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7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone

7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone

If you want to be able to do something that you love and also be able to do it well, you need to reduce the friction between thought and action. In other words, if you want to be a writer, you need to have the tools that facilitate writing at your disposal.

Now some will argue that you just need a plain ol’ text editor and the gumption to write every day to make your way as a writer, but finding a handful of tools that can help you along the way can’t hurt.

I write a lot on my iPhone. It seems strange to some people, but I have found that I can type super-fast on the touchscreen keyboard. And because of that I do a lot of outlining, writing, and editing on my iPhone. Below are 10 tools for writing on your iPhone.

    TextExpander Touch

    If you thought that text expansion on your desktop was cool, it makes typing on your mobile device a dream come true. If you don’t know, TextExpander Touch is an app that allows you to program short snippets of text as ways to expand to anything you want.

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    Say you want to program your address. You can make a snippet like “addr” expand to your entire address, even with line breaks. TextExpander can definitely help speed up your writing and it also works with around 50 other iOS apps.

      Elements

      This is a simple plain-text editor for iOS that syncs your text files to Dropbox. Elements has auto-saving, word-count, line-count, a scratchpad, TextExpander Touch support, ability to view, create, and edit Markdown files, and much more.

      This is an excellent app if you are a plain-text file nerd like me and has some great features that will keep you interested in using it.

        Notesy for Dropbox

        Yet another plain-text editor that syncs to Dropbox. Some of the extra things that I like about Notesy is that it has the option to preview Markdown files with your own custom CSS, enhanced search, subfolders, and option to view links, like phone numbers, pages, etc.

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        In general I like the overall look and feel of Notesy as well and feel that this is my favorite plain-text editor on the iPhone as of late.

          Nebulous Notes

          The last of the plain-text editors that I will mention today. Nebulous is nice for theming your writing with different fonts, font-color and backgrounds. Something that is unique to Nebulous is that it has a nifty “scrollable bar” on top of the standard keyboard that you can place different characters and macros on like tabs, asterisks, date functions, etc.

          If you want to type something up fast, coupling the programmable functions of Nebulous and coupling it with TextExpander is an awesome way to go.

            (CarbonFin) Outliner

            You’ve got to have a way to outline your ideas before you start writing and one of the easiest ways to do it on iPhone is with CarbonFin Outliner. Outliner gives you a nice interface to make parent and children items, search your entire outline, move items with drag and drop, gives notes to outline items, and much more.

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            Syncing is sort of a pain as you have to use CarbonFin’s website rather than a simpler Dropbox sync. But, for outlining on your iPhone there isn’t anything better.

              iThoughts

              What kind of writer would you be if you couldn’t carry around your mind maps with you at all times? iThoughts makes it easy to mind-map from you iPhone and has a pretty unique and intuitive interface. Adding items to your maps is easy and also adding children and siblings is as simple as double-tapping the return key or spacebar.

              iThoughts has a ton of features to it and really is a full-fledge mind-mapping suite.

                Day One

                Day One is a neat little “diary or logging application”. We spoke about the benefits of logging your day recently and this app can help you do it with ease. Day One is built to make logging super fast with a click of the “plus” button to add a new entry. I use it almost like my own private Twitter. Anything I am thinking internally I just jot it down.

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                Day One can be synced via Dropbox and it also has a nifty reminder system to help you remember to journal something. Oh, and of course to hide your dear diary entries Day One includes a passcode lock.

                Removing the friction of writing is extremely important if you want to get good at it. These seven apps are what I consider to be the “best of the best” when it comes to planning and writing on your iPhone. Let us know in the comments of any other apps that help you write while you are mobile.

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                CM Smith

                A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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                Last Updated on January 2, 2020

                How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

                How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

                Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

                Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

                But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

                Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

                Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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                Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

                It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

                1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

                They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

                To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

                2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

                Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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                Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

                3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

                Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

                Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

                4. Be Who You Are

                It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

                You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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                You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

                Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

                5. Slow Down and Let Go

                Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

                Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

                Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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                So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

                When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

                The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

                Final Thoughts

                What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

                To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

                If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

                More About Stepping Out of Comfort Zone

                Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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