An iPhone is not just a device for making phone calls, texting, or listening to music. It isn’t just for all that and social networking on the go. With the right apps, an iPhone is a lean, mean writing machine.
As you’ll see below, various apps will help you perform various aspects of writing, from researching to brainstorming, to actually writing, and tracking your work.
This has big implications for you, if you’re a writer (or a blogger) with an iPhone. It means no moment need be idle. No bright idea needs to be forgotten. No snippets of your next, or first, great novel need go unrecorded. Even if it appears in the middle of the night. You can, with your handy, dandy iPhone, capture it.
Don’t have an iPhone? Most of these apps can be used in an iPod Touch and iPad as well. Others have versions for other smart phones, so keep reading.
Much of writing does not wait for inspiration. Rather, it’s fueled by research. Your iphone can help you find information when you need it, and record it for easy reference when you’re ready to write.
- Wikipanion. This is the app that brings Wikipedia to your iPhone. With font size controls and other features, Wikipanion is a much easier and more pleasant way to access Wikipedia than by using your phone’s web browser.
- Evernote. If you already use Evernote on your desktop computer, you’ll expand its usefulness by having it on your iPhone as well. This app syncs with your desktop account, so you can record information on your iPhone then access it later on your desktop.
- Google Mobile. Sure, you can always use Google on your web browser. But then you wouldn’t be able to search by using your voice or pictures. Pretty neat, huh?
- Voice Memos. This app comes preloaded in newer iPhones and allows you to record any audio. It’s perfect for recording audio reminders, snippets of text that come to you when pen and paper aren’t handy, and for many other uses.
- Dragon Dictation. This voice recognition app records your speech and instantly transcribes it. You can then edit then copy and paste into an email or other application. You gotta admit, speaking is faster than typing, especially on the iPhone’s very tiny keyboard.
- Camera. Your iPhone’s camera can help you capture images that inspire you, take pictures of people you interview, or make a visual record of an interesting place or object you want to write about later on. You probably always have your phone with you, which means you’ll never miss a photo opportunity again.
If you need help to brainstorm ideas or topics, you’ve got plenty of apps to choose from:
- Idea Generator. This app is super simple, but it’s ultra useful when you’re brain-dead but have to write. Right now. It generates three random words, which will hopefully get your writing juices flowing. But it doesn’t stop there, you can select the language and customize it other ways.
- Method Cards. This app gives you cards, which you can use to generate ideas, look for inspiration, raise questions, get a different point of view on something… the possibilities are endless (especially if you get the paid app with 51 cards. The free version has only 8 cards)
- Creative Whack Pack. With this app, you get 84 creativity strategies and workshops designed to “stimulate your thinking.” Watch out, you’ve got no excuse for your writer’s block now.
- iStop WritersBlock. If you write fiction, iStop WritersBlock will help you get ideas for plots, plot twists and even characters. It’s even got writing challenges and other features to get you to the last page of your novel.
- Mindjet. I don’t know about you, but mind mapping has become an indispensable writing tool for me. In fact, this post started its life as a mindmap. Mindjet lets you create visual maps on your cellphone so you can map out ideas, outlines for articles and many more.
- iBlue Sky. Another mindmapping software that allows you to, not only brainstorm, but also to plan tasks, analyze, summarize, solve problems and so much more.
- Writing Prompts. Writing.com gives you an app, which generates prompts for anything from words, colors, genres and writing types. Plus, you’ll get access to the 600 creative writing prompts from the site. It also lets you save your favorite prompts.
Your iPhone may be a tiny device, but yes, you can actually write in it! These apps make it easier:
- My Writing Spot. My Writing Spot provides a clutter-free writing environment on your iPhone, so you can write on the go. You’ll also have access to a dictionary and thesaurus, font controls, autosave, and word count.
- Office.2 If you prefer to write using Microsoft Word, Office2 will let you edit your Microsoft Word and Excel documents. It’s also compatible with Google Docs and MobileMe, so you can access your files from your iPhone. You’ll even be able to do text and paragraph formatting.
- Writer’s Studio. With this app, not only can you write, you can create an entire book! Format text, add images and graphics, lay out the pages–even embed music and a voice recording!
- TextGuru. Another app that lets you create and edit documents on your iPhone. It supports all kinds of documents, including HTML! You can even preview web documents. I may not need to sit in front of my desktop to edit sales pages, after all.
- EasyWriter Pro. Made originally for writing emails on your iPhone, EasyWriter Pro gives you a wide keyboard for easier typing. You can also use text clips and autotext to type faster. Spell check increases your accuracy. Its uses don’t have to be limited to emailing.
- Word Count. A simple app for a simple task. Need to know how long your written piece is? Copy and paste it into the app, and it gives you the number of words, characters (with and without spaces), lines, and paragraphs.
Freelancers who are also bloggers need some type of blogging app. I wish there were better options than the ones listed below, but I haven’t found any.
- WordPress. Write and publish blog posts, moderate, edit and reply to comments, add photos to your posts on your WordPress blog. All of that is possible on your iPhone with this app.
- BlogPress. This blogging app supports, not only WordPress, but also Blogger, Movable Type, TypePad, LiveJournal, Drupal, Joomla, tumblr and Squarespace. Aside from writing and publishing posts, you can also insert photos and YouTube videos, and use simple HTML to make links and format your text. It even lets you announce your new posts in your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Good writing is all about using the perfect word to express what you want to convey. These apps will help you do that.
- Dictionary.com. With this free app, you’ll have 1 million words and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms on your fingertips. You’ll also have access to the website’s Dictionary of the Day feature, so you can learn even more words.
- Concise Oxford English Dictionary. When I worked in UNICEF, this dictionary was our deciding authority on how to spell, pronounce and use words. If you rely on it too, you’ll want to have this app.
- WordBook English Dictionary & Thesaurus. WordBook is one of the bestselling dictionary apps on iTunes. It’s a dictionary and thesaurus in one, and also includes pronunciation guides, word links, vocabulary builder, and the ability to supplement its contents with web dictionaries.
- Vocabdaily. If you like Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, then this free app is for you. It pulls the most recent words from the Merriam-Webster site, so you can learn new words, hear the correct pronunciations, and bookmark your favorite ones.
- SAT Vocabulary Builder. You don’t have to be a 12th grader to appreciate this app. This app brings you the most commonly tested vocabulary words on the SAT and ACT exams and gives you four different ways to learn them. This app is designed to help you learn and memorize words quickly.
- Word of the Day. No-muss, no-fuss, you get a new word and its definition every day.
Because we write for a living, it’s imperative that we’re able to write–and write well–in as short a time as possible. These apps help with productive writing.
- Meditate. This app was created to time meditation, but who says you can’t use it to time your writing sessions instead? If you’re more productive when writing in timed bursts, then you’ll find this app useful.
- Pomodoro Time Management. Remember my post about Pomodoro Time Management and how it can help you become more productive? Well, there’s an app for that.
- WriteChain. WriteChain is a word count app, but it’s more than that. It tracks the amount of writing you’ve done, creating a chain every day you write. When you miss writing for a day, the chain is broken. In short, it motivates you to write every day, because, you know, writers write.
These apps help you manage your written work.
- Dropbox. Dropbox is one service I use every day. Not only does it back up your files in real time, but it syncs them and keeps 30 days worth of versions. It’s great for accessing your files anywhere, and lets you sleep soundly at night, knowing your precious writing is safe and sound.
- SaiSuke. This schedule management app helps you keep track of writing deadlines. It’s synchronizes with Google calendar, so you can see and modify events on your desktop as well as on your phone.
- WorkLog. WorkLog is a handy tool for writers who charge by the hour. Track your work time, calculate fees, generate reports for clients, and export to a variety of calendars, such as Google, iCal and Outlook.
I hope this post has given you ideas for getting more writing done with your mobile devices.
Did I miss any of your favorite writing tools? If so, share them with our readers in the comments below.
We’re always on the lookout for tools that will help us do our work better and more easily as freelancers.
Image by Johan Larsson