write.App (either publicly or privately) from your email, mobile device, or even from a text.

Bump. Forget having your friend send that file when you’re standing inches away. Just Bump it over to your phone. This app is exactly as advertised — it enables two phones running the Bump app to share files just by bumping the phones together. Now Bump comes for your desktop. Want that picture on your phone or that file on your iPad? Bump it from your computer just by touching them. It’s insane, but it works.

Just for Fun:

Carr Matey. For both Android and iPhone, this is a fun way to remember where the hell you parked. Comes in handy in Manhattan (I always get turned around) and at the mall.

Glympse. Don’t you hate waiting for someone and wondering where they are? How about being late and not being able to call because you’re driving or have no signal? Glympse solves this problem by sending a link to your party, which includes a moving map of where you are and how fast you’re going, etc. They can tell when you’re arriving and when you’re stuck in traffic. I’ve used it several times and love it.

Starbucks. What writer doesn’t need a caffeine fix? Personally, I’d be lost without my Starbucks app, which is a virtual version of a member card. Load it up with cash from your PayPal account, and just scan it to pay. Available on both Android and iPhone (as it should be).

SoundHound. I can’t get enough of this app. Know that song that’s on the radio or playing in the store? Pull up this app, tap the big yellow button, and the app pulls in the song title, artist, lyrics, and even has a feature that lets you buy it on the spot. Plus you can save favorites. For both Android and iPhone (iPad too, I think).

What are your favorite apps, writing or otherwise?

About the author




  • Chris Meier October 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Lori

    I'm an Apple user, so my go-to is iA Writer on both my desktop and iPad, and Drafts on the iPad. With Dropbox synching I can easily switch from writing on my computer to my tablet and back again.

    For passwords I absolutely love 1Password and have it on all of my devices. It isn't cheap, but I find it much better than LastPass.

  • Lori October 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I've heard good things about iA Writer, Chris. Glad to hear from one more satisfied user.

    Thanks for the advice on 1Password. I'm fairly new to LastPass, so I've yet to determine if the few issues are app-related or me-related. 🙂

  • Paula October 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    The phone on the commercial you're talking about is sophisticated compared to my cell phone! Mine is a pre-apps phone. (But it is a pretty shade of blue.)

    It's a pay-as-you-go phone. Cost is $25 every three months. I've never come close to using up my minutes so they kept accumulating. This summer the credit card I pay for it with was replaced, so I had to call in the new number. They guy looked at my account, said they would waive my fees for a year – or until my balance is used up. He also said I'll need to upgrade soon since they plan to phase out 2G service. Yes. 2G. I told you it was pre-apps.

  • Lori October 16, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    If it's all you need, Paula, why not? But better upgrade to at least 3G soon. 🙂

  • Anne Wayman October 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Lori, I'm getting real tired of apps… but I'll take a look at these.

  • Jennifer Mattern October 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Android apps have made my life so much easier Lori. I monitor my ad revenue that way. I use the Swype app from Nuance for voice-to-text so I can write more in less time and from anywhere. My Pomodoro tracker app helps me budget my time better. The WordPress app helps me stay on top of comments on my various sites without having to be at the computer. The Hootsuite app lets me know if there are Twitter mentions or anything that I need to address quickly without me keeping Twitter open while I'm trying to work on other things. I use the Feedly app to stay on top of blog posts. To-do apps are a must for me.

    I'd be lost without my apps. And I'm always looking for new or better ones to make my life easier. 🙂

  • Lori October 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    LOVE Swype!

    They should be about making our lives easier, shouldn't they? I use mine to simplify things. If it's not helping, it's not the right app.

  • Katharine Swan October 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    My friend just showed me yWriter last night. She loves it! It looks kind of like Scrivener on the screen. She said she's going to keep using yWriter for the time being, since she's already familiar with it, and I'm probably going to keep using Scrivener for the very same reason!

  • Lori October 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Katharine, great seeing you here! I'm all for whatever works. 🙂

  • Adam Mossberger December 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    If you into poetry this is the best app on the market that I could find.
    You should add it to your list xD

  • Lori December 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    That's actually pretty neat, Adam. Thanks!