The Ultimate Apps to Use for Productive Writing

“What’s your writing setup?” My friend asked.

Each writer has different rituals and setup. It largely depends on the writer’s personality, tech preferences, and the type of writing. For instance, my friend Erwin bought a laptop that doubles as a tablet when he ventured into blogging and freelance writing. It’s a ten-inch laptop with a less powerful processor — perfect for writing on the go.

South Writers League Co-founder, Len Cristobal, likes to go old school. She keeps all her notes from meetings to brainstorming sessions on a leather-bound notebook. She doesn’t like to use many apps like I do. But besides being a great writer, she’s also a graphic savant, always matching her words with pretty pictures. Because of that, she uses a more advanced photo editing tool.

As for me, I like to keep things digital. That’s why I love my Note 4, as it allows me to use my own handwriting and still keep everything digital.

Besides my Note 4, here are the other tools I use when I’m writing for my blog and for my clients.

You might not end up using these apps. Or you might like some of them. Please feel free to incorporate ones that you believe might work for you!

Ommwriter for Writing the First Draft (Mac, Windows)

screen shot of ommwriter on mac
Here’s a screenshot of Ommwriter when I was writing this post.


Writing the first draft involves a lot of resistance and uncertainty. How do I start? What if the article sucks? I’m the worst writer in the world. These are some of the thoughts running in my head, as I begin a new writing assignment. I’m sure you’ve had these thoughts as well. These negative thoughts are even magnified if you see some words that are highlighted in red.

What’s great about Ommwriter is that it allows you to focus on simply getting your ideas down without editing it. It almost feels like a typewriter. It doesn’t highlight misspelled words in red, letting you focus on your message. You can read my full review here.

Microsoft Word for Developmental Editing (Mac, Windows)

When I think I already have everything written down. All the points I want to raise. All the examples I want to illustrate. The necessary facts and figures that need to support my ideas. I copy and paste the draft from Ommwriter to a Microsoft Word file. Then I start criticizing my work.

During this process, I usually look for:

  • better ways to organize the paragraphs
  • missing content that I need to add
  • correcting typos, misspellings and sentence structure


Ginger for Proofreading (Safari, Google Chrome)

Screen Shot ginger for editing


When I’m satisfied, I copy and paste the edited work on Ginger.  While Word catches most of the punctuation and grammatical mistakes such as subject-verb agreements, I use Ginger to check word choice and the use of prepositions. As a writer, my weakness is using prepositions. It is available as a free plugin for Safari and Chrome. You can read my post from Make Tech Easier on how to install and use it.

As much as possible, I try to let my work breathe for at least a day. This way when I read it the next day, I see the content with a fresh set of eyes. I don’t do any developmental editing (structure and content) anymore. I just watch out for typos and grammatical errors.

Other apps I use to help me write:

Howler Timer for Mac 


I break down the writing assignment in smaller tasks: research, writing the draft, and editing. I try my best to allot a specific time for each stage. For instance, if I’m writing a 500-word article, I may need 15 to 30 minutes to research. Using a timer is a great productivity tool, as it always keeps you aware that the clock is ticking. Instead of aimlessly Googling a bunch of information about your topic, you are focused on which details really matter. Consider it like a game! Sometimes I would pretend as a bomb expert. I would finish the task before the timer runs out, or else my computer would explode.

This is a free tool where you can track all of your projects. As a freelancer, it’s important for me to determine how many hours I spend on each project. Checking the monthly reports each month allows me to adjust my schedule and rates accordingly.

Are you a writer or planning to become one? What’s your current setup? Please comment below which app you’d like to incorporate into your own writing routine!


***Featured image from 30 Rock

Irene Chan

Irene Chan

Irene Chan loves two things: communication and technology. With this tech blog and her role as Head of Communications at Veems, she believes she has the best job in the world. 🙂 Besides those two things, she's also crazy for coffee, dogs, and zombies.Follow her on Veems to get tips and fun updates from her geeky life.
Irene Chan