8 Best Writing Apps To Help You Finish Your Masterpiece 

Denis Caron
August 9, 2022

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The best apps for writers is a contentious topic and could be debated for hours. A more fitting question would be, which are the most popular apps writers use? Either way, you’ll need to dive deeper and explore their functions to find the best app for you.

Ensure you don’t just scroll through this article and download the apps as you come across their names. Read first to see if they’re suitable for your specific writing needs.


What Do Writers Use To Write Books?

If you had googled this 5000 years ago, the answer would’ve been a hammer, chisel, and a slate. Soon after, it was papyrus, reed pens, and ink made of soot, ocher, and animal glue. In 105 AD, paper was invented in China, and centuries later, printing presses came about. Then came typewriters, followed by computers, and now mobile technology is used as a writing tool.

As speech-to-text technology improves, future writers may speak books instead of writing them.


What Apps Do Authors Use To Write a Novel?

In this section, we’ll look at various tools for planning, writing, and editing your manuscript, including a daring app that you can use to overcome writer’s block.


Best Writing Apps for Windows and Mac

Let’s look beyond the usual Microsoft Office and Apple Pages word processors. Instead, we’ll analyze substitutes or applications that supplement these programs to improve your writing experience.

App Name

Description

Free-Trial Period

Pricing

Grammarly

Text checking software. Integrates with other programs.

Free basic plan

Premium
Monthly $30
Quarterly $60
Yearly $144

ProWritingAid

Text checking software.
Integrates with other programs.

Free basic plan

Monthly $20
Yearly $79
Lifetime $399

Scrivener

Word processor and writing management app

30 day free trial

$49 once off
iOS 19.99 once off

Ulysses

Word processor and writing management app

Unspecified free trial

Monthly $5.99
Yearly $49.99

Bibisco

Mac, Windows, Android, iOS

30 day free trial

$28 once off

Squibler

Nothing of note

14 day free trial

Monthly $9.99

Freedom

Distraction prevention software

Unspecified free trial

Monthly $8.99
Yearly $40
$80 once off

Grammarly is text-checking software with over 30 million users worldwide. You can add it as an extension to your web browser, word processors, and various other platforms to check for typos, spelling errors, grammar, and punctuation.

It can also analyze your writing style and measure it according to your preferences. Grammarly also guards against plagiarism and suggests improvements in sentence construction to improve the reading experience. You can even add the Grammarly keyboard to your phone and use it to track your word count.

Many writers are still under the impression that Grammarly does not work with Google Docs, but the good news is that since December 2020, Google Docs users can utilize Grammarly in a google doc once they add the extension to Google Chrome.

Grammarly offers a free version for you to explore, but the true magic only occurs after upgrading to a paid version.


ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid

ProWrtingAid lives in Grammarly’s shadow when it comes to the number of users. It’s not due to the software being inferior, as many authors will attest. It provides about the same output as Grammarly, although the functionality differs somewhat.

The free version might disappoint you, but the paid version offers an experience similar to Grammarly.

Extra points are awarded to ProWritingAid for its ability to integrate with Google Docs and Scrivener.


Scrivener

Scrivener

Many authors will tell you that it’s Scrivener or nothing. book writing software that goes beyond just writing and allows you to make notes, view research, and do your outlining all in one platform. It provides handy templates for all kinds of creative writing, whether it’s a screenplay, novel, or even just an essay.

It’s Microsoft Word with superpowers. One of the most impressive features is the Binder, a customizable tool that allows you to compile everything into an organized, flowing outline. It has cross-platform compatibility, meaning you can switch between Apple and MS Office with ease.

Everything you need, from brainstorming notes to research, can be easily imported and accessed. The mobile app allows you to create project targets and reminders that will help you improve your productivity. Regarding productivity, if you get distracted easily, the app has a function called the distraction-free Composition Mode, which dims all other bars and sidenotes so you can focus on the single piece you’re writing.

Due to its wide array of functions, Scrivener isn’t an app you can download and start using successfully right away. There’s a steep learning curve to overcome, but it comes with tutorials that help ease the transition.

It’s quite affordable, and you can also play around on the app for 30 days for free.


Ulysses

Ulysses

Ulysses is in close competition with Scrivener when it comes to functionality. It’s an excellent formatting tool that allows you to organize your content with keyword labels, tracking tools, and an intuitive sidebar similar to Scrivener’s.

Bad news for MS Office fans and those looking for an Android app, Ulysses is only available to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. It only offers a 14 free trial compared to the 30-day Scrivener free trial, and it’s also more expensive in the long term.


Bibisco

Bibisco

Bibisco is an open-source application available to Microsoft, Apple, and Linux users that can be described as a project management tool for a novel. It consists of a word processor, organizer, and creativity guide. It offers neat features such as creating timelines, tracking chapters, and a great space for creating characters.

Unlike Scrivener, Bibisco is easy to use, and the learning curve isn’t as steep or discouraging. You can get a pretty clear idea of its functionality by using the free version, which isn’t as restricted as ProWritingAid’s free version.

In addition, should you want to try to full version, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.

Unfortunately, there’s not a mobile version available for the app yet.


Squibler

Another platform-friendly app is Squibler. Just like Bibisco, it’s available to Microsoft, Apple, and Linux users and is ideal for authors, screenplay writers, and other fiction writers. It also offers nifty tools such as screen split, adding notes for tracking progress, drag and drop editor, and tag functions.

Tags can be included to store and filter sections of your writing for easy access later. Like Bibisco, it’s a very efficient project management tool that offers to-do lists, goal tracking, corkboard organization, and easy collaboration with external parties.

Squibler offers a wide variety of templates for you to start working from, including everything from novels to dissertations to children’s books.

You can try Squibler free for 14 days, and if you’re satisfied with the pro version, you can upgrade to it for a monthly subscription fee.


Freedom

Freedom

As promised, we’d also like to showcase apps that can be used to increase productivity and reduce writer’s block. Writer’s block goes hand in hand with procrastination and distraction. Sometimes, distractions lead to procrastination, which leads to a loss of focus, and voila, writer’s block.

Freedom is an app that keeps you focused on your writing and increases productivity. The app cancels all notifications from other apps on all platforms for a predetermined time. This allows you to sit down and focus on writing without being distracted.

You can also create a scheduled blackout. Let’s say you want to dedicate every night between 9pm and 10pm to writing. Simply schedule this time in the app, and it will block all pre-defined apps and websites. It’s becoming a very popular app to boost productivity and is used by more than 2 million people worldwide.

Freedom is available for Mac, Windows, Andriod, iOS, and Chrome. It offers a free trial period that includes seven distraction-free sessions. Freedom Premier offers monthly, yearly, and once-off subscription options.


The Most Dangerous Writing App

The best advice to overcome writer’s block is to just start writing. Ignore your perfectionistic nature and just get words on paper or on-screen, rather. Doing this will adjust your focus and gear your mind toward getting back into creative mode.

The Most Dangerous Writing App could offer salvation for the brave writer struggling to overcome writer’s block and distractions mid-writing. But be warned, it’s like playing Writer’s Russian Roulette.

This web application forces writers to continue writing—no matter what. If you stop writing for longer than five seconds, the app will delete all the progress you have made. It lets you focus on getting the story out instead of fixating on other technicalities.

It’s a dangerous game to play, but with practice, it could boost your productivity.


What Are the Best Writing Apps for iPad?

App Name

Description

Free-Trial Period

Pricing

MS Word

Word processor

30 day free trial

Microsoft 365 Monthly $6.99
$159.99 once off

Apple Pages

Word processor

None

Free for Apple users

Ulysses

Mac, Windows, Android, iOS

Unspecified free trial

Monthly $5.99
Yearly $49.99

Scrivener

Word processor and writing management app

Unspecified free trial

$49 once off
iOS 19.99 once off

Initially, Microsoft Word wasn’t available to iPad owners, but Microsoft realized that this was a mistake as tons of other apps began replacing their famous word processor. An updated version of Word for iPad returned with a bang and became extremely popular.

MS word is free to download but requires a subscription after that. It will get you where you want to go, but it doesn’t have the same amount of punching power as some of the other apps on this list.


Apple Pages

When users open Apple Pages, they feel robbed. Pages seemed to be a watered-down version of Word, only fit for taking notes. The truth is that it has about the same functionality, but Apple doesn’t display all the options on screen until you need to use them, unlike Word.

Apple Pages is free to iPad and iPhone users and is worth checking out if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to pay a subscription fee.


Ulysses

We mentioned Ulysses before under the Mac/Windows section, and we’d like to mention that it’s one of those apps that you’ll either fall in love with right away or will make you frown.

One of the reasons is that this app doesn’t allow you to create separate documents. It’s one app with a single file where you can create an almost infinite amount of writing pieces. That means whenever you open the app, you instantly have all the writing you’ve ever done.


Scrivener

Scrivener

We already talked about Scrivener before. All the functionality you can find for this app on your Mac is the same for iPad. Writers call it a writing studio rather than just a word processor because it focuses on the journey of writing a book and not just creating text.

Scrivener can be found in the App Store for a once-off subscription fee.


What Are the Best Apps for Writers for iPhone?

The most popular writing apps for iPhones are similar to those mentioned above for the iPad. We’d like to include one more app that’s quite popular for iPhone users:

iA Writer’s slogan is Laser-Focused Writing. That’s what this app is all about: getting stuff out of your head and onto paper. It lacks the writer studio experience that apps like Scrivener offer. It has but one goal: getting you to finish your first draft.

That’s why it’s so popular for iPhone users. When you’re out and about, and a muse whispers magic into your ears, you can open up the app and get grafting. No frills and fancy parades; just pure, straightforward writing.


What Are the Best Apps for Writers for Android?

Whether it’s for your phone or tablet, Android’s best option is Google Docs combined with Google Drive and Google Keep. 

App Name

Description

Free-Trial Period

Pricing

Google Drive

Google Docs word processor

Free

Google One Basic Free (15GB)

MS Word

Word processor

30 day free trial

Microsoft 365 Monthly $6.99
$159.99 once off

Character Story Planner 2

Android app

Free

Free

Google Drive is a powerful cloud-based office suite. It comes with Google Docs included, which is sufficient to handle your writing project, whether it’s a blog post, creative writing, or any other written content. It also comes with Google Keep, a notepad app that allows you to create and store notes for safekeeping. They both stay all in one safe space within your Google Drive.

You can access these documents with your tablet, laptop, Android or iOS device, whenever you have access to the internet. The best part is that it’s free and comes with 15 gigabytes of storage space.

Also, for those who don’t yet know, Grammarly can be integrated with Google Docs if you install the extension on your Chrome browser.


Microsoft Word

Just as with Google Drive, Docs, and Keep, Microsoft offers a similar service with Word, OneDrive, and OneNote. Most people who have experience with both Google Drive and Microsoft will tell you that Microsoft offers more functionality in its word processor. Many others will say that user interaction is better with Google.

We can all agree that Google Drive is your cheaper option, as Microsoft requires a subscription to Microsoft 365 for you to access these services.


Character Story Planner 2

This isn’t an app for writing your novel, but we thought we should include this fun app that you can use for character and world-building.

Character Story Planner 2 is an app ideally used for tabletop gaming such as Dungeons and Dragons. Still, it comes in handy when you want to create characters for your novel or short stories. You can create an entire world with its own rules and each character with specific traits. You can also add unique scenarios, events, and scenes.

You can play on your phone or tablet in your free time, build the entire outline of your book, and have fun. Later, you can transpose everything to another word processor more fitting for writing a novel.

Best of all, it’s free, if you can bare the advertising.


Where Can I Write a Story and Get Paid?

Before we end this article, we want to close off by answering the question many first-timers ask us.

The odds of your first book landing on a best-sellers list are equal to winning the lottery. But there are ways to hone your skills and get paid for doing so. We explain it all in this article.


Conclusion

We included the various apps and their related information table format for your convenience. Please note that the pricing was accurate at publication, but prices fluctuate all the time. Make sure to cross-check the current price before committing.

If you're looking to find more time to write and improve your skills, check out our writing coaching plans that work with you.

About the author 

Denis Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

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