Modern technology has made writing more complicated than it should be at times. After all, Ernest Hemingway did his business without complaining about a PDF file that won’t convert or poor Wi-Fi.
But with a little bit of guidance and some help from the very same technology, the writing process can be as simple as the days of pen and paper and as hi-tech and efficient as the future can hold.
We took a look at the top writing apps for 2016 and gave you the rundown on our thoughts. The list is in no particular order, but numbered for easy scrolling. Take a few minutes and scour our list because the app that could help you out today might just be down there waiting for you.
What is it? While this app offers no guarantee to turn you into the next Ernest Hemingway, it will certainly help you get one step closer to looking like a pro. The Hemingway app is not your typical grammar editor and won’t actually fix your mistakes. Rather, it points out common writing pitfalls such as an excessive use of adverbs, long sentences, and the use of passive voice.
Why we love it: We absolutely love this app because it’s as if Hemingway himself is standing over your shoulder asking, “Are you sure you want to word it that way?” This app is actually available on desktop and for $9.99 you can have your own personal Hemingway on either Windows or a Mac.
What is it? Available on the iPad for $2.99, phraseology makes writing on a tablet a little more comfortable. It offers an extended keyboard with a few more typing options and syncs right up to the iCloud to store your work. In addition, it offers live character and word counts so you can track your progress.
Why we love it: This app is perfect for the time when you’re out on the go away from your typical writing platform and the light bulb in your head goes off with an idea. Simply pull out your iPad equipped with phraseology and make the best of the current situation by taking advantage of phraseology’s evaluation of your text.
3. Spice Mobile
What is it? The spice mobile app is available either on Android or the iPhone and requires a paid subscription to access its features. This app basically serves as a historical thesaurus of sorts designed to help a writer find just the right phrase and understand exactly from where it came.
Why we love it: We like that you can scour the entire history of a word or phrase and see its use throughout literary history. Yes, this app is pretty much that nerdy English professor from college who just so happens to be small enough to fit in your pocket.
4. Store House
What is it? Store House is a free app available only the iPad that allows you to upload photos from your phone, Flickr, Dropbox, or Instagram and create a visually stunning story that you can share with your friends or social networks.
Why we love it: The writer’s life is as much about experiencing life as it is writing about it. We like this app because it allows you to tell the story of your life in a captivating manner that can actually inspire your writing. Live it, see it, and then write about it.
What is it? This app is available on desktop or mobile and is designed to focus the writer by taking away the distractions often associated with an Internet-connected device. It turns the background into a simple color and even plays soothing audio to keep you focused on your words.
Why we love it: Writing in the modern age means using a computer and if one is not careful, their workday will quickly turn into a binge of YouTube videos. This is the app to keep you calm, focused, and productive towards the joy of writing and nothing else. And the price of this app, is simply whatever donation you think it’s worth.
6. Novel in 30
What is it? Novel in 30 is another app designed to turn your device into a distraction-free writing environment. Available only for the iPad for $4.99, it offers an enhanced keyboard with commonly used keys at your fingertips along with the ability to set milestones and track your progress.
Why we love it: Writing a novel can seem like an endless process without a little encouragement to remind you that you are indeed getting somewhere. We like that this app takes the clutter off your iPad and keeps you focused so that you can join the ranks of the elite who can honestly say they finished their novel.
What is it? For a writer, time is money and the longer a project takes the less money you can often make. Dragon Software works as a voice recognition service which translates your voice into text. Available on Android and the iPad, the app is free while a subscription service is often required.
Why we love it: We love it because it works. Not only does it allow you to complete a document up to 5 times faster, it learns the more you use it reducing mistakes and time. In addition, this mobile app allows you to dictate on the go and take advantage of inspiration wherever it may strike.
8. Self Control
What is it? Let’s face it, Facebook and YouTube can be the deathblow to a writer’s productivity and sometimes we need a little help. In walks the self-control app which blocks Internet access to some of your most distracting favorite websites for a period of time.
Why we love it: You can’t just get away with trying to unblock it. This is some serious software that truly holds you accountable to spending time writing and not on cute kitten videos. Available on the Mac, it’s an open source application ready for you to use today.
What is it? Visual Einstein is a free app available on most systems that allows you to store information, notes, and items relevant to your project. The layout allows for quick retrieval ensuring your time is spent writing, rather than searching through folders trying to find your research from last month.
Why we love it: We love this app because the more you write the more information you accumulate and before you know it, your writing platform can become the equivalent of a hoarder’s house lodging 30 cats and two-week-old pizza. Visual Einstein fights the clutter for you.
What is it? Available only on the Apple platforms, Notability turns your device into the perfect note taking tool. Enabling you to take notes, sketch ideas, mark photos and PDFs, for $5.99 this app is well worth the return in productivity.
Why we love it: Particularly when working on a smartphone, it can be difficult to take notes and store the data in an easily retrievable manner. This app takes care that for you and we think it is the perfect tool for staying productive while you are on the go.
11. AP Stylebook
What is it? Considered the Journalist’s Bible, the AP stylebook serves as your go-to resource for proper formatting according to AP style. Available on iOS systems for a variety of pricing options, this app is a must-have for those who frequently use the ever so specific AP guidelines.
Why we love it: Some clients of a writer are not very specific on style, but when you see the request for AP you know they mean it. And since we all can’t all have our favorite writing professors in our pocket, we might as well have the next best thing.
12. Hanx Writer
What is it? A fantastic app for the old-school writer, this free app designed by Tom Hanks turns any iOS system into a good old-fashioned typewriter. You’ll hear the rhythm and clank of metal and ink banging together in a soothing rhythm without sacrificing the modern luxuries of your updated platform.
Why we love it: People are creatures of habit and writers all the more so. We like that this app is designed for a specific audience who might feel left out of modern advances. Have your cake and eat it too with his old-school themed app. Plus, it just sounds really cool when you type.
What is it? This one might seem simple enough, but, believe it or not, many writers have fallen into the trap of giving up on the old-school dictionary and turning to Wikipedia. Available on the iPhone or android, this app gives you reputable information at your fingertips at a moment’s notice without having to query the web.
Why we love it: We like that you can speak a word or type it and quickly find its definition, synonyms, and root words. Quick and easy use, it will even pronounce the word for you if you ask it. Authority definitions on the go are about as good as it gets for a writer.
What is it? More than just a note-taking device, this app serves as a personal diary to remember not only the events of the day but the moods and images that inspired your soul. Available for $2.99 on any iOS device, this is the perfect app for the reflective and nostalgic writer.
Why we love it: We like this app because it is designed to catch emotion and not just events. And when you add the ability to upload an image along with it, it truly takes you back to the moment on any given day. Easy to use and truly able to capture your wonderful days.
15. Textkraft Pocket
What is it? Available for $4.99 on Apple platforms, this app serves as a document organizer for projects as well as a professional writing app putting key tools at your disposal. It brings with it an extended off-line dictionary with synonyms and built-in online references to help you with your word choice.
Why we love it: We like how easy it is to swipe back and forth from one document to the other as well as the ability to access some tools off-line. It really is the ideal app for writers who spend much of their time on the go and you won’t be disappointed with this purchase.
What is it? Another app for journaling, the Momento diary\Journal provides an excellent platform to capture and tell your life story. Available for $1.99 at the Apple App Store, you will be able to store notes, photos, videos, places, and people while sharing them with your various social platforms if you choose.
Why we love it: Many writers claim that journaling can be an essential tool for later inspiration, but it seems few rarely have the time for it. We like this app because it allows writers to do just that on the go and save the greatest moments for when they need the inspiration most.
17. Ulysses III
What is it? A heftier app than most, Ulysses III is a full production writing tool for your Mac or iPad. It allows you to write, edit, store, and publish with relative ease and with the assistance of all the tools a writer would need. If you love to write on the Mac or iPad, you are going to want to explore this app.
Why we love it: This app comes in at a price of $44.99 for the Mac version and $19.99 for the iPad version, but we love it because you get your money’s worth. Serious writers often require serious tools, and make no mistake about it, Ulysses III is serious about what it does.
18. Byword 2
What is it? Another app hard to call just an app, Byword 2 was built for the Mac or iPad and allows you to write, sync, and publish documents with ease. The price tag for this app comes in higher than many at $11.99 for the Mac and $5.99 for the iPad, but we think it’s well worth it and a great value for what you get.
Why we love it: Publishing a document while on the go can be quite difficult and if your writing centers around catching the trending news, then you don’t have time to waste. We like the export and publish feature that allows you to put out your content in just about any format with the most popular web platforms.
What is it? TinyWord is a lightweight writing platform that allows you to write easily on the go with just enough tools to make it happen minus all the distractions. For the current price of $7.99 at the Apple App Store, this is the simple no nonsense tool that gives you all the common editing tools along with word count and font control.
Why we love it: Writing on the go is not as easy as it seems, but the average writer will tell you that out in the field of life is where inspiration often strikes. We like that you don’t have to jot your thoughts down on a napkin to capture some of life’s greatest moments as they happen.
What is it? Pages for Mac is a word processor designed for the creative spirit who also needs powerful publishing tools to create gorgeous documents in the end. It allows you to work with multiple documents at once and gives you quick access to graphics and writing tools to enhance your work.
Why we love it: This app is available for $19.99 at the Mac App Store, but we like that it syncs up with your other iOS platforms empowering iPad or iPhone to get the very same work done on the go.
21. Day One 2
What is it? Day One gives you the power to quickly capture the day’s events with multiple photos into a beautiful journaling format and sync them up to the cloud. Available on the iOS systems, it will cost you $4.99 for the iPhone version and $19.99 for the Mac. But if you believe journaling is important to the writer’s soul, it’s worth every penny spent.
Why we love it: We like that this app lives true to its name and tagline which simply says it allows you to capture life as you live it. One day at a time, with memories permanently available for your retrieval, this journaling app is as good as it gets.
What is it? A fantastic note-taking app available on any iOS system, NoteFile allows you to take quick notes at a moment’s notice while syncing them up to the cloud. Its features allow you to quickly search and access previous notes and even use math to calculate figures right in the app.
Why we love it: The price of $4.99 makes this app one of the more reliable and affordable for purchase apps designed to take notes. Every thesis writer is a little different in how they organize their thoughts, but NoteFile seems to be a no-nonsense one size fits all app for the frequent note taker.
23. Brain Wave
What is it? Brain Wave is a unique app that doesn’t just play music to set the mood, but actually sends out composite binaural frequencies designed to stimulate the brain towards various outcomes such as motivation or positivity. Available for purchase at the App Store, the price of $3.99 could be well worth the enhanced ability to focus and relax.
Why we love it: We like this app because even if you are one of those writers who claims music is a distraction, you probably have never tried composite binaural frequencies. We tried it, we liked it, and we think it works. Writing is a game of emotion so let a little science unlock it and then write.
What is it? Finally, an app available on both Android and the iPhone, this app provides guided meditation with the intent to help you beat insomnia and get a full nights sleep. This app provides you not only with instructional guides but with repeated therapy controls designed to give you control over the full experience.
Why we love it: We like it because if you have trouble sleeping due to a busy mind, we are pretty sure you wind up spending more than $2.99 on a variety of other products to include medicinal. A good nights sleep is essential to a creative mind and if you find yourself struggling, this app is worth a shot.
What is it? Mindnode is beautiful brainstorming in action. With this app, you and can map out your ideas and add photos and notes as your inspiration branches out into an actionable piece of work. Available for $9.99 at the app store or $29.99 for the Mac version, this program brings creativity to a higher level.
Why we love it: We like that this visually stunning and yet practical at the same time. For writer who might have an idea at lunch and yet no time to follow it, they can just start a note and then day after day add to it as inspiration strikes.
What is it? Storyist is an app for the serious author who needs to interact with their content at a high level while on the go. Available for $14.99 through Apple, this app allows you to organize what you’ve already written and display them in a clean format to enhance the creative process.
Why we love it: We liked that this app comes with a variety of manuscript and screenplay templates giving it a pretty high functioning level for the mobile platform. More than just a note-taking app, this is one where you can put together a serious manuscript like a pro on the go.
27. PDF Expert 5
What is it? Few things are more frustrating than receiving a PDF file on your mobile device and being able to do nothing but merely read it. PDF Expert 5 allows you to enter PDF fields, edit documents (great for the final proofreading stage), and even export them to other file types all while on your mobile device.
Why we love it: We think that $9.99 is a small price to pay to have professional flexibility on your mobile device to interact with the PDF document preferred by many in the industry. It’s just one small step to bring the office to your mobile device and help you live the free writer’s lifestyle that you so desire.
What is it? Inkwell is a pretty straightforward app available for $3.99 from Apple that allows you to take notes while you work out of the office and seamlessly sync them up to Dropbox for storage and easy retrieval.
Why we love it: In addition to the storage and note-taking capabilities, this app makes writing on the iPad a less cumbersome and a lot more pleasant. That’s a simple uncluttered interface along with the basic tools such as word count, paragraph count and more that you need to track your progress.
29. Story Tracker
What is it? This app is available from Apple and for $9.99, Story Tracker will allow to organize and track your writing submissions to various editors or publications. It allows to take notes about each submission and save requirements that might change from one publication to the next.
Why we love it: We like this app because a writer’s time is meant to be spent writing and not tracking down documents or submissions. This app is like having your own virtual assistant in your pocket that does the grunt work for you.
30. Agent Obvious
What is it? A database of advice from an editor and literary agent that might give you all in a searchable database. It’s a free app available on the iPhone platform, it really does provide helpful tips and encouragement for the tough grind that is the writer’s life.
Why we love it: We like this app because not only is it helpful, but it is absolutely hilarious. The pithy advice offered is like having an agent who is also your best friend and unafraid to tell you the truth.
31. Pomodoro Time
What is it? The Pomodoro system from productivity relies on timed sessions of productivity and small resting breaks. This app takes care of the timing and tracking process for you. Then it gives you the data on your day so that you can set goals and measure progress.
Why we love it: Free and designed for Apple platforms, we like that this simple app truly does increase your productivity. For a writer, the small breaks in the Pomodoro system can be the difference between inspiration and burnout.
What is it? The Workbook app ties in with Workbook software which serves as one stop shop for organizing business processes. The app itself is free, but a variety of purchase options are available for the Workbook software. It looks like Workbook only offers the app for the iPhone at this time.
Why we love it: We like this app primarily for its ability to organize and record time spent on projects for a multitude of clients. The timesheet options are excellent for freelance writers who are constantly juggling multiple projects at one time. After all, a writer who forgets to get paid won’t be a writer for long.
33. The Brainstormer
What is it? This app which is available on either android or the iPhone is designed to stimulate a plotline for the author by spinning three separate wheels that provide you the conflict, the setting, and then the subject of the story. Simple brainstorming for the short story writer available for $0.99 on Android and $1.99 the iPhone.
Why we love it: We like that this app provides an endless array of plot options. Sometimes all it takes is a spark for the flame of inspiration to burn hot and this app provides that spark. The words have been chosen carefully and have been the building blocks for some of the most amazing stories throughout history.
34. Index Card
What is it? If you are a visual learner, then you will love Index Card. It serves as a corkboard for ideas, storylines, and projects that allow for easy interface and organization. Available on iOS systems for $4.99, it’s a great buy if you frequent an iPad.
Why we love it: We like that it brings order to the creative mind of a writer. Simply jot down your ideas and add a photo if you like then organize your thoughts like a puzzle into the perfect story. You can even search previous notes and pull from other boards as well.
What is it? Goodreader is a PDF reader, annotator, and file manager for the iPhone and iPad available for $4.99. With this app, you have the ability to sign PDF documents, mark up notes on them, and then easily save your annotated versions for later use.
Why we love it: We love this app because it makes handling PDF files a breeze when on the go. No more limitations on what you can accomplish and putting off tasks until you return to the office. If you are a writer, you are the office and you should be able to work wherever you see fit.
What is it? Specifically designed for the creative writer, this app offers a seemingly endless array of lists and creative prompts to help brainstorm your story. It offers potential character names, locations, occupations, obsessions, and even plot lines themselves. This app is available for $2.99 on either Android or the iPhone.
Why we love it: The depth of this app is amazing. It really allows you to dig deep into the creative process down to the personalities and physical traits of the character. It doesn’t write the story for you, but it comes pretty close to the point you feel like you have to give the app credit as a co-author.
37. iA Writer
What is it? This is another meaty writing app that is designed to make the writing process more focused and productive. It is available for the Mac for $9.99, but if you make your living as a writer you will find it a worthy purchase. It takes away the clutter of your device and ensures you focus solely on your words.
Why we love it: One of the aspects we liked most about this app was that you could literally format it so that you are focusing on one sentence at a time or even different parts of speech. If you are a writer who deliberates at length on every chosen word, you will dig this program.
What is it? Asking what this app is not might be an easier question. Evernote does it all from taking notes, to organizing your digital workspace, and serving as your digital assistant. The app itself is free on any mobile platform, but there are advanced and premium subscriptions available for purchase.
Why we love it: Evernote is one of the most complete apps for productivity we have seen. Writing for a living can be difficult when half your time is being spent on logistics rather than writing. If this app allows you to write one more paid article a year, then you more than cover the cost of the premium annual subscription.
What is it? This was designed specifically for the creative writer and operates the way most writers think. It gives you full control over the word processor for editing and it then links you up with your storyboard so that you can structure the project in a creative manner without having to think linear.
Why we love it: We love this app because it is a full word processor designed to get the writer through the dreaded first draft. Available for $44.99 on the Mac and $40 on Windows, it’s well worth the cost if you are writing lengthy projects and your mind simply doesn’t operate the way Bill Gates and Microsoft Word thinks it should.
What is it? This is a pretty simple plain text editor for iOS that gives you an enhanced keyboard allowing for a better writing process while mobile. It is available for $9.99, but it is extremely effective at making your mobile device nearly as conducive to writing as your full computer or laptop.
Why we love it: This app comes with an in-app browser which means you don’t to exit the app if you need to do some research in the middle of your writing process. If you are a writer, the iPhone or iPad simply was not build with you in mind, but this app bridges that gap between writer and machine.
What is it? Most people know Dropbox as the versatile file storage and sharing platform used commonly in the cloud age of the internet. The apps associated with Dropbox simply add more functionality to it while you are on your mobile device. It is available for pretty much every mobile platform for free although you still have to have your subscription Dropbox account.
Why we love it: Your phone’s storage is supposed to be filled up with funny videos of your children, not your writing. We like that this app makes interacting with your online files easier for a mobile device and if you use Dropbox and are not working with the app, then you are missing out.
What is it? Available on either Android or the iPhone, Mindly is a free brainstorming app that allows you to map out your idea for a script, article, or even speech. It allows you to take notes, attach images to them, and export them to other formats when needed.
Why we love it: We like the flow of his app and how it suits the writer’s creative process. A story requires a map more than a set of directions and this app seems to understand that and lay it out in a beautiful format right in front of you.
43. Creative Writer
What is it? Designed specifically for the writer, this app assists the writer by offering words, sentences, and suggestions from some of the most beloved texts in history. It comes with a dictionary and a functional notepad where you can save your sentence creations for later use. This app is available for $1.99 at the app store.
Why we love it: This app really does almost feel like a game as you piece words and phrases together. It turns the creative writing process into feeling more like fun than work. So if you struggling with writer’s block, this is an excellent option to blow off steam and get a little work done at the same time.
What is it? The Trello apps work for any platform and are available for free to use with your Trello account. Trello gives you the opportunity to organize a project and also work as a team by assigning tasks and moving notes from one category to the next and the apps are essential if you typically operate on the go.
Why we love it: While writing is considered a solo effort by many, the truth is that many publications, blogs, and websites are actually a team effort. Rather than get bogged down into email, we like that his provides an office corkboard of sorts for the team to use and communicate.
45. Writing Aid
What is it? Words matter to a writer and the Writing Aid app helps you find the perfect word. It is available on the iPhone for $0.99 and places a dictionary, synonym resource, and even the ability to search a meaning or sentiment that the app when then produce the word for you.
Why we love it: The meaning search is probably our favorite part about this app. To be able to type a mood or sentiment and then have it return a list of words for you is a priceless tool for a writer. You will never be at a loss for the right words with this app.
What is it? JotterPad is a creative writing app available for free on the Android platform. It has a minimalistic feel about that takes away the distractions from your device and simply allows you to focus on shaping your thought into powerful words.
Why we love it: We like the extended keyboard that comes with this app which makes it more suitable for writing long scripts and text. Whoever designed the default keyboard for mobile device seemed to care more about the 13-year-old girl texting her friends than the professional writer who might need to get a little work done on the go.
47. Drafts 4
What is it? This app allows you to type and capture text on a mobile device without getting stuck in 3rd party web applications. It provides an enhanced keyboard and clean interface which make typing longer notes and complicated text a little easier. For $9.99, this little app makes the writer’s life on an iPhone or iPad a little less complicated.
Why we love it: The social functions of his app are pretty cool as you can just type text into the app and then have it post to Facebook, Twitter, or email with the touch of a button. If you are working on a social message, you can save it as a draft and then post it when you are ready.
What is it? Available for $1.99 at the app store, this simply named app is the perfect writing tool for you iPhone. It gives you an advanced keyboard with writing shortcuts and the ability to share files with the iCloud and Dropbox seamlessly.
Why we love it: This app takes the default note taking platform that typically comes with the iPhone and makes it look like child’s play. For the price, Write is one of the cheapest options for enhancing productivity if you write and take notes frequently while out on the go.
49. OmniOutliner 2
What is it? This app starts with a blank page, but as you begin to collect your thoughts, it gives you the tools you need to organize them in an efficient manner with a logical workflow. You can move notes or columns with the swipe of a finger and even share it with others if you need additional input. It does cost $29.99 for both the iPhone and iPad, but the organization it will bring to your mobile device is worth it.
Why we love it: We like this app because it not only simulates what all writers start with, i.e. a blank page, but it then allows you to creatively work out from that page while adding links, notes, and outlines as you develop them.
50. Write or Die
What is it? This app is the hard-nosed boss you need to stay productive as a writer. Available for $9.99 on the Apple platforms, you set the goal as to how much writing you want to get done and Write or Die tracks your progress. Should you fail, you will have a hilarious and sometimes painful consequence dished out by this app.
Why we love it: Aside from being absolutely hilarious, this app actually provides some much-needed accountability for the freelance or self-employed writer. Many left their day jobs to avoid a boss like this app, but if your kids like eating every day and not just some, you might want to keep a check on that productivity.
What is it? This is not a website, but an app that places all the powerful tools of an online dictionary right on your iPad for $4.99. It offers a thesaurus along with over 2 million definitions, synonyms, and antonyms. In addition, you will get audio pronunciation along with popular and trending searches. Perfect when it’s thesis proofreading time.
Why we love it: Just searching the internet for the meaning of a word can be a dangerous task and we love the authority this app brings with it. And the coolest part is that you also get slang, medical, and science definitions along with it.
52. Monospace Writer
What is it? Available for your Android device for free, this is a minimalistic writing app that takes the background out of your phone and replaces it with simple font and text. You have the ability to mark bold, italics, and quote formats along with the functionality of setting different subheads.
Why we love it: This is a cool app for the person who just needs to remove the clutter and write. Just because you are not in the office doesn’t mean you can’t be productive as a writer and simple apps like this one make it possible.
53. Microsoft Word
What is it? As much as the avid writer might hate it, Microsoft Word is here to stay. This free app available for Android or iOS makes it a little less painful by increasing the mobile functions of Word. It is easier to edit, share, and save documents with this app and if you must interact with Word on a mobile device, it just seems silly to do it outside of this app.
Why we love it: We like that this app is, at least, trying to get better since so many in the world of writing will never let go of Microsoft Word. Consider this app the clothespin for your nose when you must deal with the trash.
54. Writing Kit
What is it? This is a pretty no-nonsense app that allows you to write, research, and edit documents or screenplays in a simplistic format on the iPad or iPhone. It is available for $4.99 and adds a little more functionality to your writing while on the go.
Why we love it: We like this app because it makes writing code a little easier with some of its built-in functions. You can add snippets of code and even HTML export, but you can definitely tell this app was built with the serious writer in mind who need to complete work while mobile.
What is it? This app is free and available for Windows PCs. It serves as a sketchbook for the creation of a novel and helps you organize your story by breaking it into chapters and scenes. If you have been kicking around the idea of a novel for quite some time, kick it around in this app and watch it take you further down the road than you previously thought possible.
Why we love it: There are meatier novel apps out there, but we like that this one is free. Designed by Simon Haynes – an experienced programmer and a published author, yWriter6 is guaranteed to offer great help to writers across the world, especially first-timers.