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!


  1. Ah, if only I had an iphone. Great post, I'm sure many will be able to hunt these down and then some use out of them. Woo-Hoo for technology! -Rachel Firasek

  2. I really, really need an iPhone. Not sure why I still fight it...

  3. I absolutely love my iPhone! I had a Blackberry for several years, and I have to say, the iPhone is much easier to use. The BB used to be touted as the "business" phone, but I think there are probably more productivity apps on iPhone these days.

  4. Hi Jen,

    This is an awesome post! I'd love to download wrimodemon before November. Never thought about writing apps on a phone. Mmmm


  5. Great post, Jen! I love my iPod touch, which is similar to the iPhone. Thanks to you, I have a couple new apps to add.

    Also, another free, must-have app is iBooks so I can read PDF-formatted books, like the CMP review copies.

  6. Great post! I'd love to have an iphone I need a better income LOL. I'm keeping this page bookmarked and sending it to my writing partner who has all the cool gadgets :) New follower btw if you'd like to visit my blog it's

  7. Excellent post! I'm going to start with the White Noise app and slowly experiment my way through the rest. Love my iPhone, too!

  8. Wow- great round-up, Jennifer Wells-Marani. Makes me wish I’d gotten an iPhone instead of a Blackberry. I love using app on iPhone as it is very much required for me if I would've got an iPhone. Thanks for Sharing these apps for writers. Love this blog.