A Truckload of Desktop Apps for Writers

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We don’t often talk about writers on this blog. We don’t mention them enough. That’s about to change. We want to acknowledge them as an incredibly important part of the Envato community.

Tuts+ is run by writers and editors, and the same goes for AppStorm. Tuts+ Premium and the Tuts+ Marketplace have writers galore. Rockable books are written by them. And not only are the FreelanceSwitch articles penned by writers, but there are a large number of freelance writers who follow the blog. Even our marketplace authors write item descriptions and documentation, though they may not always think of themselves as writers.

So we’re about to start a short series of articles for the writers in our community. Though we have mobile devices, most of us are still most productive when writing at our computers. So we’ll start with a roundup of desktop software for writers from AppStorm. Which apps are you most productive with?

Mac Apps

WriteRoom: Distraction Free WritingWriteRoom: Distraction Free Writing

The day to day use of a computer always involves some form of writing. Whilst this may often be a short, snappy task (drafting an email, blog comment or twitter post), there are often times when you find yourself writing a longer piece of work. Plenty of software exists for assisting with word processing, but often creates more distraction than simplicity in its approach.
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Scrivener: A Writer’s Best FriendScrivener: A Writer’s Best Friend

Writing an article, a novel, or a research paper can be a daunting task. Collected information has a way of getting lost amidst dozens of folders, outlining notes vanish mysteriously, and the very thought of starting a large writing project seems paralyzing, especially when sitting in front of the blinking cursor on an empty screen.
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Fraise: A Free, Simple Text Editor for Your MacFraise: A Free, Simple Text Editor for Your Mac

An essential tool for both web and software developers is a text editor. Text editors streamline the process of working with code, and save time by providing shortcuts for repetitive tasks. Text editors are also useful for other web users – for example, they are very handy for tidying up text that has been copied online, before pasting it into a blog or word document.
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Take Control of Your Writing With Scrivener 2.0Take Control of Your Writing With Scrivener 2.0

Scrivener is an application for composing virtually any type of writing. It is the work of Keith Blount, himself a writer who had been unsatisfied with all the writing applications he’d used over the years. He decided to teach himself programming and built his own unique writing tool. I and many other writers are very thankful that he did.
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6 Minimal, Full-Screen Writing Apps for Mac6 Minimal, Full-Screen Writing Apps for Mac

There are so many buttons, windows, and gadgets that can distract you when working at a computer. Have you ever tried to sit down and write something while an icon bounces away in your dock? It’s a frustrating experience. Minimalist, full-screen writing apps are great for keeping these distractions out of the corner of your eye, providing a simple, clear environment where you can let your mind roam free.
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Manage Your Writing Projects with Ulysses 2.0Manage Your Writing Projects with Ulysses 2.0

I am a fiction writer with a (mostly) completed novel, several novels in progress, dozens of short stories, a couple of screenplays, and a million sketches for future projects. I am also a marketing specialist who writes white papers, brochures, and websites, and an academic who drafts long articles, essays, and reviews. In short, I’m a person who uses advanced writing-software to help me craft and manage complex pieces of writing.
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Macchiato: See Markdown Formatting As You TypeMacchiato: See Markdown Formatting As You Type

Most people have started to cringe at the idea of installing yet another text editor on their computer, especially one that promises distraction-free writing environments and Markdown support. It starts sounding familiar to apps like iA Writer, WriteRoom and Byword.
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30 Truly Useful Mac Apps for Professional Writers30 Truly Useful Mac Apps for Professional Writers

As a full-time professional writer, I’m always on the lookout for utilities that will improve my workflow and help provide a much needed boost in efficiency.

Today we’ll take a look at thirty of the best utilities around to help serious writers in their work. Whether you want a better way to work with Markdown or need something to help you plot out the scenes in your next novel, this roundup has just what you’re looking for.
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Movie Draft Se: a Screenwriting App That Won’t Hurt Your WalletMovie Draft Se: a Screenwriting App That Won’t Hurt Your Wallet

FADE IN on a young writer seated at his desk, his face alight with the joy of inspiration. He scribbles furiously on a notepad, trying to capture the magic of his movie idea. Outside his office window, a full moon prods him on.
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WriteRoom 3 Takes Back the Top Spot in Fullscreen WritingWriteRoom 3 Takes Back the Top Spot in Fullscreen Writing

We last reviewed WriteRoom way back in 2009. It is arguably the app that launched the fullscreen minimal text editor craze that seems at its height right now. In a time when text editing apps were becoming more and more bloated with features in order to stay competitive, WriteRoom was a breath of fresh air making a very convincing argument for what it called “distraction free writing.”
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Launch Write: Native-Looking Minimalistic WritingLaunch Write: Native-Looking Minimalistic Writing

There sure is no shortage of “simple writing” apps for the Mac out there. Just recently we’ve reviewed (and praised) apps like Grandview and Free, and we’ve also had a few roundups where we’ve taken to compare all the options out there in the “distraction-free writing” app field.

Today we’re presenting to you an app that could fit in with any of the mentioned above, but it has a little twist to it: it imitates the look of Mac OS’s Launchpad to create a very cool native-looking app. It’s appropriately called Launch Write; want to check it out?
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iA Writer: Simple, Beautiful Text Editing On Your MaciA Writer: Simple, Beautiful Text Editing On Your Mac

There are already many options available to those of us who’re after simple writing tools. These apps encourage their users to focus in on the evolving text, minimizing distractions by cutting back both on visual clutter (I’m looking at you Microsoft Office) and on informational overload in the form of too many options and tweakable settings. We’ve previously reviewed Byword and Writeroom, as well as running a round-up that added a few alternatives. We also published a discussion piece on whether such apps are necessary, which got some interesting debate going in its comments.
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Keys: Bring Your Typing Up To SpeedKeys: Bring Your Typing Up To Speed

Typing has become as essential to life as writing and reading. It’d be impossible to use most tech products today without any typing skills, and if you use computers for any extended period, you’d better be fast while typing or you’ll quickly get left behind. Accuracy and speed are still crucial skills, even with AutoCorrect and speech detection built into OS X today.
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Grandview: Extremely Simple WritingGrandview: Extremely Simple Writing

Some apps just don’t make sense at first. Grandview was definitely one of those for me. I love writing apps, and own almost every one available for the Mac. Yet, I could never wrap my head around the reason for Grandview.

Until I tried it out today, since its free right now in the App Store. To my amazement, it clicked for me. I’d still say it’s not for everyone, but here’s what I like about Grandview, and why I just wrote this article in it.
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Free Yourself from Writing Distractions with FreeFree Yourself from Writing Distractions with Free

I love writing articles on my Mac. It’s easy, fullscreen mode is convenient, and there are a lot of great apps available for the platform. Overall, the experience is a quality one. But when it comes to choosing what app to write with, I have some trouble. Every month there seems to be a “new” writing app on the Mac App Store that’s really just a reiteration of the existing apps available. I like to remain loyal to a single app, but sometimes it’s fun to explore.
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Windows Apps

Ginger: An Invaluable Tool For WritersGinger: An Invaluable Tool For Writers

As a writer I’m always looking for tools to help make my job easier. Grammar and spelling mistakes are obviously one of the most embarrassing experiences for any writer. And even the best of us make mistakes sometimes. These normally come as accidental and can lead to work not being accepted. After being annoyed by this for months I decided I needed a utility to assist me.
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Clearer Writing with ZenWriterClearer Writing with ZenWriter

Distraction free writing applications provide a minimal, basic writing environment focused on getting everything out of the way so you can focus on your words. They provide an alternative to more traditional program such as Microsoft Office. Instead of trying to provide everything a writer could possibly need, these applications provide few features and little or no formatting options.
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WriteMonkey – A Distraction-Free Word ProcessorWriteMonkey – A Distraction-Free Word Processor

Word processing software has come a long way since the introduction of WordStar in 1978. In fact, modern word processors have evolved to add thousands of more features on top of those humble beginnings. Full WYSIWYG editing, advanced document layouts that give a simple word processor enough power to function as desktop publishing software.
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Web Apps

WordPress 3.2 Brings a New Level of Style to Web WritingWordPress 3.2 Brings a New Level of Style to Web Writing

If you have a blog or write for an online publication, chances are you’ve used WordPress. From the free hosted WordPress.com blogs to customized WordPress.org installs like the ones that power AppStorm and other Envato blogs, WordPress is one web app you see all the time without realizing. In fact, aside from browsers like Chrome and Firefox, it’s one of the few opensource programs that average users love and know about.
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22 Web App Tools For Editors & Writers22 Web App Tools For Editors & Writers

Writing is an interesting career that carries with it a sense of instant gratification. Not all writers and their bosses, editors, are tech savvy, and there’s hardly any reason for them to be. The web 2.0 era has spawned numerous apps that sweeten the task of researching, writing and editing content.

After the break, we’ve put together a list of apps that can bring a new wave of productivity into your life if you’re a riter, blogger or editor.
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Writeboard: Wikis That Actually Make SenseWriteboard: Wikis That Actually Make Sense

Raise your hand if you’ve tried to collaborate with others using a wiki. Most people just don’t get it, do they? Wikis, for the most part, are confusing and slow to edit, and are simply too much hassle for small projects. Wikipedia is the biggest wiki success story, but they’re not the panacea for normal business and educational collaborative writing. The market hasn’t been too rewarding to wiki products, either. PBwiki, a business built around hosted wikis, has been rebranded as PBworks and deemphasizes the wiki part of their product, focusing instead on their project manager and intranet social tools. Even the much hyped Google Wave quickly hit the deadpile after consumers found it too confusing.
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Improve Your Writing With GrammarlyImprove Your Writing With Grammarly

In the introduction to the latest issue of McSweeny’s Quarterly, the editors write, “More widespread and democratic access to education here and around the world means that there are more literate people…and more people reading than at any time in human history. So that’s good news.”

The bad news is that the ability to read a well-written sentence does not translate into the ability to write one. With more of our interaction taking place through emails, text messages, status updates, tweets, blog posts — heck, with more of us having to become writers — there are also more people in need of writing help than any time in human history.

Thankfully, Grammarly can give us that help. For a price.
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Simplenote: The Power of Plain TextSimplenote: The Power of Plain Text

Over the past few months, there’s one web app I’ve increasingly relied on to keep up with everything I need to remember and write down. From blog posts to random to-do lists, the bulk of the things I write are saved in Simplenote. Best known as an iOS app, Simplenote’s elegant web app and the wide variety of 3rd party apps that work with it such as Notational Velocity make it work wherever you want. is one of the best examples of an app that’s gotten more features over time and yet stayed fast and simple.
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Syncing your thoughts with MemonicSyncing your thoughts with Memonic

Prior to getting my iPad, I didn’t have much use for notebook apps. After my computing life went mobile, however, I found myself needing to write things down without having a notepad within reach. And so I got Evernote, the same notebook app used by so many of the bloggers I followed. After a few days, however, I wasn’t happy. Evernote could do all the things I wanted it to, but it didn’t…feel right.

My editor suggested I take a look at Memonic, a notebook app developed by a Swiss startup named Nektoon AG. I said to him the same thing I say to everybody else: if something doesn’t feel right, then it can’t hurt to try the Swiss.
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Typerighter: Typing in your Browser, the Righter WayTyperighter: Typing in your Browser, the Righter Way

Writing from your browser doesn’t have to be difficult, confusing, or cluttered. Actually, writing online should be much simpler, since all you need is a browser and Internet connection, and your writing isn’t tied down to an app or device. If you’re writing in a native app, you’d better remember to sync your files, or otherwise you won’t have your writings anytime you need them.
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TextDrop: An Online Text Editor for Your Dropbox FilesTextDrop: An Online Text Editor for Your Dropbox Files

There’s dozens of writing apps out there, ranging from the basic plain text editors built into your OS to advanced note apps that can store all your text notes, as well as PDFs and a zillion other things. Even if you’re looking for a minimalist writing app, there’s so many right now, it’s hard to choose the best one.
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Quabel: Distraction-Free Writing with GoalsQuabel: Distraction-Free Writing with Goals

If you’re a writer of some sort, you’ll have no doubt come across the often cluttered and distracting interfaces of some word processing applications. But it’s 2012 — web apps are popping up left and right to ensure that we can manage our documents online without having to worry about losing them or endure the slow update process of traditional desktop apps. However, even some of these apps contain over-designed and clunky interfaces that make it near impossible to just sit down and get some writing done. We often see simple, uncluttered writing apps for Macs, so surely there’s a new and better way to write and manage documents online?
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