Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

Lightweight Apps for Writing

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When you’re on the go, you want apps that are quick to open and quick to post. You want to stay away from apps that require more than three clicks. By the time you get in then, you’ll have lost your idea or train of thought.

Here are a few lightweight writing apps that are useful tools for writing on the mobile device. I’ve ranked them by the from the fastest to the slowest it takes to jot something down.

  • Drafts. It opens up a new page every time you open the app. Drafts is the Swiss Army knife of mobile note-taking. It can export in any format and to any other network. Its countless options can get complicated though.
  • Byword. It opens up into a clean, minimalist writing environment. There are less export options to share and format unless you pay an extra $5.
  • ia Writer Pro. This app is excellent for long-form distraction free writing. It offers a bunch of view and formatting options as well. It even has a syntax button so you can watch your adjectives.

You can write in Markdown in all three apps. All apps sync through Dropbox as well. The notes app on the iPhone is also an excellent free option for getting down text quickly but doesn’t offer the same exporting and formatting tools.

Lightweight apps feed the overweight apps like Evernote where information gets uploaded for archiving. You can use Evernote to take mobile notes, but it’s a bit heavier than writing on note-focused apps. It takes Evernote too long to open up a blank page.

Ideas can be ephemeral if you don’t write them down to remember them now. Start with some of the apps listed above, so you catch everything and move on.

PS: I’ll write another day about some mobile photography apps that help streamline the process, from capturing to editing to publishing.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.