Five apps for writers that I love (and you will too)

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At the beginning of December, my iPad became my sole computer.  As a teacher, I’m given a computer through school and as I was leaving one school and starting at another, there was a gap between the two contracts where I didn’t have a laptop.  I decided that rather than purchase a new one for personal use, I would try using my iPad as my primary (and only!) device.  I’d be lying if I said that it was an easy switch.  At first I was frustrated by the things that I couldn’t do on my iPad that I was used to being able to do on my laptop.  Install fonts, is one example.  Or install anything that wasn’t an Apple app is another.  But slowly I came around to enjoy using my iPad on a daily basis, rather than just once or twice a week.

Today I thought I’d share with you five apps that made my life easier as a writer working just on an iPad.

1. Pages ($10.99)

This one is a bit of a no-brainer really.  It is the word processing app for all Apple devices and it is one of the easier apps to use as you don’t lose too many features from the desktop version to the iPad version.  You’re able to open documents from Dropbox which is also great, as not every app will let you do this, and I like that I am able to email the most recent draft to myself as a back-up too.  Very intuitive and visual to use.

2. Notability ($1.99)

As a teacher, I was introduced to this app at a professional learning session as something that could be used in the classroom.  I’ve found that I get just as much use out of it as a writer because I can either type into it or take notes using my finger to write (or a stylus pen – which I recommend you hunt down.  They’re only around $20 and make using this app and many others a treat!)  It is a great way to organise your notes and ideas as you can add images, highlight, change the type of paper you are writing on, colour coordinate and even record sound.  It is just brilliant.

3. WordPress (Free)

Although I usually prefer to write my blog posts directly into the web browser version of WordPress, I do like the WordPress app for publishing posts from my iPad when I’m away from my desk.  It is really just a simplified version of the online version (like so many other apps) and it is a handy tool to have if blogging is part of your author platform.  I tend to write into it and publish, then when I get home, I’ll check it over on my laptop and add things like images or more complex formatting.

4. Kindle (Free)

I used to think that I would never fully embrace the e-Book, but that was before I found Amazon’s Kindle app!  I love it because it means that I don’t need to carry around an additional device with me (such as a Kindle) to be able to read.  I often carry my iPhone (with the Kindle App) and/or my iPad (with the Kindle App) and the books I buy appear on both. The two automatically sync as well, so that if I’m halfway through a book on my iPad and then I decide to read on my iPhone (say, if I’m waiting for the train), my iPhone will know where I’m up to.  If you don’t have a Kindle, but would like to get into e-Books this is a great free alternative.  And great readers make great writers, right?

5. Dropbox (Free)

Of all of the apps I’m talking about today, Dropbox is probably my favourite.  It is a pretty simple concept – you sign-up for Dropbox and get 2GB of storage for free.  You then install Dropbox onto any of the computers that you use (mine is on my MacBook and my iPad) and you can then save any documents, photos, etc straight into your Dropbox, just like any other folder on your computer. The Dropbox is constantly syncing and updating, which means that you can access any of your files on any computer that you have Dropbox installed on, plus you can also access all of your files via their website. I love it because if I’m out and about with my iPad (say writing at my local cafe in the vicinity of a nice hot chai), I can access the files that I may have been using the day before to plan my blog posts or get the most up to date draft of a new story I’m working on without actually having to transfer any files.  I still back my files up on a hard drive from time to time but it is nice knowing that my Dropbox files are also backed up online.

The best thing about these apps, Pages aside, is that they are free or low cost. You could even just use Notability alone instead of also buying Pages if you are on a tight budget.  (And, strangely enough, they are all a pretty blue colour. I wonder if there is some theory behind blue being associated with writing!)

So, have you tried any of these apps?  Or do you have other apps that you love using as a writer?  Let me know below!

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2 thoughts on “Five apps for writers that I love (and you will too)

  1. I’ve used Dropbox and the Kindle app…and along the latter lines, I wanted to give a shout here for the Nook and Kobo apps. No matter which store provides your ebooks, you can have them with you everywhere when you don’t want to carry a tablet and reader. Although sometimes I prefer tossing the Nook tablet in my purse–it’s smaller and lighter and a bit more optimized for actual reading.

  2. I’m probably just too technophobic to see its advantages, but to me Pages is one big pain in the neck. I have a MacBook (which I often wish I’d never bought) and when i write things in Pages and try to send them to other people as attachments, they can’t open them unless they also have Pages – whereas I should think that 99% of the people I know have Windows. I have to resort to converting the Pages documents into PDF to enable people to read them.

    I also find the filing system on Pages very obtuse. I’m always losing things.

    As I said, it’s probably just me….

    Rosemary

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