If you want to be able to do something that you love and also be able to do it well, you need to reduce the friction between thought and action. In other words, if you want to be a writer, you need to have the tools that facilitate writing at your disposal.
Now some will argue that you just need a plain ol’ text editor and the gumption to write every day to make your way as a writer, but finding a handful of tools that can help you along the way can’t hurt.Now some will argue that you just need a plain ol’ text editor and the gumption to write every day to make your way as a writer, but finding a handful of tools that can help you along the way can’t hurt.
I write a lot on my iPhone. It seems strange to some people, but I have found that I can type super-fast on the touchscreen keyboard. And because of that I do a lot of outlining, writing, and editing on my iPhone. Below are 10 tools for writing on your iPhone.
If you thought that text expansion on your desktop was cool, it makes typing on your mobile device a dream come true. If you don’t know, TextExpander Touch is an app that allows you to program short snippets of text as ways to expand to anything you want.
Say you want to program your address. You can make a snippet like “addr” expand to your entire address, even with line breaks. TextExpander can definitely help speed up your writing and it also works with around 50 other iOS apps.
This is a simple plain-text editor for iOS that syncs your text files to Dropbox. Elements has auto-saving, word-count, line-count, a scratchpad, TextExpander Touch support, ability to view, create, and edit Markdown files, and much more.
This is an excellent app if you are a plain-text file nerd like me and has some great features that will keep you interested in using it.
Notesy for Dropbox
Yet another plain-text editor that syncs to Dropbox. Some of the extra things that I like about Notesy is that it has the option to preview Markdown files with your own custom CSS, enhanced search, subfolders, and option to view links, like phone numbers, pages, etc.
In general I like the overall look and feel of Notesy as well and feel that this is my favorite plain-text editor on the iPhone as of late.
The last of the plain-text editors that I will mention today. Nebulous is nice for theming your writing with different fonts, font-color and backgrounds. Something that is unique to Nebulous is that it has a nifty “scrollable bar” on top of the standard keyboard that you can place different characters and macros on like tabs, asterisks, date functions, etc.
If you want to type something up fast, coupling the programmable functions of Nebulous and coupling it with TextExpander is an awesome way to go.
You’ve got to have a way to outline your ideas before you start writing and one of the easiest ways to do it on iPhone is with CarbonFin Outliner. Outliner gives you a nice interface to make parent and children items, search your entire outline, move items with drag and drop, gives notes to outline items, and much more.
Syncing is sort of a pain as you have to use CarbonFin’s website rather than a simpler Dropbox sync. But, for outlining on your iPhone there isn’t anything better.
What kind of writer would you be if you couldn’t carry around your mind maps with you at all times? iThoughts makes it easy to mind-map from you iPhone and has a pretty unique and intuitive interface. Adding items to your maps is easy and also adding children and siblings is as simple as double-tapping the return key or spacebar.
iThoughts has a ton of features to it and really is a full-fledge mind-mapping suite.
Day One is a neat little “diary or logging application”. We spoke about the benefits of logging your day recently and this app can help you do it with ease. Day One is built to make logging super fast with a click of the “plus” button to add a new entry. I use it almost like my own private Twitter. Anything I am thinking internally I just jot it down.
Day One can be synced via Dropbox and it also has a nifty reminder system to help you remember to journal something. Oh, and of course to hide your dear diary entries Day One includes a passcode lock.
Removing the friction of writing is extremely important if you want to get good at it. These seven apps are what I consider to be the “best of the best” when it comes to planning and writing on your iPhone. Let us know in the comments of any other apps that help you write while you are mobile.
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College is nothing if it is not a place where writing skills are going to be tested to the limit. Most courses will involve at least one report, essay, or term paper, and there is usually a thesis to complete a degree. Writing may come quickly for some, but for most, it is just short of the nine circles of hell.
Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but writing can be quite a struggle, especially students for whom English is not their first language. Given that most students (86%) have a smartphone, and more than half (66%) own an iPhone, it would be eminently practical to use the gadgets for more than taking snaps or sending messages.
Here are five of the best iPhone and iPad writing apps for students to help them get through college writing with flying colors.
Best Writing Apps for iPhone and iPad
To write, you need a word processor. This app is one of the most powerful iOS compatible software out there. If you are a Mac user, this is a must-have to get some work done even when you're on the go.
It has most of the essential features you need for document making and editing, and it is compatible with MS Word. You can even save it as an MS Word document or PDF if you want.
While the iPad version has a lot more features than the iPhone version, such as Split View, the iPhone version now comes with 3D touch for iPhone 6 and up, which means you can create a new document from the Home screen.
As smartphone word processors go, this is the best for iPhone users. Unfortunately, it also means you have no excuse for slacking off on that group project when you're not at home!
Most people have had occasion to use Dictionary.com at some point to look up the meaning and etymology of a word, which is very useful in impressing your friends.
However, having it on your iPhone can also help you find the words you need for that report or book review. It has such a large word database that you should download it over a wired connection.
Some great features include alphabetical indexing, sample sentences, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms, as well as audio pronunciation. The app also has a word of the day to help you expand your vocabulary. Most importantly, it works offline and translates to 25 languages. It is a must-have for any aspiring writer. Edugeeksclub writer Ann Morescomb calls it “one of the most important apps” on her iPhone.
The best thing about this app is you can take handwritten notes (using the pencil feature) and record audio for lectures at the same time, and you can see those during playback.
This is invaluable if you have to write something about that particular class, and you need to clarify something. It is powerful yet simple to use. The handwriting feature is especially awesome, as it is optimized for precise use on the iPhone.
It is literally like having a notebook in front of you but way cooler. You can also import and edit images and PDF files, and use iCloud to sync notes on Dropbox and Google Drive, which allows you to move seamlessly from one device to another.
#4. My Wonderful Days
Many of the greatest writers advise struggling writers to write at every opportunity to improve their skills. This journaling app allows you to do just that, but instead of writing in a physical journal, you can do that from your iPhone.
It is a genius solution for the college student on the go for recording thoughts as they occur. Since you can back it up on the cloud with a passcode, you won't have any problem keeping it in a safe place. It is very simple and useful for improving your writing skills.
#5. iA Writer
This app is a simple text editor that lets you concentrate on content rather than format.
While it does allow you to do rich formatting, its full-text mode helps you refine and edit your work without distracting you with extra features that usually go with most word processors.
In Focus mode, you can highlight only the sentence you are currently working on, with the other parts of the document grayed out. It saves in the cloud, and it is also compatible with the Handoff app, which provides seamless app integration across iOS devices.
The Pro version of this app is particularly useful if you have a ton of proofreading to do, and you have to do it on the go.
#6. Write about this
Very few smartphone apps are designed to prompt a user to write about something, although this is only for iPad and iPad mini.
It has 125 pages and 375 prompts selected by teachers specifically to encourage young children to write. While this may seem a bit jejune for a college student, it is very useful for anyone that avoided any real writing before going to college.
Aside from helping you develop your writing skills, it allows you to share your work with your friends and create an author profile. It is like having a publishing agent on your iPad!
You have to keep writing to make you better at it. There is no getting around that. These writing apps for iPhone merely make it easier for you to do that on the go. They are particularly important if you are a college student with so many things going on. Download one or more of them, and you will find yourself writing better than ever before.
About Author: Joan Selby is a content marketer at EduGeeksClub and blogger. Former CalArts graduate and a fancy shoe lover. A writer by day and reader by night. Giving creative touch to everything.
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Dhvanesh Adhiya is our editor-in-chief and reviewer who takes care of iGeeksBlog.com. He is passionate for wonderful apps that change the way your iPhone interacts in your life.