While I was up late one night reading the Copyblogger archives (yes, I know I need to get a life), I stumbled across a great post discussing some brilliant writing tips.
The post inspired me to write — but since I was on my iPad at the time, how was I going to capture my brilliant insights on my mobile device?
More and more people are using mobile devices to create content — and thankfully, there are a slew of new apps that make it incredibly easy to write on the go.
Not long ago, I talked about a few ways to use the iPad to get your writing mojo back. I wouldn’t want to leave anyone hanging once they were ready to bust out that next great article, so here we are again with the tools to get the job done.
Here are 8 tools you can use for your own brilliant writing:
Not mentioning this tool would be a sin. It was the very first iPad app to hit the app store (there are now over 32,000). If you use the desktop version of this great Word processor then you will be instantly familiar with the mobile version.
Apple does not leave much out. You get a nice clean writing surface with the ability to go into full-screen mode for distraction-free writing. You also get tables, basic editing tools, image placement, and some really nice templates.
2. Clean Writer
Clean writer is a writing tool for the minimalist. It focuses on simplicity with a zen-like interface. This is a word processor for those who just want to show up and write.
Clean Writer doesn’t bog down your creative genius with lots of features you don’t need; every tool has a simple, useful purpose.
Hats off to the developers for creating something writers can use for under $1. Check out Clean Writer here.
3. My Writing Nook
If you are writing an ebook or a book meant for print, then this is a tool you don’t want to miss. It’s a little different than a simple word processor, because it helps you organize your writing into chapters and has a unique screen layout meant for book writing.
One really nice thing about this app is the work you do on it will be automatically synced with the online version. This means you can work on your book from your desktop, laptop, and/or iPad.
In contrast to Clean Writer, this one has a lot more features. It is definitely meant for the focused writer who is working on a book. You can check out My Writing Nook here.
4. Chapters — Notebooks for Writing
Maybe you haven’t gotten to the writing-an-ebook part. Maybe you’re still brainstorming, taking notes, making sure you don’t lose any valuable ideas. You need a note-taking program
The problem with a lot of the other note programs is that they are unorganized. This app is anything but. It keeps your notes organized in virtual notebooks, which can then be password protected if you choose. It is also full of other useful features, from adding photos to creating PDFs.
5. Chronicle for iPad
Along the same lines as Chapters, this is a tool that actually encourages you to write more. It offers up some pretty compelling ways to immerse yourself in your writing.
The look and feel is that of a regular paper journal, but it’s much more than that. It is a distraction-free way of writing and organizing.
This is a good option for creative types who like to jot down ideas, put all your thoughts together however seems best, or throw out new sentences just to remember them later. If you’re on a flight or waiting for an appointment and you want to jot down some thoughts for your next book or blog post, this is a great way to do it. Check out Chronicle here.
6. Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus
As writers and bloggers, we are well aware of the power of words — but often, the perfect word eludes us. Enter those old standbys: the dictionary and thesaurus.
Here is an app that is both.
The great thing about this tool is that you can use it even while offline. Keep it handy and while you are writing, use it to expand your vocabulary, or get “unstuck” when trying to find just the right word. It definitely helps with brilliant writing.
7. Grammar App HD
There are some great grammar tips here on Copyblogger but what if you don’t have access to Copyblogger? What if you are actually offline?
Scary thought, I know. But it happens.
If you have poor grammar, it’s impossible to produce brilliant writing. Grammar is essential to both clarity and purposeful communication, and you have to know the rules in order to conversationally break them. This app helps you be a more grammatical, less chimp-like writer.
It offers tips, rules, and examples of grammar you can check out while you are writing. It’s a handy app to have in your writer’s toolkit right along with your dictionary and favorite word processor. Check out Grammar App HD here.
8. iA Writer
Have you ever heard that the key to good writing is focus? It’s true.
iA Writer lets you focus without any distractions. In fact, it was designed to eliminate distractions entirely, so nothing stands between you and getting those brilliant sentences onto the page.
iA Writer creates a writing environment that is noise-free with zero distractions. No spelling checkers. No auto-correction. No toolbars. All these features are hidden away and revealed only when you need them.
iA Writer also offers pleasing typography that is easy on the eyes, and has a nice feature called “reading time” which lets you know how long it will take to read your text. This handy little tool also syncs up with your DropBox account if you have one. You can check out iA Writer here.
Making Mobile Writing Happen
All of these apps are great for brilliant writing. But there is one more thing …
If you are going to be building your writer’s toolkit using apps and a mobile device (let’s assume an iPad), then you need to have a good way to actually, you know, write.
While you can train yourself to use touch screens, they’re just not recommended for long periods of composing.
I would recommend that you invest in a keyboard and a stand. There are literally hundreds of products out there but I use the Apple Keyboard Dock and it serves my purpose well. You can also get a Bluetooth keyboard and a separate stand.
What do you have in your mobile writing toolkit? Let us know about your favorites in the comments.
About the Author: Shane uses his Tablet Computer Geeks blog to deliver the latest and best iPad information, including accessory reviews, app reviews, and industry updates. Follow him on Twitter at tc_geeks.