Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Favorite iPhone Apps for Writers

Okay, I admit it: I’m totally obsessed with my new iPhone! I ordered it the first moment it was available for my network, and I’ve had it in my hands for about 7 weeks. Right now, I have 68 apps on it.

The amount of apps available is staggering! I’ve found that it can be daunting to wade through pages and pages of them with variations of the same function. How do you choose? My best resource for apps has become my friends, who recommended some of my favorites: Star Walk, the beautiful astronomy app that allows you to point your phone at the sky and identify constellations, planets, and satellites while giving you information about all of it (totally worth $2.99); and Words with Friends is a Scrabble-like game that allows you to play a round with your friends whenever you have a spare moment (free!).

Recently I’ve been seeking out apps for writers. I honestly don’t know what has taken me so long to do it. Maybe it was too many hours spent playing Angry Birds that distracted me from finding useful, productive apps.

With so many programs available, it’s easy to find good ones for writers! Of course there are some that suck too, and others that are just plain expensive. Did I mention I’m a big fan of free? If the app warrants it, though, I don’t mind paying for it. So here are a few that I’m using right now, and if they’re not free, I think they’re worth the price.

Wikipanion (free) – This streamlined version of Wikipedia is a great research tool.

Kindle (free) – Because every writer loves to read!

Dragon Dictation (free) – I’m somewhat skeptical about dictation programs because they tend to make mistakes. This one has a couple of features that makes it worth trying out. It’s amazingly easy to use, you can edit the resulting text, and it allows you to text message, email, or post to social media sites. Have a brilliant idea about a story line when you’re not in front of the computer? Just dictate and email it to yourself.

WriteChain (free) – Use it to set daily writing goals for yourself.

WriMoDemon (free) – This app helps you keep track of your NaNoWriMo stats. Or have your own WriMo challenge anytime. (free) – A good basic dictionary and thesaurus. It has daily words and writing questions as well as a feature that allows you to look up a word by merely speaking it aloud.

WhiteNoise ($1.99) – I love this one! It has a lot of cool uses, but it’s ideal for background noise to block out neighborhood sounds around you while you’re trying to work. Also, if you’re writing a scene about a storm, for example, combine heavy rain and thunder sounds to put you into your scene.

MyWriting Spot ($2.99) – I can’t see writing an entire book using any app, but this one is perfect for jotting down a scene while you’re on the metro. It has a dictionary and word count feature (so it’s perfect for NaNo!). Once you’re done writing, save it and either email it to yourself or sync with the partner web application.

BlogPress ($2.99) – This works with most of the major blog platforms and social networks. It’s ideal for writing shorter posts when you’re on the go and uploading pictures and videos.

Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus ($24.99) – I know, I know. You’d probably consider a $3 app, but $25?? Especially considering you can get a thesaurus for your iPhone for free, it begs the question of why you would buy this. I know that’s what I was thinking when my friend, poet Amy Lyre Turner, told me about it. Then I had the chance to play with the app on her phone, and immediately bought it for myself. Why? Because it’s cool and it’s specifically for writers! Of course it gives you synonyms and antonyms, but it has tons of excellent features. My favorites are the examples showing how a word is used in a sentence and the word notes which point out common mistakes and proper usage. Just go check it out in iTunes and see what you think!

Are there other great apps for writers that I’ve missed? Comment and let me know!