Friday Fun – Favorite Writing Software or App

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: We’re all suckers for good pens and beautiful notebooks. Each of us has her favorite writing books and references. But, what about our favorite writing software and apps? Do you have a favorite writing technology that you just can’t live without? What is it and why do you love it so much?

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes: Scrivener. Hands down.  I am a plotter, so I write scene cards on index cards, then put it all in Scrivener. I can tag the cards with character names, add time  codes, add scene goals, and move things around if I need to. It takes a bit of learning (Gwen Hernandez can help with that!), but SO worth it.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson: I’m content with any word processing program (such as Word) that lets me type and search/replace.  🙂 Other than that, it’s paper and pen that I can’t live without!


Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD: Like Lisa, I don’t feel strongly about word processing programs, but I do find the notes app and the voice recording app on my phone helpful for getting ideas down before they disappear. I’ve also been taking my iPad with me everywhere so I can get writing time in wherever I happen to have some quiet time: parked in my car or sitting in a waiting room. Once I open it up, the whole world goes away.

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: I’m with Julie … Scrivener is fabulous. I’ve used it on a number of projects and found it so helpful in terms of helping me organize my thoughts and my document. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of its functionality, but I love the parts I’ve learned to use so far.

I also love my outdated version of MindManager by MindJet. This is the best mind mapping software I’ve found so far, mainly because it allows you to attach copious notes to topics in your map and also hyperlink topics to outside web pages and locally stored documents. Sadly, this software is only available in a SaaS (software as a service/subscription) format now, and it’s pretty pricey. Still, if my current copy ever dies on me, I will give some serious consideration to buying a license for this powerful tool.

Finally, I have to give a nod to a nifty little iPhone app that has become part of my 10-minute writing practice. Werdsmith is a fairly simple writing app, but I enjoy using it more than the native notes app on my phone. It allows you to create projects with word count goals, track progress, and even set up specific writing rituals. There are also sharing features (which I’ve never used), and a subscription-based “Write Club” that allows you to edit your mobile creations on your desktop or laptop computer, and access other premium features like customized themes, etc. I’m happy with the free version (which allows you via email and a variety of apps like Evernote).

Other than that, I agree with Lisa – paper and pen rule. But … on the other hand, I’m also having iPad envy based on what Diane shared about her iPad writing habit. (Have you seen the new iPad Pro? I’m totally lusting after that!)

M. Shafer, Photo

M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin: I’m so Old School: I use pen and paper and Microsoft Word.

19 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Favorite Writing Software or App

  1. Back in the “old days” (late 90’s) I started on the early version(s) of my first novel, SINK RATE. The Windows 97 free word processor was basic but workable and we plodded along together. Along came Word Perfect and finally Word. Technology allowed a painful “save as” and the manuscript , though a bit jumbled, eventually got straightened out. Now I use Word exclusively and would be reluctant to learn a new and different format. Pen and paper help me keep names and timeline in order but the creating is all done with electrons.

  2. Ms-Word, pen and paper are my tools. I do the planning and plotting in my head before writing. But I have been wanting to try scrivener a try after hearing good things about it.

  3. I am a paper and pen addict and so I like to put my thoughts down in writing before I do anything else..I am new to blogging and eventually will get more hip to the technology.

    and slowly I will learn more about the technology
    Which would be an extra tool to for completing my blogs.

  4. I have to say that I am new to it all! I just know that I love to write and that I am making a commitment to blogging. I love the ease of pen and paper and Word as well. Although that may be that is because it is all that I have been exposed to. Thank for the wonderful suggestions!

  5. I adore Scrivener. I really like being able to organize my work and the program is excellent for plotting one’s story. Pen and paper is still definitely a must though. I don’t leave home without my notebook.

  6. Scrivener does it for me. I like that I can break down the stages of a novel or project and start anywhere. This helps when linearity escapes me

  7. Scrivener without a doubt. I love it because I can outsource my organising tasks to it, having no organisational skills of my own! I’ve used it for many short stories, a couple of NaNo attempts, other novels and blog posts. I’ve just started using it to write a screenplay for one of my short stories. The screenplay template is very helpful once you get the hang of it. MS Word seems so 20th century now!

  8. I prefer pen and paper, I love to write using my fountain pen. When I need to type something out, I use LibreOffice (because Microsoft Word suddenly decided to quit on me). I’m not so big on apps and google docs just scares me (I only use it for group projects, but I don’t trust it with anything else).

  9. Scrivener of course, without a doubt, for writing my books, scripts, texts, courses, e-books, etc.; I use MyThoughts for mapping and clarifying my ideas; MSWord for doing my newsletters/ads/posters/etc as I like the versatility of doing your own page setting… and then, for the final touch, InDesign and Photoshop for ready to print, attracting posters, bookmarks or for a glamorous cover :).

  10. Deborah, You think you’re old school? I’m on a Mac and I use AppleWorks Draw to do my writing offline. I love that I can resize the text boxes and move them around. I expect I’ll have to switch to the WordProcessing part of it when I want to publish more than just my blog but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I go into the Apple Store and talk to clerks (about 23 years old) and they’ve never even heard of AppleWorks. : )

  11. I’ve heard lots of great things about Scrivener and was considering giving it a try when I remembered my wife gave me WriteItNow and I hadn’t opened it yet. Better to try it and save money right? I’ve been using it a few months inserting my notes and character info and have it connected to a Dropbox account so I can access my story anywhere. I’m pretty happy so far and love that I can easily pick and choose chapters to work on during nanowrimo.

  12. I guess I’m the olny one who use Evernote to compose, to put togeder Word but when I have a block I use the pen and notebook. It’s work for me all of it together

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