A Word On Writing Tools

You like to write, right? Then you want the right tool for the write-job. I’m talking about typing on a keyboard; no pens or pencils, sorry. Some tools are exclusive to Apple devices (Ulysses). Others are ubiquitous (Google Docs). In this write-up, I share some ways I’ve tried writing. And at the end, I throw in links to several writing tools.

Drafts And Notes

When it comes to blogging, I’ve typed my drafts in several places over the years. For simplicity, my habit was writing in the WordPress editor. But because it took time to craft a draft, I wanted to save a “hard” copy somewhere besides the WordPress.com servers. So I searched for an outside tool.

For a long time, I drafted my stuff inside note apps: Apple Notes, Evernote, or OneNote. My main problem there was copy/pasting my text into WordPress. It always led to formatting frustration! Boo, hiss! On top of that, images were not included, which made my “hard copy” documents incomplete. So I abandoned notes apps.

Types Of Typing Tools

Now we get to dedicated tools for typing all the words. The default standard for years was Microsoft Word. It works, but it’s also bloated and resides inside Camp Microsoft, so not for me.

Last year, with my tent staked in Apple Camp, I dove headlong into Ulysses for my iPad and iPhone. It was my first time to use Markdown, but I took to it well. I wrote about Ulysses before, and it’s an excellent app to get your thoughts out of your head!

One of the key features I loved was its ability to take my draft, with images, and publish straight to WordPress! This avoided all the text formatting hassle. But there was a huge problem in general: the iPad had no physical keyboard! The Bluetooth keyboard set-up I used was a kludge.

Then I pulled a ditch and switch. Out with the iPad, in with a laptop – Chromebook! Since this more or less meant camping with Google, I’ve been enjoying Google Docs! Allow me to gush on Docs for a paragraph or three.


I’m sure you’re familiar with this word processor. Like Microsoft Word, Docs has the traditional features you’d expect. Word Count tool, check. Full-screen and distraction-free, check. Keyboard shortcuts for easy text formatting, check. Google Docs is clean and simple, not over-stuffed like Microsoft Word.

A stand-out tool in Docs is the WordPress Add-on! This awesome widget lets you post text and images straight into WordPress as a draft. It even allows you to include Tags and set the post Category. Docs also lets you keep a “hard” copy of your blog post using the save-as-PDF option.

You can also augment Docs with a cool Power User feature: Keep! Google’s own note app, Keep, is a wonderful tool on its own. But it is also included in the side panel of many Google web apps. So while writing inside Docs, you can open Keep notes next to your draft and copy/paste text or add notes to your Doc. The Keep side panel is also handy for quick reference to any web research notes you have. And in the Keep app itself, you can convert any note straight into a Google Doc!

The Write Tools

You might like Docs, you might not. Thankfully, there are many other options. Here are a few to consider. You want the right tool for the write-job. (Special thanks to Nicole Bianchi for the list ideas.)

Scrivener – Writing a novel? This is what you want. It’s on Mac and Windows. If I ever get serious about my own fiction fantasy, I’m gonna need to try this for myself. (But I don’t wanna give up using a Chromebook.)

Reedsy – I’ve not used this one (yet). But from my initial account set up and skimming over the site, I like what I see. Looks like this is a good tool to get serious about writing a book and publishing.

Draft – I have not tried this one, but it is intriguing. The most interesting feature to me is Hemingway Mode!

Hemingway Editor – This handy tool is sweet! I’m still new to it. So far, I love the grading feature. It lasers in on common writing problems. Passive voice, adverbs, and complex sentences get highlighted for easy fixing. It’s like having a personal editor mark up your draft for you!

Grammarly – It’s like a spell checker on steroids. You might already know about this one, but if not, install the web extension in your Chrome browser; give it a try!