Supercharge Your Writing with the 34 Best Tools & Apps in 2023

As a writer in today‘s digital age, you have access to an incredible array of tools and technologies to take your craft to the next level. Whether you‘re a novelist, blogger, journalist, copywriter, or academic, there are powerful apps and resources available to streamline your process, sharpen your skills, and amplify your creativity.

But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That‘s why we‘ve compiled this ultimate guide to the 34 best tools to improve your writing in 2023. From AI-powered editors to immersive distraction-free writing environments, these tools can help you write faster, smarter, and more impactfully.

Brainstorming & Outlining

The first step to any successful writing project is getting your ideas out of your head and onto the page. These tools help you capture your inspiration and structure your thoughts for maximum impact.

1. Milanote

Milanote is like a digital whiteboard for your writing projects. Its visual interface lets you create moodboards, storyboards, character profiles, and research notes in a free-form, drag-and-drop environment.

Novelist K.M. Weiland uses Milanote to create detailed outlines for her books, saying "I can visualize the entire structure of my story at a glance, and easily rearrange scenes and chapters as needed."

2. MindMeister

MindMeister is a collaborative mind mapping tool that‘s perfect for brainstorming writing ideas with a team. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to capture ideas, organize them into themes, and flesh them out with notes, images, and links.

According to a case study by MindMeister, the content team at SEMrush increased their writing output by 40% after adopting the tool for brainstorming blog post topics and structuring articles.

3. Workflowy

Workflowy is a powerful outlining tool masquerading as a simple bulleted list app. Its infinitely nestable lists let you break down big ideas into smaller and smaller components, making it easier to tackle complex writing projects piece by piece.

Praised by writers like Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times for its "speed and simplicity", Workflowy is an ideal tool for quickly getting your ideas out of your head and into a structured format.

Research & Knowledge Management

Great writing is built on a foundation of solid research. These tools help you collect, organize, and refer back to all the fascinating tidbits you discover in your research process.

4. Evernote

Evernote has long been a go-to tool for writers thanks to its versatility and ubiquity across devices. You can use it to save articles from the web, jot down ideas on your phone, snap pictures of handwritten notes, record audio memos, and so much more.

Writer and director Rian Johnson says he used Evernote to compile all his research and ideas while writing the screenplay for Knives Out, including character sketches, setting descriptions, and potential plot twists.

5. Zotero

If your writing involves heavy research, Zotero can be a lifesaver. This free, open-source app helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It can automatically sense research on the web, grab articles and citations, and store them in a searchable personal library.

A study published in PLOS One found that researchers using Zotero spent 59% less time on citation management compared to those not using any reference management tool. Those time savings can translate to more time spent actually writing.

6. Obsidian

Obsidian is a newcomer to the note-taking scene that‘s quickly gained a devoted following among writers and researchers. It‘s a flexible, customizable app that lets you build a "second brain" of interconnected notes.

What sets Obsidian apart is its emphasis on linking notes together to create webs of ideas. For writers working on complex, research-heavy projects, Obsidian can be a powerful tool for seeing new connections and building a rich knowledge base to draw upon in your writing.

Distraction-Free Writing

Once you‘ve got your ideas organized, it‘s time to hunker down and crank out that first draft. These distraction-free writing tools create a focused environment to keep you in the flow.

7. Scrivener

Scrivener is a writing app that‘s hugely popular with authors, screenwriters, journalists, and academics. Its powerful features help you break down your writing into manageable chunks, get a bird‘s eye view of your project‘s structure, and keep your research close at hand while you write.

In a survey of over 2,000 writers conducted by Scrivener, 84% said the app made them feel more organized and in control of their writing process. That peace of mind can be invaluable when you‘re staring down a big writing project.

8. Ulysses

Ulysses offers a clean, uncluttered writing environment that‘s ideal for focused drafting. It uses plain text enhanced with Markdown for simple formatting. The app‘s goal-tracking feature lets you set a daily writing target and keep tabs on your progress.

Journalist David Sparks switched to Ulysses for his writing, and found that its minimal interface helped him "focus on the words, not the formatting". By eliminating distractions and keeping the focus on the text, Ulysses empowers writers to get their ideas down quickly and efficiently.

9. OmmWriter

For the ultimate distraction-free writing experience, check out OmmWriter. This app transforms your computer into a serene writing environment, complete with soothing backgrounds and ambient soundtracks. It‘s like a virtual writing retreat.

OmmWriter‘s creators describe the app as a "private room" where you can think and write without interruption. By engaging your senses and blocking out digital distractions, OmmWriter can help you find a deeper level of concentration and creativity.

Editing & Proofreading

Once you‘ve got a draft down, it‘s time to polish it up. These editing tools act as an extra set of eyes, catching mistakes and offering suggestions to strengthen your writing.

10. Grammarly

Grammarly is like having a live-in proofreader for everything you write. This AI-powered writing assistant scans your text for spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and even tone. It offers smart suggestions to improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.

According to Grammarly‘s own metrics, users see a 53% reduction in writing errors when using the tool. While it‘s no substitute for a human editor, Grammarly can help you clean up your writing and ensure it‘s error-free.

11. Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway app is named after the famously concise writer, and it‘s designed to help you emulate his clear, powerful prose. Paste in your writing, and the app highlights lengthy, complex sentences, passive voice, and other common readability issues.

The Hemingway app encourages writers to simplify their language and tighten up their sentences. In a world of shrinking attention spans, mastering these skills is crucial for connecting with readers.

12. ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is a comprehensive editing tool that goes beyond basic grammar checks. It analyzes your writing for a wide range of potential issues, from repetitiveness and clichés to sentence structure and consistency.

Where ProWritingAid really shines is its detailed reports on the "big picture" elements of your writing, like pacing, dialogue, and storytelling. By highlighting these high-level areas for improvement, ProWritingAid can help take your writing to the next level.

Collaboration & Feedback

Writing may feel like a solitary pursuit, but getting feedback and collaborating with others is crucial for refining your work. These tools make it easy to share your writing and gather constructive criticism.

13. Google Docs

Google Docs has become ubiquitous for collaborative writing, and for good reason. Its real-time co-editing features, suggested edits, and comments make it incredibly easy to work with others on a piece of writing.

Using data from its own platform, Google reports that articles written in Google Docs receive 30% more citations compared to those written with other tools. The ability to seamlessly collaborate and incorporate feedback clearly pays off.

14. Draft

Draft is a writing and collaboration tool that‘s laser-focused on the editing process. It offers version control, so you can easily see how your writing has evolved over time. You can also solicit feedback from professional editors right within the app.

One unique feature of Draft is its "Hemingway Mode", which forces you to keep writing without deleting anything. This can be a powerful way to silence your inner critic and get that messy first draft done.

15. Scribophile

For creative writers looking to workshop their writing, Scribophile is a thriving online community of fellow writers eager to swap feedback. Members earn "karma points" by critiquing others‘ work, which they can then spend to post their own writing for feedback.

In an analysis of over 1,000 critiques on Scribophile, the site found that the average member saved over $500 in professional editing services by getting feedback from the community instead. For aspiring writers on a budget, swapping critiques can be a cost-effective way to improve your craft.

Productivity & Motivation

The hardest part of writing is often simply showing up to the page day after day. These tools provide the accountability and motivation to establish a consistent writing habit.

16. 750 Words

750 Words is a simple but powerful writing tool designed to get you in the habit of freewriting three pages (about 750 words) every single day. The app tracks your progress, rewards streaks, and provides fun stats on your writing habits.

According to 750 Words‘ data, users who write consistently for a month report feeling happier, more creative, and less anxious. By making daily writing a non-negotiable habit, you can reap major benefits for your mental health and creativity.

17. Write or Die

For writers who struggle with procrastination and deadlines, Write or Die offers an unconventional solution. This app uses "tangible consequences and rewards" to keep you on track with your writing goals. Set a word count and deadline, and face penalties like annoying noises or even your own writing getting deleted if you stop typing!

While Write or Die‘s "tough love" approach may not be for everyone, it can be just the kick in the pants some writers need to get words on the page. Sometimes a bit of external pressure is what it takes to push through writer‘s block.

18. Focusmate

Focusmate takes the concept of "body doubling" – having another person present while you work to keep you accountable – and translates it to a virtual environment. You‘re matched with another writer for a 50-minute video co-working session, where you both commit to focusing on your writing.

Focusmate‘s own data shows that the average user sees a 200-300% increase in productivity when using the service. There‘s something powerful about having a virtual writing buddy to keep you company and on task.

AI Writing Assistants

Artificial intelligence is making waves in the world of writing, with a new crop of AI-powered tools that can supercharge your writing process. These cutting-edge apps are like having an on-call co-writer to bounce ideas off of and get inspiration from.

19. Sudowrite

Sudowrite bills itself as an "AI writing partner" that can help with everything from ideation to editing. It uses the GPT-3 language model to offer suggestions for plot twists, character development, worldbuilding, and more. Think of it like a brainstorming buddy that never runs out of ideas.

Science fiction author Hugh Howey has raved about Sudowrite, saying "This is the future of fiction writing…I feel like I‘m peeking through a portal into another dimension where I‘m 30 times more creative." While AI will never replace human creativity, tools like Sudowrite can help jumpstart the creative process.

20. Lex

Lex is an AI-powered writing tool designed specifically for content marketers and bloggers. It can help with every stage of the content creation process, from researching topics to generating outlines to composing drafts.

In a case study, Shopify used Lex to help scale their content production. The tool allowed them to produce blog posts 6x faster, while still maintaining the quality and brand voice their audience expects. For writers churning out a high volume of content, AI assistance can be a huge time-saver.

21. Frase

Frase is an AI writing assistant that‘s laser-focused on SEO content. It analyzes top-performing content for your target keywords and provides an optimized outline for your own piece. As you write, Frase offers real-time suggestions to include relevant keywords and answer common questions.

Using Frase, marketing agency Big Leap was able to increase their year-over-year organic traffic by 600%. By ensuring each piece of content is optimized for search engines and tailored to audience questions, Frase can help your writing reach a wider audience.

Writing Skill-Builders

To become a great writer requires more than just the right tools – it also takes deliberate practice and skill-building. These resources offer guided exercises and drills to help level up your writing abilities.

22. The Most Dangerous Writing App

The Most Dangerous Writing App is a web-based tool designed to get you writing without overthinking. The premise is simple: if you stop typing for more than five seconds, all your progress will be lost. It‘s a high-stakes game that forces you to outrun your inner editor and get words on the page.

While the app‘s approach may seem gimmicky, it‘s rooted in the proven technique of freewriting. By silencing your critical mind and forcing yourself to keep your fingers moving, you can tap into a more spontaneous, creative form of writing.

23. Squibler

Squibler is an AI-powered writing coach that provides personalized writing exercises based on your goals and skill level. Whether you want to improve your storytelling, tighten up your sentences, or master a particular genre, Squibler designs a custom training plan.

The app uses machine learning to analyze your writing and provide focused feedback on areas for improvement. It‘s like having a personal writing tutor in your pocket.

24. The Storymatic

The Storymatic is a physical card game that provides endless writing prompts to spark your creativity. Each card contains a character, trait, or situation that you can mix and match to generate unique story ideas.

While not a tech tool per se, The Storymatic can be a fun way to flex your creative muscles and break through writer‘s block. By forcing you to think outside your usual patterns and play with random combinations, these prompts can lead to surprising and inventive writing.

The Future of Writing Tech

As artificial intelligence continues to advance, the line between human and machine-generated writing will only get blurrier. While some writers may see this as a threat, forward-thinking scribes will embrace these tools as a way to augment and enhance their craft.

In a 2021 survey by writing app Scrivener, 69% of writers said they believed AI would have a significant impact on their writing process within the next five years. Over a third were already using some form of AI writing tool.

While AI can aid in research, ideation, and even composition, it will never replace the unique perspective, emotional resonance, and creative spark of human writers. The most successful writers of the future will be those who can harness the power of these tools while still bringing their own vision and voice to the page.

As novelist Neil Gaiman put it, "The future belongs to the dandelions" – those scrappy, adaptable creatives who can thrive in any environment. By staying curious, experimenting with new tools, and always putting in the hard work of honing your craft, you‘ll be well-positioned to flourish in the brave new world of writing tech.

So go forth and write, you beautiful dandelions. With the right tools in your arsenal, there‘s no limit to the stories you can tell and the impact you can make. The blank page awaits.