After the release of Writer Pro Dr Drang wrote some very considered and thought out criticism of distraction free writing tool. In the article he pointed out that different writers have different writing styles and systems. Broadly he casts three strokes or writers
- Writing the final copy straight away (with no edits).
- The crap first draft then revision(s)
- Writing and constantly revising
Althought many would argue in favor of a certain style of writing (usually the second option) it might be worth considering that certain situations and certain people favor different approaches. For example, writing a quick message is going to favor the first. Writing a novel will push people towards other options. As such, instead of having one perfect writing app it might be worth considering different writing apps for different situations or writing styles. So here are some examples of writing apps for different writings styles.
Dictation is the sort of thing where you need to know the sentence you want before you say it. If you start dictating and then change your mind you're going to get a whole load of gobblydegook on the screen. Dragon dictation is a great tool to use if you can dictate your final copy straight off.
Siri can also be used for such functions as sending a SMS or Email quickly.
Regular Email And Messaging Clients
If you go to an Email, messaging or social media client to write something then you are probably going to write a final copy and then hit publish straight away. It's unlikely that you'll do much editing and this is going to be your final version straight away.
The Crap First Draft
Writer Pro is a brand new app from iA which has the aim of helping you with every step of writing. From researching and noting down your ideas to writing your first draft, editing and even reading once you've finished. If there is an app for writing that follows the “crap first draft” ideology, it's this one.
However, not everyone wants one app that does every part of the writing process, instead some people want different apps for different stages.
Byword is an app that also crosses over between iOS and the Mac and focuses for writing in Markdown. It also has a minimalist interface which is common amoungst the “crap first draft” ideology. The idea is that nothing should get in the way of distracting you from your writing process, instead it should just be a stream of conciousness as you write which you can edit later.
Drafts is a gateway app designed to let you just get writing and then decided what to do with your message. As such Drafts lets you produce your first draft before you send it off to the app you need it in. At that point you can edit it and refine it or just publish it.
Pages is the set Apple app, I could easily have included Word here as well. Pages is designed in many ways to be set up to let you revise as you go along. The inbuilt spellchecks, the options to edit the appearance and layout as you write also favor a constant revising methodology.
Editorial has some amazing functionality thanks to it's inbuilt python engine, macros, workflows and browser that allow you to do a whole load of clever functions as you write. All this takes you away from just getting your ideas out and encourage you to research and edit as you go along. As such, although it has a minimalist interface akin to many “crap first draft” apps, it is really a constantly revising application.
There are a vast array of writing apps out there all trying to offer different unique features from each other and become the ultimate writing app. However, the choice of best writing app is certainly a lot more personal than we often give it credit. My perfect writing app might not be yours.
What writings application do you use and what do you like about it?