(I’ve just published an updated and expanded version of this post. You can find it here: 20 of the Best Free Web Applications for Writers.)
Once upon a time, the typewriter was the only piece of technology a writer had to make his work easier. Now we not only have computers, but we can also access an endless array of useful writing tools on the Internet. Best of all, many of these web applications are absolutely free!
But it takes time to hunt down these apps (time you could be spending on writing), so I’ve done the work for you and put together a list of my favorites. Read on to discover 15 of the best free web applications for writers.
15 of the Best Free Web Applications for Writers
Nonfiction & Fiction Writing Tools
This distraction-free web-based writing interface is my go-to word processor when I’m not typing in Microsoft Word. In fact, I wrote up this entire post in Draft.
Draft has many cool features (view them all here) including the ability to share your documents with other users and accept or decline their changes. I also love that Draft tracks how many words you write per day and will even send out a helpful email reminding you to meet your daily word count goal. Check out Draft here.
LitLift is a wonderful web application for fiction writers that helps you write, organize, store, and share your stories. Once you create an account, you will have access to a treasure trove of easily customizable resources: plotlines, character sketches, idea generators, and much more! Check out LitLift here.
Grammarly is a proofreading tool that helps you spot grammatical errors, typos, and awkward sentences. Download the web extension and Grammarly will correct anything written in a web browser (yes, even your Tweets and Facebook updates). Though I don’t rely on Grammarly alone for my proofreading needs, it is a fast and efficient tool that I highly recommend. Check out Grammarly here.
The Hemingway Editor evaluates a piece of writing for clarity and simplicity. It calculates readability and highlights adverbs, passive voice, and dull, complicated words. This is an excellent web application for learning how to write effectively. Check out Hemingway Editor here.
This web application helps you improve your writing by measuring the readability of your text. A readability score tells you roughly what level of education someone would need in order to read your piece of text easily. Find out how easy your writing is to read. Check out Readability Score here.
In his six rules for writing, George Orwell advised, “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.” The Cliche Finder highlights cliches in your text so you can avoid trite, overused expressions in your writing. Check out Cliche Finder here.
Todoist is a task management web application that lets you create to-do lists with recurring dates and times. With Todoist, you can create a custom schedule for every single day. This is fantastic for reminding you of your daily writing goals. For example, you can schedule “writing every day at 8am” or you can create tasks that only recur on specific days, e.g., “research every Friday”. Check out Todoist here.
Trello is a fantastic web application for organizing and planning writing projects and working collaboratively. It works like an online bulletin board, allowing you to arrange all of your cards into columns. Those cards can be anything from tasks on a to-do list to scenes from your latest novel. Check out Trello here.
This productivity timer is one of the best apps out there if you’re a fan of the Pomodoro technique like I am. You can use the traditional 25-minute timer followed by pre-programmed breaks or you can customize the time.
The web application also has a handy timer history that records the exact times when you start and finish working, when you pause the timer, and when you take breaks. This is a helpful way to keep track of your hours and see how long projects take you. Check out Marinara Timer here.
Evernote is my go-to app for creating quick to-do lists, jotting down notes, and writing up blog post ideas. It even lets you take audio notes! With the Evernote Web Clipper extension, you can clip articles from across the web and save them into Evernote for quick reference while working on projects. Best of all, Evernote instantly syncs across any computer or smartphone you use. Check out Evernote here.
eBook & Graphic Design Tools
Papyrus is a simple online editor for creating ebooks in pdf, epub and kindle formats. Use the drag and drop cover designer to create a beautiful cover page in minutes. I used Papyrus to design the Famous Writers’ Productivity Hacks eBook (grab a copy of the book by joining the email list). Check out Papyrus here.
Canva is a user-friendly graphic design software with a wide range of drag and drop templates. You can use Canva to create stunning graphics for Facebook and Pinterest or design a beautiful eBook and book covers. I used Canva to design the Pinterest graphic below. Check out Canva here.
Infographics are an effective way to repurpose your blog content and present your writing in a visually captivating format. Piktochart is an easy-to-use infographic maker with a library of professionally designed templates. Check out Piktochart here.
Sometimes we just run out of ideas of what to blog about. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator helps you come up with a week’s worth of relevant blog post titles in a matter of seconds. It’s perfect when you’re facing writer’s block. Check out Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator here.
The CoSchedule headline analyzer app evaluates how well your blog post’s headline will rank in search engines. It also scores how effectively your headline will result in social shares and click-throughs. The headline analyzer is a fantastic way to hone your copywriting skills and make sure your headlines are irresistible. Check out the Headline Analyzer here.
I hope these web applications will help you with your next writing project!
Do you have any favorite apps that you would add to my list? Let me know in the comments and please share this post with someone you think would find it helpful. You can find even more writing resources here.