The Best Note Taking App for Writers

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Ah, writing. The best and the worst thing you can love, right? There’s nothing like the feeling of putting pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—and feeling the stories flow out of you. However, there’s also nothing quite like the feeling of putting pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—to no avail.

As writers and readers ourselves at Hooked to Books, we know the constant conflicting feelings that come with it. From days filled with inspiration to days filled with writer’s block, there’s always one constant: the need to write something down anyways. So for us, that love to write, what are the best note taking app for writers

In today’s technology-based world, apps are pretty much the best. Lucky for us, there are a ton of apps built for writers that are created to minimize distractions and maximize inspiration when it comes to writing, note-taking, and general idea creating.

Note Taking App for Writers

We rounded up some of the best apps for writers available today and decided on the best of the best. Here’s everything you needed to know when it comes to finding a great note taking app for writing:

What Should You Look for in a Note Taking App?

There are tons of apps available—for instance, there are over 2 million apps available on Apple’s App Store alone—which makes digging through all of the available choices tough work. When it comes to note-taking apps, you’ll find tons of options all with unique features. It’s tough to know what you should look for in a note taking app for writers, but these should be your non-negotiables.

A basic, easy-to-use interface

Writing is a creative, in-the-mind activity, so don’t add to the already hard process by trying to use an app filled with too many bells and whistles. When looking for an app for note taking, find one with a clear interface that’s easy for you to understand. If you need to watch a 15-minute tutorial specifically to understand its use, it might not be for you.

You should like it

This might sound like a “duh!” thing to say, and it might be. However, we can’t stress how important it is that you actually like the app you choose. While being influenced to try new things is always great, just because one writer enjoys one an app doesn’t mean that you need to, too.

Note Taking App for Writers

The documents should be shareable (if you want)

Since note taking often comes to you in unexpected moments, it’s a good idea to find a note taking app that seamlessly shares to all of the devices you might use to write on. From your tablet to your computer to your phone, you should be able to pick up one device and then continue to write from another.

It should fit your project

You might be writing an epic novel or you might be taking research notes for a long-form article—so choose your note taking app accordingly! Some apps are great for long writing sessions, while some are built for shorter bursts of time. Do your research and find the best one for your current project.

Our Top Picks for Note Taking Apps for Writers

There are lots of great choices available when it comes to note taking apps for writers, but these are some of our particularly tried-and-true favorites when it comes to writing.

Ulysses

This app works for iOS users and is cross-functional for Macs, iPads, and iPhones. The workspace is really functional and, while it does have advanced features, you’ll only use them when they’re actually needed. 

The interface is distraction-free, the organization system is great, and it even gives you the chance to set daily writing goals. The app also streams to your iOS devices, making it great for note taking bouts of inspiration that hit you when you’re not at your desk.

  • Cost: Initially free, then $5.99/month or $49.99/yr.
  • Pros: It’s great for a wide variety of projects, clear interface, well-organized
  • Cons: Only works for iOS, is more expensive than some other similar apps

Bear

The Bear app, also meant for iOS users, is a great option with tons of uses available to its writers. Made for anything from jotting down thoughts to sitting down for a full writing session, this app is super personalized and allows for a wide variety of formatting for its writers. The app also includes a focus mode, advanced markup options, and encryption.

  • Cost: A free basic version, or Bear Pro for $1.49/month or $14.99/year
  • Pros: A robust basic version and cheaper pro version, personalization, well-formatted workspace
  • Cons: Only works on iOS, requires a pro subscription for encryption

Google Keep

Google Keep, which works on both Android and iOS systems, is the perfect choice for those moments when inspiration suddenly strikes. The app allows you to combine everything from written notes to voice memos and keeps them all together in one space, and is a great place to group topics, add other media forms, and keep everything in one place.

Note Taking App for Writers
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  • Cost: Free
  • Pros: Works with Android and iOS, easy to use, integrates with Google
  • Cons: Might work better for smaller projects, not incredibly organized, not as personalized as other apps

iA Writer

This writing app is exactly that—an app made specifically for writers. The no-nonsense interface is built for maximum inspiration and productivity. It is available for iOS, Windows, and Android. It’s more of a writing processor than a note taking app, but is perfect for those looking to turn their ideas into a more long-form form.

  • Cost: The app is $29.99 for Mac, $8.99 for iPad and iPhone, $19.99 for Windows, and free for Android
  • Pros: Minimalist interface, one-time price as opposed to a subscription, built for writers
  • Cons: No automatic storage, minimal extra features

The Best Note Taking App for Writers

While there are tons of apps for note taking out there, all of which benefit people differently, we have a couple of criteria for an app to be our favorite. 

  • It must be seamlessly downloadable
  • Must have an easy-to-use interface
  • Must allow for multimedia features (like uploading pictures), 
  • Be trustworthy when it comes to storage. 

For the best app for taking notes, we’re particularly partial to the ever-wonderful Evernote when it comes to a note taking app. This app is minimal, adaptable, and wide-ranging in its abilities.

Evernote is incredibly simple to use. It has an interface that makes sense and syncs with all of your other devices. A big reason why we like it so much, though? It’s incredibly adaptable and organizable, making it super ideal for everything from bulleted lists of possible character names to long-form stories to collections of image clippings.

  • Cost: There is a free version, whereas Evernote Premium is $7.99/month
  • Pros: Syncable, easy to organize, works with a variety of systems
  • Cons: Doesn’t include productivity features, isn’t automatically encrypted

Why Use Apps for Note Taking?

As writers in 2020, we’re lucky to have access to technology that helps with the process. By using a note taking app, you’re privy to an electronic collection that works on a ton of devices! 

While we still love a good pen and paper situation, finding an app that you really like is a fantastic way to elevate your writing game. With Evernote or one of our other top picks, you’ll be able to catch inspiration wherever it falls—no pen needed!

Our Favorite Pieces of Writing Inspiration:

Regardless of the note taking app you choose to use, sometimes you just need a little inspiration to get you started. Here are some of our favorite quotes on writing to have you reaching for that app in no time:

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 

― Madeleine L’Engle

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” 

― Toni Morrison

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” 

― Stephen King

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” 

― Douglas Adams

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” 

― Ernest Hemingway

When it comes to writing in 2020, we’re lucky to have things that make the process just a little bit easier. What’s your favorite writing app? We want to know, share in the comments!

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