Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Must-Have App for Writers!!!

I know not everyone has an if you don't and you're a writer, I'm about to make you really, REALLY wish you had one. :-)

Since the dawn of smart phones, I've been on the lookout for a phone that would allow me to work on my manuscript. It seems like a crazy way to work, but I was imagining all the times I was stuck at boring sports events or waiting at a doctor's office... All I needed was a way to write a few paragraphs here and there, then import them once I got back to my computer.

First, in the Sprint store, I eyed what was then called a "pocket PC." The pocket PC had both Word and Excel on it. I can't even remember why I decided against it but I ended up going with Sprint's iPhone imitation for a couple of years, which of course had NO apps for writing on your phone (or anything else, for that matter). Finally, this year, I got the iPhone and, after a few months, realized there was nothing I could possibly want to do in this world that I couldn't do on my phone. Including, WRITE!

A tiny bit of research led me to Manuscript for iPhone*:

It wasn't free...$3.99 to be exact. I'm the type who HATES to pay for anything on my phone but after reading the reviews, I couldn't resist. I pressed the "Buy Now" button and within seconds, I was writing.


(Can you sense the giddiness I felt over this?)

With so many people buying iPads, it makes sense to have an app like this...but I figure if I want to be able to write on my phone, others probably do, too. Manuscript is more than a notepad, also allows you to outline, do research, or just type out a few little notes about your future progress. It even creates a cheap little mock-up of your work in progress:

Your work will look like this:

When you're finished, you can e-mail a copy of your manuscript to yourself or you can export it via Dropbox...a handy little app that allows you to sync your phone with any computer where you have your Dropbox app installed. As soon as you finish exporting your work to your dropbox, a box pops up on your computer telling you a new document has been added. You never even have to hook your phone up to your computer. It's like a wireless jump drive. (And it's free.)

Okay, so writing on one's phone isn't for everyone. But, for me, it beats having to drag a notebook around to write longhand. People tend to give you really strange looks when you're writing longhand these days. Having your nose buried in your phone while your thumb moves over a keyboard isn't quite as attention-getting these days! Plus, when you work at a job (as I do) that often requires you to sit at someone's computer for as much as 20 minutes at a time, waiting for software to load, you need SOMETHING to occupy your time.

If you're interested in Manuscript for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, it's available here: And, no, I'm not being compensated in any way for writing about this. I just LOVE it and want to help out other writers who are as compulsive about writing as I am!

*Images courtesy of the iTunes store.


  1. I have a netbook that fits in my purse and I really don't mind writing longhand, so I'm definitely still not coveting an iPhone (or the bill that comes with it!). But that is a nice feature.

    I don't think, though, that I've ever had an urge to write at a sports event. :-)

  2. Ok, totally jealous now! I don't have sprint as a carrier due to the fact that they are secondary to verizon where i live and we all know verizon doesn't handle the iphone line:(

    That would be simply amazing to have that app though!

    I am stuck with long hand and you are right, it DOES get some strange looks today! That is why I choose cool covers and journal type books to write in:)

  3. AT&T handles iPhone. Sprint's iPhone knockoff sucked. The Droid might have an app like this, though...I know they are developing more and more for Droids.

    It's a shame we live in a society where staring at your phone for hours seems like nothing odd, but God forbid you be reading a paperback novel or writing longhand in a journal.

  4. I just downloaded this for my iPod. Thanks for the suggestion. Can't wait to give it a go! - G

  5. WOW! well dang -- but I do have a mini netbook that fits in my purse- like renee wrote.

    I am still eyeing Kindles - thought I feel a traitor for doing so *laugh*

    (hey, sorry about that what you wrote in your comment on my blog - that's not an easy thing (understatement) to go through whether you are the child or the wife/mother . . .hugs)

  6. Hi Steph! That app is awesome!! I don't have a smart phone, but it makes me want to go out and get one. I'm constantly shuttling my kids places. Thanks for the tip.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  7. That sounds great. I have managed to do alot of blog writing on my blackberry but it is somewhat inconvenient. I have been wanting an iphone for my next phone. As I move towards real writing in the near future, I will keep this in mind.

  8. as cool as that sounds, I don't think writing on my cell phone is for me; I'll probably go for the ipad. I have the Instinct from sprint & right now I like it but touch screen was hard for me to get used to and there does come a time when I just want to put it all down and read a paper back or write in a notebook! =)

  9. This is great info-- I just read your post to my daughter (I'm visiting in Sacramento) who has an iphone. Meanwhile, I'm checking into new phones for the Center of the Universe and me, and this will be a consideration! Thanks!

  10. Interesting. I'm going to see what they've got for the Android OS.

  11. Score one for increases in personal productivity. Nice find Steph.

  12. Hey, any way you can write, right?! Good for you for finding a great tool to write anywhere with. Enjoy!

  13. That's awesome! I've always just used the little notebook that it comes with and re-typed it once I got to my computer again. Unfortunately, I only have the iTouch, which rarely ever has a WiFi connection to email my stuff. The iPhone has yet to become a universal phone and I have T-Mobile. Pity :)