Let me start with a minor brag.
The other day, I found a writing app I’ve never heard of before. Upon trying it out (for like, a minute and a half), I knew this was it! This was the writing app I’ve been waiting for all my life! (More about the app to follow shortly.)
Anyhow, excited as I was, I promptly started jotting down some ideas on this shiny new app. These ideas soon started to take form, and before I knew it, it became a short essay of a sort. I was so over the moon that I decided to pitch it to the editor of one of my favorite online publications, whom I’ve never pitched to before because I was certain of my lacking skills.
Lo and behold, within the hour, I heard back from the editor, and my story was on their website the very next morning, next to writers I’ve looked up to all these years but never thought I could catch up to.
Yeah, I’m totally bragging, but more importantly, I feel as though maybe, finally, I’m on my way to becoming a real writer. And it all starts with this writing app - my new lucky charm!
So now, all brags aside, let me introduce you to le writing app - Reedsy.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s totally free?
No? Well, there you go. It’s FREE!
The need for a writing app
Let’s start with a bit of context.
A couple of years ago, when I first started blogging, I did it the traditional way –I started a WordPress blog–this blog. It’s all good. In fact, this blog is doing rather well. When it comes to writing and publishing new blog posts, I do it right here on the WordPress editor. The reason is that I’m terrible when it comes to organizing in the digital sphere.
Other writers talk about organizing folders by years and months, while I nod (or is it shake?) my head like a goldfish. Honestly, I’m perfectly happy with typing up my posts in the platform’s editor.
So, a couple of months ago, when I decided to branch out and start writing for different publications, suddenly, I had a problem in my hands. Two problems, if I’m to be specific.
Writing, and then organizing.
Yeah, you guessed it. I needed a writing app!
A list of failed attempts at trying to find the perfect writing app
Reedsy isn’t the first writing app I tried, and I don’t know why because it’s been around for a while.
Nobody told me about it, and even when I Googled it, for some reason, I glossed over this app and moved on to things that looked and sounded familiar.
Reedsy wasn’t familiar, but Ulysses was. And as it turned out, Ulysses wasn’t meant for us basic bitches who use Windows PCs. With my resentment renewed towards all things Mac, I turned to the most Windows-y writing app there is — OneNote.
OneNote was almost perfect until it wasn’t.
- The capability of creating notebooks, sections, and pages. This was neat because I figured I could create different notebooks for different years, and then use different “sections” for different publications, and then use the “page” feature inside sections for each new article. In short, I loved the organizational capabilities of this software.
But that’s about it.
- No Grammarly integration. I mean, they did it with MS Word, so why not OneNote? It makes zero sense to me. Some writers don’t give a shit, but I do. I’ve got to have my Grammarly!
- Clunky platform. The user interface is annoying, and the user experience is non-existent.
- Did I say how annoying it is?
Angry, frustrated, and almost defeated, I turned to the next app - Scrivner.
One word - UGLY.
Yes, I want my writing app to look GORGEOUS so that every time I open it, it makes me want to type! Scrivner did the exact opposite, so no! It took me a grand total of three and a half minutes to install and uninstall that app. I didn’t even bother to give it a test run because what’s the point? It’s UGLY!
My next attempt at finding the perfect writing app took me to this beautiful app called iA Writer. It had similar organizational capabilities as OneNote, but the interface was way, way better!
I really wanted to love this app but didn’t for the following reasons:
- The formatting functionalities were limited. Some may find this useful or even attractive, but I like it when things are pretty. Big headers, smaller subheaders, formatted quotations, you get the gist. iA Writer got rid of most of those in the spirit of minimalism, which I can appreciate. But it was just a tad too minimalist for my tastes.
- No Grammarly integration. That one killed it for me.
Evernote, Microsoft Word, and a bunch of other sub-par apps
Evernote is great, but again, I’m not too fond of it for writing. Just not all that stylish, to be honest. I tried many other programs, but honestly, I wasn’t feeling it with any of them.
MS Word was my last option. It is worlds better than OneNote in terms of ease of use, user experience, intuitiveness, etc. Sure, it isn’t ideal, but it was the best I could think of.
And while I was testing all these apps, I was also starting to realize exactly the kind of app I was looking for — something I didn’t know when the search first commenced.
My ideal writing app
- I need to have a good looking writing interface (the lack of which was the reason I hated OneNote or Scrivner).
- Grammarly integration.
- Formatting options are important to me. Not too many (unlike OneNote or MS Word where there are way too many options), but just enough, such as the options to add titles, headers, subheaders, quotes, lists, etc. (think: the Medium writing/editing interface.)
- Nested organizational capability.
- Preferably an online app, or an app with its own storage system (cloud, perhaps?)
In short, I love the Medium writing environment, and I realized that if someone could add nested organizational capabilities to Medium’s writing/editing interface, I’d have my perfect writing app.
But there was no such app to be found.
And just when I was about to give up, I decided to do one last Google search for the best writing apps who knows why. That’s when I finally discovered Reedsy, and I was a convert within a short few minutes!
What is Reedsy and how it works
It is my ideal writing app. It has all the qualities I was looking for. Let’s go over them one at a time.
Ease of use
This is a web-based app, and it stores everything you write on their server. Because it is a web-based app, you can use it on any machine with any operating system. This is exactly what I had hoped to find on my ideal writing app, and Reedsy delivered.
Very fancy looking
I love a good looking writing interface. It motivates me to keep writing.
The left sidebar is where you have all your parts and chapters (for book writers; as a blogger/freelancer, you can use the same features for organizing your articles by date or publication or genre, whatever have you.)
The right panel is where you have the tools. You can add images or endnotes from here, split a chapter, find and replace words, etc. In short, some very handy features without the clutter.
Easy formatting capabilities
Much like on Medium, you can select a part of the text to open up the formatting options. As you can see in the image above, you have the usual options — different headers, bold, italic, underscored texts, linking, inserting codes, inserting quotes, etc. In addition, you also have a couple more options for adding subscripts or superscripts, strikethrough text, and even comments (the platform allows you to collaborate with others.)
Not too much, but just enough. I like that you have three different header options, and the strikethrough text is a nice touch.
As I said before, the app was designed for book authors. So you have the ability to add different books, and then within a book, you can add parts and chapters.
Think of it this way:
If a “book” is your main folder, then a “part” is a sub-folder inside your main folder. And the “chapters” are individual files inside the sub-folders (see the image above.)
As a blogger and freelance writer, this is awesome because I can use these nested organizational capabilities however I see fit. I usually create a “book” for a certain genre (for example, I have a book called “Essays,” another book called “Flash-Fic.”) You can create books by dates if you like to organize your writing that way. The options are limitless!
Export and backup
I get it; you’re writing using an online app, which happens to be free. What if something happened? What if you lost all your work?
Well, fear not, because Reedsy allows you to export your work in multiple formats. As a blogger and freelance writer, I like that I can easily export my “books” as PDF document and/or .docx format that I can easily edit in MS Word. This way, I can save a copy of my work on my computer, or in an external storage/cloud storage of choice.
Additionally, if you’re writing an actual book, you can export it as a .epub or .mobi file type.
Pretty neat, yea?
Here, I made a video showing you how I use Reedsy to organize my writing; check it out!
Maybe you already have an app you love. Maybe it’s Ulysses, who knows?! Not that I could ever verify the superiority of one over the other, not unless I plan on moving over to the Mac-verse. And that is precisely why I won’t!
Reedsy, on the other hand, can be used by anyone, on any device, with any OS. Now that’s freedom, and as a blogger and an up and coming freelance writer (maybe…), freedom is of utmost importance to me. So is the ability to organize, use Grammarly, and write on a pretty interface. Reedsy delivers, and as long as it does, I’m sticking with it.
And I love that it’s totally free!
So, do you have a favorite writing app? Which one? Don’t tell me it’s Ulysses! OK, sure, go ahead and tell me it is Ulysses, but whateva! Why do you like it and what’s unique about it? Let me know in the comments!
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