Top 20 Writing Tools For Every Writer (Complete Review)

By Steph Fraser | Posted on May 31st, 2019

Many years ago, writers were limited in the tools they had to help them perfect their craft. However, technology has advanced to previously incomprehensible levels and now, we have many writing tools at our disposal.

There are many types of writing software available. Most writers find themselves using more than one writing tool, as some are rather specific in their functionality:

  • Complete book writing software/word processors
  • Tools for motivation
  • Distraction busters
  • Tools for editing
  • Inspiration
  • Productivity
  • Plagiarism

A Writing Tool to Write Your Book

Book writing software” is a broad term with many categories. A “complete” book writing software is a program that facilitates the actual writing of your manuscript.

These programs are comprehensive with a robust array of features and abilities.

Squibler

Squibler is an innovative writing software that is designed to help you write and publish your book in a short period of time. Their goal is 30 days, to be exact. This may sound extreme, but their focus on organization and efficiency makes it possible.

Squibler is simple and easy to understand while remaining powerful. It offers writers several key features:

  1. Note-taking
  2. Research support
  3. Outline creation
  4. Spellchecker
  5. Separate documents for chapters and scenes
  6. Drag and drop to rearrange these chapters and scenes
  7. Helps writers publish their book – eBook or print

These things work together to create the perfect environment for effective and efficient writing.

writing tool

Squibler is available to try for free. If you decide you’d like to keep using it, you can subscribe for $10/month.

A Book Writing Template

Squibler also offers a series of book writing templates – some that are genre-specific and others that are more general. Writing with a template takes a lot of pressure off and can take a lot of the guesswork out of structuring the story.

This is an example of a more general book writing template:

general fiction template

This template is good for someone who hasn’t narrowed down a genre yet, or someone who just wants a basic guide. You can get more specific and personalized the more you flesh out your story.

If you are a little further along or are trying out a genre for the first time, a more specific template will be helpful:

romance nove tempate

Romance is a popular genre both on its own and mixed with others. Romance is one of the most versatile genres as it can be crossed with almost anything else – thriller, fantasy, mystery, historical, crime, etc.

If romance isn’t your thing though, Squibler has many other genre options for you to choose from.

Scrivener

While not as sleek and modern, Scrivener is similar to Squibler in that it was designed to help you write your book. Scrivener is a more complex program with a lot of features. So many features that some writers find themselves getting overwhelmed.

If you are willing to take the plunge and learn it all however, Scrivener can be a fantastic tool for writers.

While it would take hours to go through all of its many abilities, Scrivener has a few key features that most writers tend to focus on:

Scrivener Key Features 
1. The Binder The binder is a powerful side bar that organizes everything.
Chapters, scenes, character sketches, research, are all in the binder.
Access each element with ease and hide it away again when you're done.
2. The Cork BoardPin virtual note cards to a virtual cork board.
Most commonly used for outlining, story-boarding, or character sketches.
Drag and drop note cards to rearrange.
3. The InspectorAn optional secondary sidebar.
Contains notes, links, and useful information.
Allows you to view and toggle through this information without leaving your current screen.
Hide the inspector when you're not using it.
4. Chapter/Scene SeparationCreate separate documents for chapters and even individual scenes.
All of these are organized in the binder.
5. Drag and DropDrag and drop your chapters and scenes for easy rearranging.
This takes a lot of time and effort out of the editing process.
6. TemplatesScrivener comes with a few basic templates built into their software - including novels, screenplays, and short stories.
Download and import thousands of other, customized templates for anything you want to write.

If you’re a writer who likes to take extensive notes and/or thrives when working with a detailed outline, Scrivener is for you. Check out this full Scrivener review for some more detailed information on this writing software.

It is available to try free for 30 days, after which you must purchase the software if you wish to continue using it. It will cost you a one-time fee of $45 and is available on Mac and Windows.

Ulysses

Another fantastic word processor, Ulysses is an ideal choice for those looking to focus on shorter forms of writing. Both Scrivener and Squibler, while useful for short pieces, are designed with novelists in mind.

Ulysses has a similar structure and function as the other two. But, it has some features that make it extremely useful for web writers, content creators, copywriters, and bloggers.

The design is minimalistic and simple. Ulysses believes in keeping things clean and easy to navigate. Their most advanced features are kept hidden until you actually need them.

What makes Ulysses so perfect for bloggers and web writers are the sharing features. First, it allows you to see a live preview. This helps you see exactly what your piece will look like on the web, without having to actually publish anything.

Once you are happy with your work, you can publish directly to WordPress and/or Medium. There are many blogging platforms out there, but these are two of the most popular.

If you want to publish your article elsewhere, Ulysses offers many exporting styles as well as additional share options. This includes e-mail, iBooks, Google Drive, and a number of other third-party apps.

To get a better overview of Ulysses and see how it stacks up to Scrivener, check out our Ulysses vs. Scrivener comparison.

A Writing Tool For Motivation

Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is the writing itself. For those struggling with just getting started, there are several apps that aim to help.

750 Words

This writing tool provides a clean and simple space to do your writing. But, you can do this anywhere. What’s different about this app is the motivation tools it also provides.

750 words is roughly three pages, with 250  being the accepted amount of words per page. They think that on average, 750 words is a good daily goal – hence the name. Of course, this can differ depending on your lifestyle and schedule, but 750 is their general suggested target.

750 words writing tool

The app encourages you to write this amount (or whatever your goal) every day by tracking your work with a points system:

  • Write anything at all, get one point.
  • Reach 750 words, get two points.
  • Write three or more days in a row, get even more points.

The points are a simple motivational tool to encourage you to write something each day.

In addition to the points, they also offer some statistics around your writing. These can offer insight into your writing and habits that you may never have noticed before. These include things like your words per minute, how long it took you to get to 750, and how many breaks you took.

750 words writing tool

It also analyzes the writing itself and picks out themes and trends. It delivers this information to you in the form of pie charts:

750 words writing tool

Between seeing your daily statistics and building up those points, 750 Words offers a lot of motivation to write every day. Once you get started with this fantastic writing tool, you will develop good writing habits in no time.

750 words is only available to use online, but you make an account which keeps everything private and saves all your points and progress from each day.

In addition to the writing aspects, 750 Words also offers monthly challenges and small ways to connect with other members.

You are able to use the site for 30 days, after which it does require a small fee of $5/month for continued access.

Ilys

Ilys is unique writing software that very much values editing, but also knows that is has a time and place. One of the most common pieces of advice for writers is to not edit as you go. Ilys is on board with this, and they have set out to make sure you don’t do it.

To begin a writing session with Ilys, you tell it how many words you want to write. Once you start, you are unable to change, edit, or even delete anything until you’ve hit your word count goal. Once the goal is reached, only then can you start making edits.

Not only are you physically unable to make changes before completing the goal, but your writing is invisible. You can use the peek button to take a quick look, but as you’re writing, your words stay hidden – all except for the last letter you typed.

Ilys writing tool

Your work is revealed for editing only when you are finished.

Ilys writing tool

In addition to helping you get some writing done before you start editing, Ilys believes in consistency. They wish to help you with this as well.

Ilys will track your progress over time. You will be able to see when you’re most productive, and when you’ve been slacking a little.

This writing software has a twist that is sure to break any habit you may have of obsessive editing.

It allows for maximum creativity with the stealthy way in which it forces you to write. You can’t even look back at what you’ve done until your goal is reached.

A subscription to Ilys costs $9/month, but users can type up to 3000 words for free before making a purchase.

Twords

Twords is a writing tool that is designed to keep you motivated and writing on a regular basis. It offers you a space to write where you can keep your time and your word count goal right in front of you.

It suggests a daily word count goal of 500, but you can customize this if you want.

twords writing tool

In addition to a place to write and ways to track your progress, Twords offers a community aspect. You can create a public profile with a photo and some personal information. You can connect with other users and even create “accountability buddies.”

Accountability buddies are other users with whom you stay connected as you strive to write every day. They are there to vent frustrations and ask advice. If you don’t write for a few days, Twords sends an email to your accountability buddies so they know to ask you what’s up.

Having someone there to keep you accountable is an excellent way to stay motivated. This part of the website is optional. But, writers who struggle to stay on task and write every day will find it useful.

The Most Dangerous Writing App

This writing tool is a simple, single-page program that doesn’t just encourage but forces you to keep writing – at all costs. If you don’t keep those words coming, the app will delete your work.

the most dangerous writing app writing tool

The only thing you have to do is select the length of your session. It can be anywhere from 3-60 minutes. From there, it brings you to a blank white page with just a cursor. There are no menu options, no formatting choices, no distractions whatsoever.

The only catch is that you must keep typing. If you stop for even a few seconds, everything disappears and you have to start over.

the most dangerous writing app writing tool

For most, this is all the motivation they’ll need to keep on going!

A basic writing tool, but perhaps one of the best for someone who is really struggling with inspiration and motivation. Even if what you write isn’t any good, at least the app gets you writing something.

A Writing Tool For Beating Distraction

For most writers, distraction is a huge problem. Between cell phones, video games, and the internet in general, our minds have become programmed to multi-task. Focusing on one thing can be hard, especially with all the aforementioned distractions just waiting in the wings, calling our name.

Beating these distractions with sheer will power alone is possible, but difficult. It may be worth exploring some writing tools to help eliminate distractions from your writing time.

Calmly Writer

Calmly Writer is one of the most basic pieces of writing software you will find. And this is the whole point.

Once you start writing, everything else disappears:

calmly writer writing tool

Other than your words, there is only one other icon. Clicking this will reveal the menu and all its options:

calmly writer writing tool

This clean and minimalistic interface doesn’t do anything about the looming technology and internet. But, it helps you zero in on your writing by filling your entire screen with nothing but your own words.

This is effective in putting many in the zone. Focus becomes razor sharp. With nothing else to even click on, words get written fast. With all other thoughts out of the way, creativity can flow at its best.

To make this simple writing experience the best it can be, Calmly Writer does offer some customizable features for you to work with:

  • Once some words are written, you can select a section and click to choose various formatting options.
  • Your writing is automatically backed up as you go.
  • The app features a responsive design that will work with various screen sizes, types, and devices.
  • It offers a dark mode for those who prefer to write with white text on a black screen.
  • An optional typewriter sound can be turned on for added effect.

For those looking for a calm and serene place to write, Calmly Writer is your answer. With everything else hidden away, all you need to do is create.

Freedom

Freedom is a unique writing tool that will block your distractions. Calmly Writer provides you with a clean and simple space that encourages focus. Freedom removes your ability to even utilize the distractions that exist on the internet.

The concept is simple – you can create customized lists of the websites that are most distracting to you. Social media, games, news, entertainment – these are some of the most common.

Once you’ve chosen or created a list, you can create a session of whatever length you want. Once you click to start your session, Freedom blocks all websites on your list for your chosen amount of time.

freedom writing tool

If you want to really buckle down and write, and don’t need any references in front of you, you can simply block the entire internet.

Another huge distraction for many is their cell phone. The app is available to download on mobile as well, and it does much the same thing. You can choose which apps you want to be blocked, and Freedom will disable them for the duration of your session.

This writing tool is basic, easy to use, and incredibly powerful. After a free trial, it is available at three different price points:

  1. $6.99/month
  2. $29/year
  3. $120 for lifetime access

If you like the app but don’t want to make a lifetime commitment, you can save a lot of money by paying for your subscription yearly. The yearly price point brings your monthly cost down to about $2.

A Writing Tool For Editing

Sometimes more time-consuming than the writing itself, editing is a tedious part of the process. But, it’s unavoidable.

You should always begin by thoroughly editing your work yourself. Once this is done, it is recommended that you hire a professional editor if you plan to publish.

In addition to both of these, however, is the option of utilizing some writing software that does parts of the editing for you. These in no way replace your own work, nor that of a professional. But, the right editing tool can save both of you some time and effort by taking care of the small stuff.

Grammarly

Grammarly is among the top-rated writing tools out there right now. It is a program that scans your work and points out grammatical errors. The basic version of the service is free and allows you to scan an unlimited amount of documents and words.

It will alert you to a few different errors:

  1. Basic grammatical mistakes
  2. Spelling mistakes
  3. Repeated words

It can do this in a number of different ways:

  1. Copy and paste your work into the online editor.
  2. Install the chrome extension so check your work across the web (blogs, social media, emails, etc.).
  3. Install the desktop extension.
  4. Integrate Grammarly with MS Word.
  5. Integrate Grammarly with Google Docs (still in beta testing).

All of these options come free of charge, and you have unlimited use. For many writers, this is more than enough editing help. If you do any kind of serious writing, however, you may want to consider the premium upgrade.

The premium version offers several advanced checks and features:

  1. Advanced punctuation, grammatical, sentence structure, and context checks
  2. Vocabulary enhancement
  3. Genre-specific writing checks
  4. A plagiarism detector

For a detailed look at the upgraded premium version, check out our Grammarly review. This can help you decide if it is worth the investment.

Hemingway

The Hemingway editor is similar to Grammarly. Where they differ is in their specific functions. Hemingway will also scan your work and point out errors. But, it focuses on mistakes of a different variety.

The Hemingway Editor checks your work for overall readability. It does this by picking out several specific stylistic problems:

  1. Adverbs
  2. Passive voice
  3. Complex phrases
  4. Hard to read sentences
  5. Very hard to read sentences

The editor is available online and is free to use. You can copy and paste your text, or you can do your work directly into the editor and have it check as you go. It does offer some formatting options to make this a viable choice.

Hemingway writing tool

For a one-time fee of $19.99, you can gain access to the desktop version of the editor. It is the exact same program, but you can download it and have it available for offline use.

Hemingway is a fantastic writing tool for those who publish shorter, nonfiction content to a blog or website. It helps you ensure your work is clean, concise, and professional.

It can be used by those who write fiction as well. Though, they should keep in mind that there is no way to adjust for stylistic choices. So, you may take some creative liberties with the language that Hemingway will mark as a problem.

Overall though, it’s a writing tool that can be used to enhance anyone’s craft.

A Writing Tool For Ideas

Sometimes, you’re just stuck on an idea. Writer’s block is a killer, and everyone goes through it at some point.

If you’re struggling, there are many ways you can come by inspiration:

  1. Randomly conjured ideas
  2. Overheard conversation
  3. Life situations, either personal or someone else
  4. Dreams
  5. Writing prompts
  6. Talking to others
  7. And many more

In addition to this list, there are some writing tools out there that can assist you in coming up with a great idea for your content.

Scapple

Scapple is a program developed by Literature and Latte, the same company that created Scrivener. Scrivener is where you write your content, Scapple is where you come up with it.

Scapple is a simple but useful tool that mimics a brainstorming technique known as a mind map. This is where you write down your main, usually broad, idea, and start connecting other ideas and thoughts to it.

scapple writing tool

In days past, writers would do this with pencil and paper. Scapple decided to digitize this method of thinking and make it easier, more accessible, and even more productive.

A mind map in Scapple is literally limitless. You can zoom out and make your “paper” or document, infinitely large. When you need a certain section, zooming back in is easy.

Scapple is also perfectly compatible with Scrivener. You don’t even have to export your mind map in order to insert it into a Scrivener project. If both programs are open, you can simply drag the mindmap from Scapple into Scrivener.

For those that want to expedite and organize their brainstorming and ideas stage, Scapple is your best bet.

HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator

For bloggers, coming up with consistently fresh and entertaining content can be difficult. Like any writer, a blogger will go through periods of writer’s block.

Just because you run into this, however, doesn’t mean you can stop publishing. Especially if your blog is your income.

So, HubSpot has created a tool to help you find some new topics.

You start by entering up to five nouns into their idea generator. Once the nouns are added, you can click to generate some ideas. It will give you one week’s worth of blog ideas immediately – this is five topics.

hubspot writing tool

To unlock an entire year’s worth of blog ideas – 250 topics – all you need to do is enter some information, and you can download the list.

hubspot writing tool

Some of the topics and titles are simpler than others. But, all of them have the potential to spark inspiration. And even if the title you choose has been done before in some capacity, you can still make the content itself original and unique.

A Writing Tool For Productivity

For most writers, the ideas never stop. There is always more work to do, and another blog post to publish. Often, there are many small mistakes and repetitive actions that take up a lot of our time – probably more than we realize.

Life would be much easier if we could find a writing tool or two to help eliminate some of these small distractions.

Text Expander

TextExpander is a writing tool that has the potential to exponentially increase your productivity. It functions similarly to autocorrect on a cell phone, but with anything you want.

You can add what are called “snippets” and once downloaded, the corrections and actions become active and will automatically occur as you type.

For example, maybe you know you frequently misspell a word. You can tell TextExpander to automatically correct it each time you type it. This is a basic example, you can make them as complex as you want.

text expander writing tool

If you work in customer service, for example, you might find yourself sending many emails that are all the same. You can have TextExpander enter in an entire message as you type a simple four letter abbreviation.

You can utilize publically available lists, or create your own. The possibilities of this writing tool are endless.

The premade groups of snippets are a perfect place to start. As you get going, you can create as many of your own as you want depending on the type of work and writing you do.

TextExpander is available as a subscription with two payment options:

  • $4.16/month
  • $39.96/year (save 20%)

OneTab

Whether you are writing web content or a fictional novel, most writers know the struggle of managing all kinds of tabs at once. From research to references, your writing groups, tools, and apps, you have a lot open.

Some writers ease the clutter by using a second screen, but that only helps so much. Even separating your tabs into several windows still means you need to flip back and forth a lot. And, having many tabs open at the same time can significantly slow your computer down.

OneTab was created as a solution to this problem.

OneTab turns all your open tabs into a convenient list. When you need access to them, you can either bring them back up individually or all at once. When your tabs are in this list, you will save up to 95% of memory due to the reduced number of tabs open in Chrome.

onetab writing tool

The app promises complete privacy. Your tabs and their content will never be shared with the developers or other users at any time. The only exception to this is if you choose to share your list, which is an available feature.

Depending on how many scripts your tabs are running, having them in a OneTab list can speed your computer up by reducing the CPU load. It can also help your computer wake up from sleep mode faster.

OneTab is free to use and available on Google Chrome and Firefox.

A Writing Tool For Plagiarism

Whether you are writing professionally, as a student, or for yourself, plagiarism is a big deal. Copyright laws are legitimate and you can get in big trouble for copying someone else’s work and claiming it as your own.

Students can be expelled from school, writers can get fired from their jobs. This will happen when intentional and repeated plagiarism happens.

However, sometimes plagiarism can be an accident too. Most of the time, a piece will require a lot of research with many references being used. In these cases, it can be easy to word something the same way as your reference did.

Unfortunately, this can still be a problem. Some employers have a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism. Other times, the original writer may find your duplicate and pursue legal action.

Whatever the situation may be, avoiding plagiarism is a top priority for any serious writer.

Unicheck Plagiarism Checker

Unicheck is among the top-rated plagiarism checkers. When you upload a file to be checked, it compares it to billions of other webpages.

The results include any instances of direct plagiarism, but it will also tell you if any of your writing is similar to anything else on the web.

If there is any plagiarism present, it shows you what percentage of your piece is plagiarised. It also shows you the original web page from which your text is copied.

unicheck writing tool

You can add files from your computer or copy and paste text. Whichever one you choose, it saves all of your pages in your library for reference.

This is a fantastic resource for writers of all types to ensure their work is 100 percent unique and original. It is not available for free, but pricing is reasonable.

You pay for your checks by page. Unicheck considers 275 words to be a “page.”

To buy just 10 pages is $3.00 which makes each page 30 cents. From there, the more you purchase at once, the more money you save. You can purchase up to 2000 pages at a time, for $140. This works out to 7 cents per page.

Other Writing Tools

In addition to the fantastic and robust writing software I’ve talked about already, there are some other, smaller programs. These are more specific in their functions, but can still be useful in enhancing your writing experience.

Power Thesaurus

Another simple but powerful tool, Power Thesaurus is what you need to enhance your vocabulary and bring your writing to the next level.

You can enter any word you want, and get a plethora of helpful information. You begin by choosing what exactly you want to search for:

  1. Synonyms – words with similar meaning.
  2. Antonyms – words with an opposite meaning.
  3. Definitions

The default option is synonyms, but you can toggle between each type of list as much as you want.

power thesaurus writing tool

Next, you can select a part of speech to explore, if you are looking for even more ways to use the word. It will narrow down your list of synonyms or antonyms to this part of speech only. Options include:

  1. Verbs
  2. Expressions
  3. Idioms
  4. Phrasal verbs
  5. Nouns

This free writing tool is useful for anything from short stories to a college research paper.

Read-o-Meter

Read-o-Meter is another writing tool that, while simple, is useful to writers trying to produce their best work.

Especially when writing for the web, many people focus on their word count. But, not many pay much mind to how long something will take someone to read. This can be an important factor.

If you are writing a professional scientific research piece, length may be of no consequence.

But, if you are writing a casual and informative article in order to help someone solve a problem, it shouldn’t be too long. If someone is having trouble with a piece of technology, for example, they don’t want to read for 30 minutes before being able to fix it.

Read-o-Meter helps you keep track of your writing’s read time. Of course, it is just an estimate as some people read faster than others. But, it will give you a good idea of how long it will take the average person to get through your piece.

read-o-meter writing tool

Of course, you could just read it yourself and time it. But, Read-o-Meter is much more convenient as it calculates the results in seconds. It is free to use and has no word limit.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

CoSchedule is a company that has developed a set of tools and resources designed to help writers and content creators. Among their services is a free tool called the Headline Analyzer. This tool will analyze your article headline and break it down for you piece by piece.

Headlines are much more important than a lot of people realize. Your content can be top-notch, but no one will ever notice it if they aren’t intrigued by the headline.

There are certain styles and tricks that a headline can use to be more eye-catching and effective. This Headline Analyzer helps you learn what they are and tells you how well your chosen headline does.

Once you type in your headline and click “analyze,” it begins by giving you an overall score.

coschedule writing tool

Beyond this, however, is much more information:

  • Length. It analyzes the length in both characters and words. It says that the ideal length of a title is around 55 characters and 6 words. The analyzer compares your title to these numbers and tells you if it’s too long, too short, or just right.
  • Keywords. It tells you what keywords are easily picked out of your headline. If these keywords match what your content is about, your headline is on the right track.
  • Sentiment. Headlines should show positive sentiment. A headline with positive emotion usually performs the best.
  • Google and Email Preview. It shows you a preview of what your headline will look like as a Google search result as well as an email subject line. Seeing exactly what these will look like helps you decide if you want to continue using this headline.

It may seem like a simple and inconsequential thing, but a good quality headline is crucial to the success of your content. Let this writing tool analyze your title and help you make it better.

Cliché Finder

This writing tool does exactly what its name would imply. It scans your text for cliches. A cliche is a phrase, saying, or expression that is excessively overused.

It can be easy to slip them into your writing without even noticing. This is because their meanings are so well known and understood. You can get your point across without coming up with something new.

But, using too many cliches will have your work sounding boring after a little while. If you say too many things that readers have heard before, they won’t be able to pull any value from your writing.

cliche finder writing tool

This is where Cliche Finder comes in. You can copy and paste your text and it scans your work for cliches. It starts by displaying your results in a list, with three sections:

  1. Cliches
  2. Spelling errors
  3. Word choice

The last one on this list is an interesting bonus. In addition to showing you the cliches you’ve used, it picks out some common and potentially overused words. It then offers you several alternatives that may make your writing more interesting and professional.

Overall, Cliche Finder is a simple but useful tool for writers looking to polish their work.

Find Your Writing Tool

Many writers will utilize more than one writing tool. Everyone has different styles and preferences when it comes to writing, and there is a writing tool out there for all types of writers. Finding that perfect combination will do so much for your career as a writer.

From increasing productivity, being more organized, taking better notes, and kick-starting your motivation, these writing tools are some of the most beneficial. Most programs are either free or offer a free trial, so don’t be afraid to try a few out and see what works best for you.

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