Most writers know that creating a great, memorable short story, book, or poem takes a considerable amount of determination, energy, and craft. Keeping track of ideas, edits, and revisions—while avoiding the temptation of social media and cat videos—can make it hard to focus on completing your work. Fortunately, there are lots of free apps and software available to help writers succeed! Web Design Relief has compiled a list of twenty great, must-have free apps and software programs that no writer should live—or write—without.
The Best Must-Have Free Apps And Software For Writers
Free Word Processing Software For Writers
Microsoft Word may be the king of word processing programs, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Check out these free compatible options.
LibreOffice. LibreOffice comes from the open-source word processing program Open Office. Along with word processing software, it includes spreadsheet and PowerPoint capabilities. One of its best features is its compatibility with Microsoft Word formats (like .docx) so you can share your manuscript easily with editors and agents.
Google Docs. Although the word processing features of Google Docs are very basic, they’ll suffice for most users. All you need is a Google account to log in, which allows you to access your documents on any computer. Google Docs’s biggest advantage lies in the user’s ability to write and collaborate in real time with other authors on a project.
Apple Pages. Another app that allows real-time collaboration is Apple Pages for Mac users, a powerful word processing program that’s part of the iWork productivity suite. For indie writers, one perk of this software is the ability to export a manuscript directly to an .epub format.
(Mostly) Free Writing Software For Novelists
Scrivener. Though there is a cost for this software, the thirty-day free trial period makes it worthy of a mention. Scrivener is easily one of the top software programs for novelists and offers organizational tools to keep tabs on research, storyboarding views of your novel, and productivity features that help you reach your goals. At an average cost of about fifty dollars, Scrivener’s a real bargain.
Shaxpir. Pronounced “Shakespeare,” Shaxpir is a cloud-based software for novelists who want to set goals, brainstorm, keep track of research, attach concept art, and ultimately export the manuscript into various formats.
WordCradle. On the WordCradle dashboard you’ll see all of your projects listed, as well as the goals you’ve set, the deadlines approaching, the number of words you’ve written, and the amount of time you spent on each. There’s a section for brainstorming and a gallery to keep track of all your characters.
Bibisco. This open-source software allows you to be both the architect and the carpenter of your novel. Check out a video preview here.
Free Title And Idea Apps For Writers
Whether you’re writing a blog, a poem, a short story, or a novel, sometimes you need inspiration. Check out these two free apps.
HubSpot Blog Generator. Need fresh ideas for your blog or creative writing? This online app generates a bunch of titles on the subject of your choice.
Portent Idea Generator. Looking for a title for your book, or a story idea to pique your interest? Give this idea generator a whirl.
Free Software For Writing In Peace…Or Not
Some writers prefer silence; others work best with background sound. Whichever you prefer, there’s a free app for it!
FocusWriter. E-mail notifications and social media are time-sucking distractions. In FocusWriter, a single move of your mouse blocks out distractions on your screen so you can get your writing done using the powerful word processor.
CalmlyWriter. Another browser-based app, CalmlyWriter is a word processing program that minimizes distractions. It even includes a “dark mode,” which allows you to type white-on-black for all you suspense, horror, and thriller writers.
Coffitivity. Do you prefer to work in coffee shops but can’t always find a table? Check out Coffitivity’s ambient-noise writing tool to help get you in the mood, even when you’re not at Starbucks.
HipsterSound. With this writer’s app, you’ll have the sound of a charming French café wherever you go.
Free Grammar And Editing Software For Writers
Grammarly. A free digital writing tool that monitors grammar, punctuation, spelling, tone, style, and word choice to improve your writing. You can add Grammarly as a Chrome extension on your computer and even install it as a keyboard on your iOS or Android phone.
ProWritingAid. This is a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor all in one package. ProWritingAid is available in free and premium versions and can be added as a Chrome extension.
Hemingway Editor. Hemingway highlights grammar, fluency, and sentence structure issues so you can improve your writing. It also grades your writing for readability level, a feature useful for writers of children’s, middle grade, and YA novels.
Free Post-Production Software And Apps For Writers
If you’re writing a book, you have a few more steps on your publishing journey—especially if you’re considering self-publishing. Here are a few more free apps that are useful for book authors.
QueText. It’s always a smart move to use a plagiarism checker like QueText before you submit your work for publication.
Calibre. This free e-book management software organizes your library of e-books by many different factors. For indie-published writers, Calibre is an easy-to-use software to convert manuscripts into .mobi, .epub, and many other formats.
Canva. Thinking about social media and marketing? For that, you’ll need graphics. Canva offers a free version with an easy interface and access to free and low-cost visuals.
BookBrush. Like the name suggests, BookBrush is a powerful graphics software created specifically for authors. It’s easy and intuitive to use, and there is a free plan that lets you create three images per month and allows access to templates, stamps, and fonts.
Using free software and apps will make it easier for you to write your best short stories, poems, or book manuscript without breaking the bank. And once you’re ready to submit your work to literary agents and editors, check out how Writer’s Relief can help you target the best markets!
Question: What is your favorite software or app for writing, either paid or free?