24 June 2011

Top iPhone Apps for Writers

These days I am probably on my latest gadget (the iPhone 4) way more than I actually should be on it. So, I decided one day to seek out apps that allows me to be productive with my writing, yet still have my cell phone near me, without guilt.

App # 1

A Novel Idea is an app I sort of discovered by sheer accident. I love finding great freebie apps, so I absolutely had to give this one a try the second I saw it. I’m a writer, and I love my smart phones, so I knew immediately I was in love.

Going into the app, you will definitely find that it is fairly simple to use, and features sections a lot of writers would want, such as scenes for your story, characters you will feature, and locations you use in the story. Entering into the scenes section, you tap on the plus sign at the top, and you are not only describing the scene, but different specifics in the scene, including characters you want to use.

So, the bad side…Every now and then, the app will crash and so far, that is really the only downside to this app. Luckily, in each instance that it’s happened to me (which hasn’t been often), my work has still been there when I opened it back up.

So, the bottom line…no, this isn’t ideal to fully develop a novel, but the nice thing about the app is that if you are away from your notebook, laptop or whatever place you put your story or novel ideas, this app is a great central location to type in your thoughts.  And it’s much better than jotting an idea down into a notebook that you may lose/not look back to/replace later.

Plus, it’s free!

App # 2

The next app - Rough Guides - World Lens – features incredible photography from all over the world. The company publishes travel guides , and this app reflects fantastic work by their incredible photographers. Since, I am inspired by all forms of creativity, I had to give this app a try.

So, the good…The photography is amazing and I find that most of the pictures can inspire character ideas, location ideas, scenes…you name it.

Okay, so the bad side -- the actual app itself is a bit awkward and I’m not really sure when it’s loading pictures or just acting funky. But, I think that may just be me. We’ll see.

The bottom line…if you are inspired by photography or are a photographer yourself, you may want to check out this app  I usually go for the free apps, so I know that better photography apps may be out there, but I just liked this one for it’s price and it’s unique photography.

App # 3

Okay, so, lately I have been really wanting to stay to my writing goal – 500 words a day. In all honesty though, I really didn’t think I’d want to bother with a word count goal until I came across Write Chain. This is a very simple app with one important feature…you input a word count goal that you would like to reach per day and how many days you allow yourself to skip (say, writing every day or writing every two days, or something like that) and you start the “chain” the second you type in your word count of the day.

Most importantly the app does not want you to “break the chain.” Today, I finally put in my word count of the day and it told me at the bottom I have a total of 1,256 words (I just started it today…so, I had a productive morning). The app itself is a great way to feel good about how productive you are with your writing. I’m interested to know whether there will be a notification to tell me that I missed a writing day or something, so I’ll let you know about that one.

Cons? None really! The bottom line is to give this one a try. Easy app to use and a great way of keeping your writing goals.

App # 4

Do you know the idea generator/organizer activity called “Mind Mapping”? Sure you do! It’s when you draw a bubble with an idea or thought inside and you make other thought bubbles that link to that idea. Great, right? Well, there’s an app for it.

Total Recall is now here for you and your mind mapping needs! It helps you generate mind maps right there on your cell phone, and you are able to send it to yourself for later use.  Plus, the other good thing about it is the fact that it’s free. Free is good.

So, the bad – the app crashed on me in the middle of attempting to make another bubble in the mind map and my entire mind map disappeared. I’d like to think that the app will improve later as time goes on, but I know that’s definitely a risk. I like the idea though and encourage you to give it a try. It could have been a fluke…I’m sure of it…

App # 5

Okay, so this definitely is not a free app. I found BlogPress right after I started this blog actually. I even posted my first blog post while using this app! It was a very exciting moment. I can’t think of anything bad to say about this app, so I will say the good stuff.

First, it’s easy to use and it’s very easy to post your pictures, video content, and anything else you may want to post for your blog while using this app. 

Also, it’s not too complicated to set up and for me, I really enjoy it because I find that I am on my cell phone a lot these days…so, I wanted another app that will help me stay productive.

So, according to the last time I downloaded it, it was $2.99. But apparently it’s on sale, originally priced $4.99. I don’t pay attention too closely to whether the prices in these situations do actually go back up, but it’s something to consider.

App # 6

So…need inspiration? Yah, me too. So you know what I found?? Writing Prompts!! Writing Prompts is an app created by writing.com which brings you fun little inspirational…yup, you guessed it – writing prompts. For example, the scene prompts will give you a place, character, object, and mood (the one I just got says – place: Las Vegas, NV; character: a restaurant maitre d’; object: a dropped ceiling tile; mood: wary…ah, I can feel my creative mind just going!). You can also get a bunch other type of fun prompts that will inspire you.

The bad? I paid only $1.99 for it. So if you are wary about paying for apps, that’s the only downside. The other downside is that you also have to pay for more prompts if you need more (they boast about having over “250 scene elements, 60 sketches, and 10 colors, free) but if you want additional scenes and others, you have to pay $0.99 for each pack (appears to be 250 a pack, so that’s not too bad)…

And last, but not least…ah, it’s so exciting…

App # 7

Okay, I couldn’t help but include this app on my list. It’s probably one of my most inspirational apps – Pandora.  I know, I know, a lot of people are using Pandora these days, but I just had to include it. For those of you who don’t know, Pandora is a station where you type in a song you like and it gives you songs similar to it, making it a “station.”

I love music that makes me think of stories or books I am writing. These days I am writing something with a horror element to it, so I found the station “"Halloween Theme (Main Title) Radio” and also “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Those are perfect for the creepy element to my book. On the other hand, for stations to just get my brain to settle, I found that “Boadicea by Enya” is a great station to calm myself. Or, if I need a more familiar storytelling feel to the music, I listen to "Film Scores Radio” and it gives me music from all sorts of movies.

Bad? Only that it freezes and crashes sometimes. But really not that much, I promise. And it’s free.

That’s my list! I know, I know…it wasn’t very creative or inspiring, but I hope you get inspired by these great apps that I did find.

Are there any apps that you enjoy? Please share!

Happy reading! Happy writing!


  1. I totally love the idea of the writing chain and Pandora. Unfortunately, I don't have an iPhone or any modern technology, and this makes me totally jealous! I'm trying to write 1,000 words per week on my microsoft documents, and it's not working out very well. I really need inspiration, and the photography thing was something I wish to check out . :D I'm sticking to the radio, the internet (which is crashing every second here), and my own little small mind :D

  2. @ Kat: Well, I couldn't find writing chain online, but I know for sure that Pandora is! :) And so is the photography thing (they have a website!!)

    Anyways...sometimes technology can get in the way of us writing. :)

  3. These are great-sounding apps. I'm going to check each one out to see which work for me. What did we writers do be4 iPhones? : - >


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