Using great tools may not automatically make you a great writer, but it’s also hard to write at your best when you’re dissatisfied with your word processor. Maybe the fonts are rendered poorly, or the interface is cluttered with too many distracting options. These are a few of my favorite writing tools for word processing and editing.
Google Docs hasn’t always been my favorite word processor. I’ve always used it to store documents, but there was a time when working from it in real time was next to impossible. There was a delay while typing, for one thing, and the interface was cluttered and distracting with options.
Google has made great updates to this product, however, and it’s now my favorite way to write. All the great options are still there, but they can be hidden from view so you can focus on the words appearing on the screen.
Not to mention the ability to collaborate with others in real time and add comments to documents. A writing buddy could make suggestions without overriding your hard work, or simply insert comments.
Google Docs has a beautiful interface, tons of options, is easy to use, and is free. I couldn’t ask for much more. Perhaps the biggest perk of all is the ability to access it from any Internet-connected device.
Like Google Docs, this Apple and Android friendly app features a clean and minimalist design. In fact, it’s all about said design, and lacks many options to which we have become accustomed in word processors.
The app is $4 for the iPhone, though I seem to remember paying $10 for the version installed on my Macbook Air. It seems to be free on the Play Store, with in-app purchases available.
What makes this app special is its ability to highlight parts of your work. In the screen capture, I have asked it to highlight all the adjectives in the excerpt from Louisa M. Alcott’s Little Women. It can also highlight nouns, verbs, conjugations, and, most importantly, adverbs. If you ever need to know if you’re using too much of something, this app is great for that.
Also, it’s got night mode, as you can see.
Speaking of adverbs, the Hemingway Editor works much in the same way.
This free browser tool gives your work a grade – as in a school grade – for readability. (So, if you receive a Grade 6, the work is easily readable for children as young as the sixth grade.) It also points out use of adverbs, passive voice, difficult sentences, and helps you find a simpler alternative to complicated phrases.
I think it’s a great tool, and usually run my chapters through before putting them up for a critique. It’s great to catch this stuff beforehand so people critiquing your work can focus on helping you with trickier shit than passive voice or purple prose.
If nothing else, it can be enlightening.
Which apps and programs do you love best?