By Iona Holloway

Cautious optimism meet writer’s block—the brick wall thumping creativity and focus into clueless mush. Rest assured beaten-down writers, technology is here to smack that concrete bitch into next weekend. Whether you’re jotting down inspiration, linking ideas, developing characters or slamming away on a very small keyboard here’s a rundown of free writing apps on the market to help you make the magic.


Drop Box

Works with: All platforms

A “Duh” but a must. Put your faith in the cloud and get your notes on Dropbox. Many of the writing apps listed below directly sync to Dropbox so this app should be number one on your download list.


A Novel Idea

Works with: iPhone, iTouch, iPad

The app is dead simple, consisting of different folders for a myriad of scenes, characters, locations and ideas. You can also store multiple novels at a time if you’re really rocking the writer socks. One big draw back is a flashing bar of ads directly above the button selection bar. A miss-tap could have you digging up the backend of the Internet on a hunt for undesirable men.



Works with: iOs, Android, Web

Think of Pocket as a stuffed-full faded-jean pocket for all your virtual research. Whether you find inspiration on Bloomberg Weekly or, cough, BuzzFeed, stuff it in your Pocket and label everything into segmented research areas.



Works with: iPhone, iPad

If even the slightest noise in the background kills your flow, PlainText is for you. You can organize your notes, add documents or just type on a plain white screen. The app’s minimalism to a tee, uses a classy serif typeface throughout, and syncs to Dropbox.



Works with: iPhone, iPad

For the visual beasts roaming the writing community nothing beats a mind map. SimpleMind+ is easy to use, differentiates idea “branches” with a rainbow of colors, and you don’t need a pesky ruler to draw the lines straight. Recommended for anyone inspired by J.K. Rowling's intricate outlines.



Works with: Android

Diaro is a cute journal app perfect for recording inspiration or plain musings. After all, Sylvia Plath was proof that diaries didn't have to be cutesy. And Diaro’s password protected so everything you write is between you and your smart phone.



Works with: iPhone, iPad

If you’re an Apple junkie and never travel without an arsenal of iProducts, download this app to turn your iPhone or iPad into an external keyboard. The app optimizes screen space and feels like your sitting at a desk. Move quick—word on app street is WriteMate won’t be free for long.



Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

No good writer quotes Wikipedia, but there’s no shame dipping a researcher toe in the watering hole. Besides, some articles must not be missed. Navigation is simple, and it’s difficult to lose stuff once you’ve found it.



Works with: All platforms

As the name may suggest Evernote is technology’s take on a notebook-turned-research assistant. You can archive research, notes, and inspiration in one handy location, plus if you’ve scribbled down something genius you can scan the document in to add to your virtual filing system. Evernote’s compatible with a world of apps so syncing everything is simple.