I have an iPhone, but prior to my switch I was a hardcore Android nut who loved to talk poorly about Apple products to my sister, a Steve Jobs worshiper. That said, there are plenty of writing apps for iPhone and Android that allow me to compile ideas, brainstorm, prepare for novel writing, limit distractions, crush writer’s anxiety and fuel the adventure of writing.
A writer’s path is more than just writing–from marketing to networking and design. Since I’m a bit of a tech nerd, and most of my freelance work revolves around mobile apps and other technology I want to share my favorite writing apps for iPhone and Android with you. Obviously the key to becoming a writer who finishes work is to sit down at a computer and write, but these writing apps for iPhone and Android help to fill in the gaps for the additional requirements.
Many of these apps are accessible on both iPhone and Android phones, but some are exclusive to one or the other. I’ll update this post in case any of the apps come out with versions for different operating systems.
In the meantime, enjoy my favorite writing apps for iPhone and Android.
Lists for Writers
Lists for Writers sat on my phone for months until I seriously started writing my novel. It turns out that it works for finding quick ideas better than searching on Google. The reason I strongly recommend this app to writers is because it allows you to shutoff internet on your computer and still have access to ideas for character names, plot twists, animal ideas, clothing, occupations, obsessions and more. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite writing apps for iPhone and Android.
Index Card reminds me of the Scrivener index card and bulletin board system except it gives me a second location to organize my characters, places, themes and everything else that goes into writing a book. It’s really quite simple; instead of using physical index cards for plotting and organization you have it on your phone.
Available for $2.99 on the iPhone.
Audible is wonderful in terms of writing apps for iPhone and Android. This might surprise you, but I don’t read many books. I actually listen to four or five books every month with the help of Audible. Now, the Audible app only lets you listen to books, so you have to sign up on the website. That said, I can’t get enough of the selection on Audible.
Most of the titles I find on Amazon are on Audible, and I get to sit back and relax while immersing myself in a story. Neil Gaiman is known for flying through audiobooks while working on other tasks, and I find that it’s handy while riding my bike, sitting on the train, buying groceries and doing my laundry. Sure, I still sit down with a good book on my Kindle every once in a while, but Audible lets you listen to books no matter what you’re doing. However, I tried writing while listening to audiobooks and that was a total disaster.
The Kindle app is for those who don’t want to listen to their books. I still read books on my Kindle, but I’ve been weaning myself off because I’ve fallen in love with Audible. Regardless, if you don’t read, your motivation and vocab levels will drop and you can’t expect to write well.
PdaNet is only available if you jailbreak your iPhone, but Android folks can find it on the Google Play Store without any phone modifications. Some words of warning: If you jailbreak your iPhone you void the manufacturer’s warranty, so you can’t bring it in for repairs. You can find some nice jailbreaking techniques online, but I used the Pangu application. After that you download the PdaNet app from Cydia, the jailbroken iPhone app store.
PdaNet uses your wireless network to create a mobile hotspot straight from your phone. In short, if you are trying to send an email or write a blog post and you don’t have access to a WiFi signal this app taps into your 3G or 4G signal and converts it into a WiFi hotspot for your computer. I find this handy when I need to meet a deadline and send in the final product while I’m on the move. I recently took a road trip out to San Diego with my friends and this came in handy to keep in contact with my freelance writing contacts.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use this as your primary source of internet, otherwise your wireless data fees skyrocket. It’s one of my favorite writing apps for iPhone and Android because you have a chance to write from wherever you are.
Evernote is the crown jewel for jotting down notes. If you don’t have it, get it. If you have it sitting on your phone, then learn how to use its features and make a habit of opening it everyday. When I sit down to go to sleep every night I open up Evernote to jot down ideas I have for stories. I also make lists of topic ideas I have for the Write With Warnimont blog. One of my favorite parts about Evernote is it has a voice feature for recording thoughts and even transcribing them into text–think those old handheld cassette voice recorders, except on your phone.
Coach.me offers a way for those who want to achieve goals the accountability needed to succeed. It’s a nice app for anyone who wants to drink more water, exercise everyday or stop smoking, but the app’s real benefit for me comes from setting writing and reading goals and reminders.
It’s a simple app that works on habits and push notifications to remind you whenever you need to drop everything and focus on a particular task. They say it takes three weeks to develop a habit, and with Lift I have started biking every evening, eating more fruits and vegetables and working on my novel every single morning.
TinyScan was a suggested app I found from Pat over at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I didn’t originally think that a scanning app had any relevance to a writer until I was reading the first book of Harry Potter and wanted to save the opening lines. Unfortunately, I only had the hard copy book and a picture gives you shadows and it doesn’t convert into a PDF for later use.
TinyScan is pretty amazing technology, since it scans your page and turns it into a flawless PDF. I’ve also used this for sending signed documents for taxes and such when I don’t have a real scanner near me. I turns out this is even faster and cleaner than using the scanner in my office.
The Dictionary.com app is a common suggestion for writers throughout the internet, so I always keep it in my pocket. What better way to expand your vocabulary and locate ideal words for your novel than by using the good old-fashioned dictionary? I browse this app while I write my science fiction stories and usually look forward to the “Word of the Day” to see if I can learn something new.
The Hemingway App
OK, the Hemingway App isn’t an actual mobile app, but it’s too cool to leave off this list. When I think about how to avoid common editing notes and bringing my creative ideas to life I usually turn to my old friend Ernest Hemingway. The web app allows you to copy your text into the editor, after which it tells you errors to avoid such as hard to read sentences, passive voice and too many adverbs.
I try to take it with a grain of salt, since writing rules are made to be broken, but I’ll occasionally check back in with this app, transfer my text from Scrivener and clean things up.
Available for free at the Hemingway App website.
Goodreads can be used for multiple functions in terms of writing, but I primarily use it as a checklist for my reading. The Goodreads app lets you create goals for how many books you want to read in a year or month, and after you check them off you can share with friends to discuss books. I mainly listen to my books on Audible and then simply check them off. Goodreads is also a nice platform for marketing your book if you want to hold free giveaways or directly contact people who are interested in reading books.
Wunderlist is by far the best to-do list app I have come across. I use it so much that I set it as one of the primary buttons at the bottom of my iPhone. The reason Wunderlist works so well for writers is because it syncs up to all devices and you can build tons of lists for brainstorming.
I create my to-do list every morning on my Wunderlist app, while procrastinating in bed, then when I go to my office everything is right there on my computer screen. As I fly through blog posts for clients I check off the items and they shift to the completed pile at the bottom.
Afterword allows published Kindle writers a chance to view their book sales from a mobile phone. It lets you view monthly sales and bring up reports from different countries. It’s not affiliated with Amazon, but when I first released Rise of the Writer I still had my Android phone, so I perused through sales and didn’t have to open up the clunky Kindle Direct module on my browser. Unfortunately Afterword is only available on Android phones, but I’m hoping they come out with an iPhone version soon.
Available for free on Android.
I like to get paid from my freelance writing clients, and I haven’t found a better way to transfer money than with PayPal. You have to give up a small percentage to use the system, but it’s pretty reasonable. I format my own invoices, include my freelance writing logo and send it off whenever a job is complete. It’s nice because whenever someone pays me I get a push notification on my phone, where I can withdraw to my bank accounts within seconds.
If you want you can even order the free credit card scanner to connect with your phone. Who knows, you might run into someone who wants to buy a book from you on the spot. Empty out that trunk full of books and swipe their card. I haven’t used the swiper once, but it was free, so why not?
Yelp helps me find my happy places for writing. There isn’t a place I get more work done than at a good library. I also tend to seek out cool coffee shops in the area for free WiFi and calming environments to work on writing. I don’t always use Yelp, but in my recent travels to San Diego, and whenever I travel around the city of Chicago to meet with friends or clients, I end up searching for the perfect writing spot. There’s a book and movie shop I recently found that I’m particularly fond of–it has huge couches and they serve tea, so it makes me happy.
I use Google Drive on my phone for two reasons. I modify the occasional freelance writing project and I also like to export Scrivener documents to the Drive when I know I’ll be away from my computer for a while. If I think of something that needs to be added in my stories I just open the app, modify the text and import the file into Scrivener later. There’s also an app called Simplenote that’s available for both iPhones and Androids. It only works on the Mac version of Scrivener, so I don’t use it, but it includes a feature to sync you Scrivener files with the app, making it a little quicker than exporting and importing.
Writing Aid is one of the more interesting writing apps for iPhone and Android since it provides similar features as the Dictionary app, but it’s much cleaner. However, the true feature that makes this app stand out is the reverse dictionary lookup. So if you can’t think of a word or you want a stronger word for your story you type in the definition or words that relate and it gives you suggestions. It sounds similar to a Thesaurus, but it offers more than just synonyms. Writing Aid reverse engineers your thoughts into useable words to pop in your stories. I was skeptical about this one at first, but I use it more than my dictionary app now.
Available for $0.99 on the iPhone.
If you use any of these writing apps for iPhone and Android, let me know how they help your creative process. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and feel free to rag on me if you think some of these writing apps for iPhone and Android suck.