Jan 20, 2011

Best Free Apps for Productive Writing

Fun, but NOT one of my Productive Writing App picks.

In my last post, I gave you 8 Ways to Prioritise Writing. I'm sticking with the productivity theme and in this post I'll share my top pick of free tools from iTunes to help you be more productive in your writing. You can search for all of these apps in your iTunes store, but some have links if you'd like to read more about them first.

iPhone/iPod/iPad Apps
  1. Voice Recognition Software. Takes a while to set up and get used to, but now there are recording apps that will translate your voice to text. You could be writing your next novel while driving in the car (as long as you stay focused on the road), working out at the gym (as long as you wanted a lot of huffing and puffing in your story) or shopping for groceries (you're a writer now, it's too late to worry about looking weird). There are a few different programs in iTunes, but I've gone for Dragon Dictation.
  2. Notebooks. Agatha Christie was famous for keeping all her notebooks with ideas, inspiration and plot plans. Writers know they should carry their notebook with them EVERYWHERE - but really, do you? I almost always forget to. But now I have My Writing Spot, and I use it all the time. You can even set a password, if you're worried about prying eyes reading your plot ideas.
  3. Audiobooks. Need to learn more about the traditional structure of storytelling, or how to find your own style? There are many well known books on the craft of writing, now available as audiobooks. If you don't have the time to read through a non-fiction book, have your device read it to you.
  4. To Do Lists. There's an art to writing a good To Do list, you need sub-categories and you need to keep it simple. If you're a list lover like me, you'll love Wunderlist Task Manager for your iPhone/iPod/iPad. No excuses now.
  5. Mind-mapping. I first learned of clustering ideas for writing from an audio book (To Write is to Know - Gabriele Rico), it's a great tool whenever you feel a little lost or stuck. Now I can mind-map or cluster on my iPhone, but truthfully, this seems to work better for me on the iPad (more room to see your finished map). Try Total Recall.
  6. Visual Prompts. Sometimes you'll see a sign, painting, magazine, etc that acts as a great inspiration for your current WIP and writing about it isn't enough. Now you can scan images with your iPhone! This app has many uses and I'm sure you'll come up with some new ones. With overwhelming numbers recommending this app, I present: CamScanner.
  7. Headlines. Using newspaper headlines to get story ideas works well in my creative writing classes. I won't link because everyone has their own preference for papers, but you can download anything from The Australian to NY Times.
There's my picks - do you have any to add? (Facebook and Twitter are great social networking apps, but we all know now they do not get us putting more words to paper).


  1. I've often wondered about voice recognition software. So many authors don't want to use it, but I think it would really help with making dialogue sound more realistic.

  2. I'm still in the last century. I don't have a modern cell phone 'cause I'm home most of the time. Maybe, I'll get one sometime, those aps sound interesting.

  3. My Writing Spot looks so cool. I could use that one!

  4. Ooo great stuff! Interested to try the voice stuff but kind of weirded out by talking to myself...wait. Talking to myself in coherent, fluid thoughts.

  5. Great list! I love organizing, and I love my iTouch, so this is just perfect. I've often thought about investing in dictation software, just to save my wrists from typing up research notes and such. I swear, one of these days, I'm actually going to bite the bullet and try it!

  6. I don't have any "i" things and I'm not sure what apps are exactly and it all kind of befuddles me, but voice recognition into text sounds possibility interesting if not a bit lazy. I tend to be lazy.

    Tossing It Out