I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for the next best thing. The truth is that I'm easily distracted when it comes to setting aside time to write, which is probably the truth for most of us.
Let me paint the scene: I sit down at my computer and turn it on. I subconsciously open Spotify and play my favorite playlist. I open Google Docs in a tab, and that's when it hits me: it's just my story and me. And it's terrifying! All I want to do is open another tab and check out Facebook or Twitter.
So, I began hunting for writing applications that will not only better hold my attention, but also help hone my writing style. Here are five of the best writing apps I found that will enhance your writing -- and your attention.
What is it?
ProWritingAid is the best free writing app out there. It includes a fantastic grammar checker but also goes way beyond grammar checking to help you improve the style and clarity of your writing. The editing tool analyzes your text and highlights a variety of key writing issues, such as overused words, sentence structure, punctuation issues, repeated phrases, consistency, dialogue, pacing and readability. It helps you learn as you edit, making you a stronger writer.
Has a free trial, and then you can purchase it for various prices depending on how long you want it. Varies from $60 to $210.
Offers a Chrome extension, which is cool!
What is it?
Focus Writer will help to create a quiet atmosphere on your computer, perfect for writing without distractions.
Focus Writer is a lightweight basic text writer, designed to be free of the distractions of complex word processing applications. In full-screen mode, there are no toolbars of windows, just a background and your text - so it can help people writing who need to concentrate
Focus Writer can be windowed or full screen, and the ribbon of buttons at the top appears when you mouse over the area.
Free! It is downloadable onto your Windows computer.
It's a simple writing tool and isn't great for editing.
What is it?
Scrivener is a word-processing program and outliner designed for authors. Scrivener provides a management system for documents, notes and metadata. This allows the user to organize notes, concepts, research and whole documents for easy access and reference.
Offers a free trial, and then it's $40.
Scrivener offers templates for screenplays, fiction, and non-fiction manuscripts. After writing a text, the user may export it for final formatting to a standard word processor, screenwriting software, desktop publishing software, or TeX.
What is it?
Hemingway Editor is a simple word processor and proofreading tool designed for writers. It is a standalone program that can be accessed online or by downloading the desktop version of the app; and helps users write in a simple, clear, and powerful manner. Hemingway Editor detects the presence of adverbs, hard to read sentences, complex words or phrases, and passive voice within a text. Additionally, writers can easily identify all of these because the app uses color codes to highlight issues and common errors in their text.
Free! Offered online and downloadable for your desktop.
Helps improve your writing style, catches adverbs, passive voice, spelling and grammatical errors, and "very hard to read" sentences. Also allows you to directly publish to WordPress, Medium, or any web page.
5. Final Draft
What is it?
Final Draft is a simple, powerful screenwriting software that is the industry standard for professional screenwriters. Final Draft formats your words into Hollywood's rigid screenplay standard, including font, margins and abbreviations.
Free 30-day trial, and then it's $129.99.
Final Draft offers several templates that you can use for not only writing a movie script, but also to write scripts for television shows and stage plays. There are also templates for writing treatments, which are short, narrative summaries of your screenplay, as well as character biographies and more to help you develop your story and characters.
If I were a screenplay writer -- which is on my bucket list, by the way -- I would choose Final Draft, hands down. Formatting alone is a nuisance, so I can only imagine how much sanity this app has saved.
Alas, I'm not a screenplay writer. With that being said, I think the best app in terms of features and cost would go to Scrivener. The best part is that I'm pretty sure NaNoWriMo gives this away to certain winners!
What do you guys think? Have any favorites on this list or any I haven't mentioned? Let us know below or tweet at us!