If you’re writing a book – or anything that involves creative, right brain thinking – and want help keeping the left brain editor mind out of the way for a while, you might find one or more of these apps helpful:
The Internet is a useful and fascinating place, but incoming emails, Facebook updates, news sites and even cat videos can easily suck you in. If you find yourself easily distracted sometimes, you can use OmmWriter Dana to help block out the noise and focus on your writing.
OmmWriter Dana is a word-processing application that serves as a virtual writing retreat. The main screen is a simple place to write and it encourages you to stick to the task at hand by only allowing full-screen mode. You can change the experience by choosing different relaxing audio tracks, keyboard sounds and background colors.
The company that sells it says you can set your own price for the software; however, the current minimum allowed is $5.11. OmmWriter Dana is available for PC, Mac and iPad from the website. You can save files as text and PDF.
Scrivener 2 is a word-processing and outlining application that is designed to help writers compose longer pieces like novels, scripts and plays. It has a number of features to help writers organize, write and format their work.
The corkboard lets you create and move virtual index cards around to order your ideas. The outliner can also help you organize your work, such as planning the scenes that make up each chapter.
As your draft evolves, you can use Scrivener 2’s snapshot feature to save your work. At any time you can refer or revert to earlier versions. Scriptwriters and playwrights can choose genre-specific formatting settings.
If you are not sure where to get started, Scrivener 2 includes templates. The application is currently available for Windows and OS X for $40 from the Literature & Latte website. It supports Word, PDF and ePub files, among others.
If rewriting and polishing sometimes get in the way of your overall writing progress, WRITE ONWARD! might help to unleash your first draft. It is a simple full-screen writing application that forces you to write and not look back.
When using WRITE ONWARD! both the delete and backspace keys are disabled. Also, you are not able to edit, select, copy or paste what you have written. Features include keyboard sound effects that simulate a mechanical typewriter.
A trial version of WRITE ONWARD! is available for free for Windows. The full version costs £15 and is available from the website. It works with text files.
Ulysses III is a text editor and document management application for writers. The idea behind it is to allow writers to focus more on content and less on formatting.
Unlike other plain text editors, Ulysses III allows you to add images, annotations, footnotes and links. You can store your writing within the application and can organize them as sheets and folders. Ulysses III is based on text files; however, you can also export them as doc, PDF, ePub and HTML.
Ulysses III is available for Mac for $44.99 and for iPad for $19.99 on the Apple itunes store.
iA Writer Pro is a distraction-free text editor application for writers. It emphasizes simplicity and allows you to just write.
There are no preconfigured settings; you just enable the ones you want. In Focus Mode only the sentence you are working on remains front and center. The surrounding text literally fades into the background. Syntax Control identifies your nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions and conjunctions while Night Mode helps you to write in the dark.
iA Writer Pro works with markdown, but you can also import and export Word document files. It syncs with Dropbox and iCloud. The application costs $19.99 for Mac and $9.99 for iOS, both of which are available from the Apple itunes store. The price is $4.99 for the Android version, which you can get at the Google play store.
StoryMill 4 is a text editor application that includes organizational features. It was designed to help fiction writers create their novels.
You can use the application to write, edit and save your work. The snapshot feature lets you capture your draft at different moments in time and then go back to it when you need to. You can keep track of your research in Storymill and add notes, pictures and tags. For reference, you can organize and access information by character, chapter, scenes and locations. It also has tools to monitor your daily writing goals, writing progress and use of cliches.
StoryMill 4 is available for download on the Mariner Software website for $39.95.