Updated: Jun 15
Like writing desks, coffee mugs, and fluffy writing frens, the software an author uses to write their pieces of portable magic is a unique personal choice. Whether you prefer absolutely no distractions, want something you can open anywhere at anytime, or want a powerful tool to help make sense of your brain chaos, the writing software you use can really help you craft your literary masterpiece.
Personally, I use good ole' Google Docs because I like being able to write anywhere at anytime (as long as I have an internet connection), but since all of us writers are different, I figured I'd create a helpful list of the most popular writing platforms available.
Let's dive in, shall we?
Since I already mentioned, I might as well start with ole standby, Google Docs. While it's hardly a game changer, Google Docs does everything a writer needs it do: it lets you put words in a white document, and then saves those words automatically. Oh, and it's free. Essentially, Google Docs is a free, online version of Microsoft Word, with all of the streamlined functionality you'd expect from Word, with the added benefit of being easily shared with others and stored in your Google Drive. Admittedly, it ain't that sexy, but it definitely does the trick if you're looking for a basic word processor.
While we're at it, let's chat about Google Doc's forebear, Microsoft Word. I think I probably wrote the first million words of my early writing life on Word, since it was about the only word processor software available prior to 2005, when Google ripped it off. It's still a tremendous word processor, which is why it remains one of the most used softwares in the world. It just works, which is a pretty good description of pretty much the entire Microsoft Office Suite. In total, there isn't a lot of difference between Word and Docs, except that Word isn't free in most cases. The best deal is to just purchase a subscription to Office Suite for $70/year, and enjoy your Powerpoint subscription too.
While it's not a traditional word processor, 750 Words is a truly unique writing experience. Built on the theory that writing a little bit everyday is the best way to not only get your work in progress done, but to also build some good habits, 750 Words makes it easy to do just that. Just set up an account, and then sit down and write out 750 words (approx. 3 pages) everyday, and watch your manuscript grow and grow. It also comes with some really helpful features that analyze your writing style and what sort of mood your word choices suggest about your mood.
Arguably the most successful insurgent in the word processing wars has been Scrivener. Built to compete directly with Microsoft Word and Google Docs, Scrivener completely redesigned the word processor by including many of the other tools writers so often use: index cards, corkboards, notes, outlines, research materials, etc. Scrivener puts all those tools together in an elegant writing platform that puts the writing process first. At just $49, it's a great value, especially for those writers that are always jumping from thought to thought, and section to section. Now you can have it all in one place.
While these are hardly the only word processors out there, they are the most popular and represent the majority of writers' work processes. If you want daily tips like this delivered right to your inbox, sign up for a paid subscription to My Book Sucks. Subscriptions are just $4/mo, and subscriptions are the only way we support ourselves. So, help the fam out, and sign up today!