If you have a WordPress site, chances are you find yourself writing content from time to time. Whether you’re writing this content directly in the WordPress Editor or a desktop tool like Microsoft Word, you may be missing out on a more enjoyable writing experience. For serious writers, a dedicated writing app can offer a much improved content creation process.
In this post, I’ll dig into some of the best desktop writing apps out there. So if a distraction free, writing focused environment sounds good to you, keep reading for the full list.
What Are the Benefits of a Dedicated Writing App?
If you’re serious about content creation, dedicated writing apps can offer some very real benefits over the default editor included with your operating system:
- No distractions – most of these editors offer lightweight, distraction free modes that put the focus squarely on your text.
- Productivity features – most also include things like word count goals/progress, text analysis, and easy markup.
- Specific content types – if you’re a novelist or a screenwriter, you need to be able to better organize and format your longform content. These writing apps can help you do that.
- Easy integrations – most apps offer cloud backup and some even let you publish directly to WordPress.
The 7 Best Writing Apps for Serious Content Creators
In compiling this list, I tried to stick with writing apps that you may not already know. As much as I love Google Docs, it’s not exactly a secret in 2017. So don’t expect to see no-brainers like Word, Pages, or Google Docs on this list.
Instead, I tried to stick with well-reviewed, unique apps that are truly built for serious writers. Whether you’re a blogger, a novelist, or a screenwriter, you should be able to find a tool that works for you.
I’ll also be sure to note those apps which have special integrations with WordPress. For example, a few of these apps let you publish your content directly to WordPress.
Let’s get into it…
Ulysses is the writing app that makes me wish I owned a Mac. From everything I’ve read, it seems like an amazing content creation experience. Ulysses organizes all of your content and then gets out of the way with a distraction free editor full of helpful features like word count goals, simple markup, and more. Best of all, you can publish directly from Ulysses to WordPress.
- Distraction free writing mode
- Easy markup for headers (H2, H3, etc.) and other markup types
- Different color schemes
- Can publish straight to WordPress
- All writing files organized in one library/autosaved
- Word count goals
- Automatic sync to iCloud or Dropbox
Price: $44.99 | More Information
While all types of content creators take advantage of Scrivener, it’s mainly geared towards novelists or other long-form content creators. It helps you with outlining, research, and organization. You can view your research alongside the editor to make citations easy. And if you’re dealing with multiple chapters, you can easily organize them into separate sections.
I do know some bloggers who still enjoy using Scrivener, but generally its feature set is overkill unless you’re creating long-form content.
- Create a digital storyboard with movable cards
- Combine multiple documents into one or separate them for easier organization
- View research right beside the text editor
- Distraction free mode
- Scriptwriting mode for easy script formatting
- Export to various ebook formats
Price: $40 | More Information
FocusWriter is a multi-platform, distraction free writing app. It can help you boost productivity with goal-setting. And you can customize its appearance to find something that’s easy on the eyes. It also has multi-document support and can auto-save your work.
- Distraction free writing
- Can set timers and alarms
- Custom themes
- Goals, e.g. word count target
- Multi-document support
Price: Free | More Information
Fargo is a lightweight tool for simple outlining and note taking. It may not help you completely craft your next longform blog post, but it is a great writing app for jotting down ideas and sketching out outlines. Because it’s an HTML5 app, all you need is a browser to run Fargo. And all of your documents are automatically backed up to Dropbox.
- Hierarchical organizing
- Cloud-based – works on any operating system
- Automatically stores all files in Dropbox
Browser based app – works on any operating system with a supported browser
Price: Free | More Information
WriteMonkey is a lightweight, distraction free editor for Windows. It calls itself “Zenware,” which is a good description for how bare the interface is (that’s a compliment!). But while it’s lightweight, it still includes plenty of handy features like advanced statistics on both word count and word usage, writing goals, auto-save, and easy markup.
- Lightweight – no installation and can run off a USB drive
- Distraction free editing
- Visual progress towards word count
- Easy markup
- Advanced statistics with word count, word frequency, and more.
- Automatic text replacement based on defined keywords
Price: Free | More Information
6. iA Writer
iA Writer is a plain text writing app for Mac OS and mobile. In addition to its stripped-down, writing focused interface, it also includes helpful tools like estimated word counts, Focus Mode, markup, content blocks for images/tables, and more. You can also directly export your content to WordPress.
- Easy markup – no need to leave your keyboard
- Automatically sync between devices
- Export straight to WordPress
- Estimated reading time
- Focus mode dims all text except the current sentence
- Content blocks let you embed images and tables
Price: $9.99 | More Information
7. OmmWriter Dana
OmmWriter Dana is more than just a text editor. It also includes sounds and audio to help create a relaxing writing environment. While OmmWriter is a pleasant experience, it does lack some detailed editing and formatting features. So if you usually need to format your text a good bit, this might not be the editor for you.
- Custom background color schemes to set the mood
- Typing sounds
- Relaxing ambient music
- Basic formatting
Price: Pay what you want | More Information
8. BONUS: Write Or Die
Write or Die isn’t for the faint of heart. Nor is it something you’ll want to use every single time you write. But if you want a writing app that will push you to break through a particularly bad case of writer’s block, then Write or Die is for you.
That’s because, as the name suggests, Write or Die is a writing app that adds some very significant consequences if you procrastinate…like “losing all of your work” consequences.
When you boot up the app, you set your goals and consequences. These consequences range from minor, like a disapproving cat staring at you, to disastrous with Kamikaze mode. In Kamikaze mode, if you fail to reach your goal, your words will be increasing disemvoweled – a cute way of describing a rather catastrophic end result.
If you prefer the carrot over the stick, you can also opt to give yourself rewards for good behavior instead of consequences.
- Set consequences for failing to meet goals
- Set rewards for meeting goals
- Not good for formatting. Just for cranking out words.
Price: $20 | More Information
Wrapping Things Up
I tried to include a variety of different apps. Whether you’re looking for a simple plain text editor, or a detailed app capable of creating screenplays and manuscripts, there should be a tool for you.
But it’s a big wide world out there. So if I missed a writing app that you really love, it would be great if you shared in the comments so that I, and everyone else, can check it out.
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