best free writing apps for ipad

Here is a detailed post about the Best Free Writing Apps For Ipad. Suppose you are looking for best writing apps for ipad pro. Then reading this article may help. It also includes writing apps for ipad for students​​.

If you need help with your writing needs, then you should find the best writing apps for iPad. The App Store is filled with numerous apps that can help you create and edit your documents. However, choosing the best writing apps for the iPad can prove to be a real challenge. And your time is invariably better spent writing rather than procrastinating about what app to buy or try.

That’s why we have come up with the best writing apps available for iOS and iPad. Rely on these apps to help you when working on your next book, blog post or article. You can also use some of these as note-taking apps.

best writing apps for ipad pro

Best Free Writing Apps For Ipad

1. Byword

Byword Logo

Byword is one of the newer apps available for the iPad. The app can open all of your text documents across all Apple products, including the Mac, iPhone and iPad.

With this writing tool, you can also edit your documents even when you are offline. The app can convert files into PDF and HTML formats for easy editing.

Finally, people also love the app because you can multitask with it. Byword allows you to split your screen, helping you quickly move between documents if necessary. Its dark mode makes it more comfortable on your eyes.Byword

2. Notebook


Notebook was designed by a company called Zoho. This is one of the strongest all-around writing apps for the iPad. It even won “Best App of the Year” back in 2016.

Like a typical word processor, you can use Zoho to add and edit spreadsheets, documents and PDFs. The app even allows you to scan documents, so you have a soft copy of them.

You can store your work on your iCloud and access them on other Apple devices. Notebook is one of the best free writing apps for iPad.Notebook

3. IA Writer

IA Writer logo
iA Writer

Also available on iOS, iA Writer is a simple, intuitive writing app that has a short learning curve. This app has even won “Best App” on the App Store four separate times.

People love iA Writer because it has something called Focus Mode. A distraction free writing environment, it will dim everything on the screen except the current line that you are editing.

The app can even mark your mistakes, repetitive words and weak verbiage, helping you become a stronger writer. You can even customize writing templates and publish them on WordPress. It will also sync your writing to iCloud or Dropbox.

I use iA Writer for writing short articles in full-screen on my iPad Pro. I’ve also occasionally used it on various iOS devices like my iPhone over the years. It supports Markdown.iAWriter

4. Simplenote

Simpleenote on a mobile

Simplenote is the ideal writing app to knock out your writing assignments quickly. This app allows you to type, record your voice, record videos, and more. It works well if you like plain text.

You can also set reminders, change the color of your text, change its size, and change the font entirely.

Furthermore, you can link Simplenote to your social media accounts and share your notes with your friends. You can also access Simplenote via a web browser.

While this app is not compatible with Bluetooth, it can sync to iCloud, allowing you to share your documents across multiple devices. Unfortunately, it no longer syncs to Dropbox.

This was one of my preferred note-taking apps for several years. Lately, I use notes on iOS instead. That said, both are good.Simplenote

5. Notability


Notability is a strong writing app for the iPad. This app was even selected as the “Editor’s Choice” app when it first came out.

This is a great app for students, teachers and professionals. It has a user interface that’s easy to follow. You can use Notability to secure important notes with password protection as well.

You can even sign documents on this app.

People love Notability for the multi-note feature. This allows you to list two documents side by side and work on them simultaneously.

There is even a word counter tool along with numerous other customization options.Notability

6. Evernote

Evernote on a mobile

Evernote is one of the most popular writing apps for the iPad.

This app has been designed to help you focus on your most important tasks and leave distractions behind. Evernote is meant to help you organize your documents, dictate your notes, and convert them into text.

You can even use Evernote to discuss issues and chat with your friends.

Finally, you can also annotate PDF documents, sync Evernote across all of your devices, and access valuable storage space.Evernote

7. Goodnotes

A laptop computer sitting on top of a table
Goodnotes for Mac

Goodnotes is one of the top writing apps for the iPad. Its vector engine helps you precisely and fluently write on the screen. Everything in Goodnotes is searchable, allowing you to pick up easily where you left off

Goodnotes lets you sync your documents to the iCloud. Then, you can access them on different devices. There is even a shape tool that allows you to draw on the app itself.Goodnotes

8. OneNote

Onenote logo

OneNote is a classic Microsoft app that has made its way to the iPad. This app allows you to create texts, sketches and more. This app even allows you to quickly jot down thoughts you want to remember for later.

People love OneNote because it allows you to edit your texts, record voice notes, save images and take videos. While OneNote does have some complex features that are meant for professionals, this app can be used by anyone.OneNote

9. Ulysses

Ulysses icon

Ulysses is a writing app designed for Apple products, including the iPad, and has been designed to help creative writers customize their writing experience to meet their needs.

Ulysses features a clean, distraction-free user interface that helps you focus on the words in front of you. Ulysses also comes with a text editor, helping you mark headlines, key passages and comments. It will sync your writing to iCloud or Dropbox. It’s more feature-rich than its competitor iA Writer.

This app is good for bloggers who have many writing projects in production, as you can organize them using tags and folders. You can also set target word-counts.

It also comes with a typewriter mode that vertically fixes the current line on which you are working. It also supports Markdown. Finally, you can also set benchmarks in terms of words or characters, helping you stick to your deadlines.Ulysses



Nebo is an app that comes with advanced tools and customizable features. The app is only available on the iPad and lets you create and edit documents using the Apple Pencil.

A highlighting feature helps you track important sentences and phrases in your documents. Nebo even lets you edit your PowerPoint files.

If you need to add charts and formulas to your documents, Nebo can handle this as well.Nebo

11. Scrivener

Scrivener logo

Scrivener is my preferred writing app of choice for longer articles like a book thanks to its many export options and advanced self-editing tools. Think of it as a powerful word-processor rather than as simply another minimalist writing app.

It works quite well with an iPad Pro, and is great for organising complicated writing projects. However, it’s more expensive than some of the other writing apps for iPad listed in this article.

You can sync a manuscript to Dropbox and work on it when back at your Apple Mac. It offers a comparable writing experience to Ulysses. Unfortunately, Scrivener doesn’t support Markdown which may put off some bloggers.Scrivener

The Final Word On The Best Writing Apps For IPad

In the end, you can find many different iPad writing apps. If you’re looking for the best writing apps for iPad, then these apps might be able to help you expedite your writing process.

And if you don’t writing exclusively on iPad, check out my guide to the best writing apps across all devices.

Then find one the App store and start writing!

Is Writing On An Apple IPad Hard?

I use an Apple iPad Pro to occasionally write short articles on the go. It’s comparative to writing on a laptop, and it’s gotten easier now that the latest iPad keyboard includes a trackpad. That said, I still prefer editing larger projects on iMac as I can tab between windows faster. Writing on an iPad using only the screen is harder however.

Which IPad Is Best For Writers?

if you can afford it, I’d recommend buying the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. The screen looks fantastic and it’s a joy to use. If budget is an issue or you expect to travel, opt for the 11 inch. That said, you can easily write using an iPad Air.

Can You Use An IPad To Write A Book?

You can easily use an iPad to write the first draft of book using one of the apps in this article paired with a keyboard. However, for self-editing a book, I’d recommend using a computer or laptop and a Mac app, as it’s more efficient when working with multiple manuscripts and feedback from an editor.

Are IPads Good For Writing?

Yes they are assuming you buy a keyboard. An iPad is portable. It’s also ideal for a minimalist distraction-free writing environment meaning you can take with you and write wherever, whenever. Just remember to buy a keyboard by Logitech or Apple.

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Free Writing: A Super Simple How To Guide

17 Comments / By Bryan

Freewriting guide

What is free writing and how can it help you become a better writer?

Free writing is one of the most effective writing techniques I’ve come across. You don’t need to learn any special skills either. Anyone can use free writing to improve their craft. 


What Is Free Writing?

Free writing is the rapid and non-judgemental capturing of ideas as they occur.

Writers use this technique to express themselves, to better understand the world around them, and to think ideas through on the blank page.

It’s useful for fiction and non-fiction writers alike who want to refine their writing skills.

In his excellent book, Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best, Ideas, Insight and Content Mark Levy best explains what free writing is:

Free writing is a fast method of thinking onto paper that enables you to reach a level of thinking that’s often difficult to attain during the course of a normal business day.

Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content

Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Levy, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 205 Pages – 08/09/2010 (Publication Date) – Berrett-Koehler Publishers (Publisher)

Buy on Amazon

Why Free Write?

Even if you’re not a business person, you can still use free writing to generate ideas, to practice writing, and to improve your craft.

This writing technique can help you if you’re struggling with writer’s block, if you want push through a boundary in your writing, or if you want to explore creative ideas at the back of your mind.

If you haven’t written that much, free writing can help you get into the habit of writing, and it will provide you with a fresh perspective on your ideas and what you want to say.

For the more experienced, the practice of free writing is fun to try if you’re bored with your current writing project or you want to push yourself harder.

I use free writing for:

  • Brainstorming articles
  • Writing journal entries
  • Explore stream of consciousness ideas 
  • Taking a break from formal writing

How To Free Write

Free writing is easy. All you have to do is pick a topic and write about it continuously for a predetermined period. You can use it for blogging, writing a first draft or for other creative writing. 

1. Write Without Self-Editing

Free writing only works if you don’t question or criticize every sentence, idea and story that you put down on the blank page.

Instead, let the words flow freely from your fingers onto the page without pausing or questioning what you are saying.

Then, when you’ve finished your free writing for the day, spend time polishing, buffing and making your prose shine.

2. Time Your Free Writing Sessions

To get the most from free writing, apply this technique during concentrated, sustained and timed bursts of creativity.

This practice works best if you’re working against a limit. To do this, I set an alarm on my computer for 25–30 minutes, and I disconnect from the internet.

Then, I start writing and keep going until the alarm sounds.

3. Write What’s On Your Mind

Free writing enables you to follow a train of thought in new and exciting directions. Some of these directions may be dead-ends, but they’re still worth exploring.

When you’re practicing, record what you’re thinking or if you feel distracted – it doesn’t matter if it’s unrelated to the topic you’re writing about.

These could include:

  • The sound of a dog barking
  • A desire to get something to eat or drink
  • The creaking pipes in your house
  • A conversation you had with a colleague recently
  • A line of thought you want to explore
  • An argument you had with someone
  • A conversation you want to have with a friend

If it helps, consider using a free writing prompt.

4. Write For Short And Long Periods

If you’re struggling to achieve a breakthrough, free write for longer periods without taking a break. 

Yes, this is mentally and physically demanding but you don’t have to do it often, and it will help you break through those difficult barriers every writer faces at some point.

The first time I tried free writing I found it hard to get going, but when I mixed up session durations it became much easier.

5. Keep Your Hand Moving

This piece of free writing advice comes from Natalie Goldberg’s practical book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.

An advocate of free writing, or writing practice, she recommends “keeping your hand moving.”

Self-criticism has no place in a free writing session. When you free write, don’t worry about:

  • Bad grammar or spelling
  • Editing yourself
  • Structure or form
  • Expressing your ideas logically
  • Rules you normally follow
  • Fact-checking or research
  • Self-censorship

Don’t take your fingers from the keys until you’re finished writing.

If you prefer a pen, this means keeping the pen pressed between your fingers. And if you like to dictate your writing, keep the dictaphone recording until you’re done.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, 2nd Edition

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, 2nd Edition

  • Goldberg, Natalie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages – 12/06/2005 (Publication Date) – Shambhala (Publisher)

Buy on Amazon

6. Maintain A List Of Topics

I use Notes on my Mac to arrange my writing.

Inside Evernote, I keep a notebook of topics that I want to free write about. Examples include ideas for short stories, sentence fragments, blog posts and ideas that I want to explore.

Then when I want to free write, I pick an item from my notebook and go with it. Keeping these types of lists means I spend less time looking for a topic and more time free writing.

7. Combine Free Writing With Other Writing

Some days, it makes more sense to plan your writing in advance or aim towards a target word count.

Mixing free writing with other types of writing sessions will help you get more from your sessions and avoid becoming bored with the process.

8. Keep Your Scraps

Free writing produces many leftover ideas and copy that doesn’t immediately belong anywhere. Whatever you do, don’t throw this writing in the bin or delete it. They still represent part of the writing process.

Instead, keep your cast-offs in your journal or a file on your computer.

Later on, you may want to return to these leftovers and extract something useful from them. And even if this time never comes, they serve as markers for your progress as a writer.

9. Expand On Ideas From Your Niche

I read a lot of non-fiction books. This means I regularly come across ideas that surprise me, inspire me or confound me.

Sometimes, I take these ideas and expand on them during free writing sessions. Free writing about ideas helps me internalise them and figure out how I can apply them.

If you want to do the same, underline key passages in the books you are reading, write notes in the margins, and review these notes when you’re finished with the book (the Kindle is ideal for this).

Then, pick one or two ideas and use these for your next free writing sessions.

While free writing, record everything that comes to mind during this period.

Free Writing’s Role In Your Writing Process

Don’t worry if you write nothing but garbage. Your job here isn’t to produce a page of immaculate prose that your editor or your readers will love (you don’t have to show anyone what you’ve written).

Instead, this technique should encourage your mind to go in new and exciting directions.

Writing a a first draft is all about making messy mistakes.

You’ll know you’re succeeding with this technique when you find yourself writing about things that have nothing to do with your original topic.

When you’re finished, you can always go back and extract what’s useful and turn it into something more readable.

Free Writing FAQ

What Is An Example Of Free Writing?

Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones contains many excellent examples of free writing. Alternatively, a journal entry represents a good personal free writing example.

What Is The Purpose Of Free Writing?

The purpose of free writing is to explore your subconscious and practice writing. It’s also a good technique for combatting writer’s block.

What Is The Best Free Writing Software?

You don’t need any special software to try free writing. However, a journaling app like Day One is good as it’s private. Google Docs is another nice choice as you can work from anywhere.

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How to Improve Your Writing Skills: 10 Proven Strategies

9 Comments / By Bryan

Improve Your Writing

Learning how to improve your writing skills is a tough job.

Anyone can become a good writer with a little practice.

You can easily learn about topics like grammar, sentence structure and word choice from an English teacher.

But it takes a lifetime to become a great writer.

That’s because you’ve got to master the art of storytelling and giving readers what they want.

With all that said, here are several strategies you can use to improve your writing skills faster.

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1. Spend Five Minutes Preparing Your Workspace

File your notes, wipe down your desk, sharpen your pencils and fill your pens.

If you use a computer to write, close everything except the writing application on your computer and disconnect from the internet and social media.

Remember too that research and writing are two separate activities that you should carry out at different times.

You could even take off the doorknob and bring it into your study – William Faulkner did just this to avoid being distracted while he worked.

Doorknobs aside, prepare where you work in advance so that when you sit down, and the words start to flow, you don’t have to stop because you need something or because you are distracted.

Writing tip: Set aside time later for using social media or catching up on the news guilt-free.

2. Work In A Quiet Place

If you’re a new writer, you’ve got to crack open a part of yourself and spill it onto the page.

You can’t become a better writer if you’re working in chaos and you don’t know where anything is.

Even if your writing isn’t personal, your desk, floors, and even your walls belong to your research, notes, and your ideas.

Those who want to improve their writing put in the work

The American novelist John Cheever wrote most of his best works alone in a basement in New York wearing just a pair of boxers.

The British children’s author Roald Dahl wrote much of his work in a shed dedicated solely to writing at the back of his garden.

Writers know they’re about to make a mess, and they can’t do it if they’re working in chaos.

So make space in your life for the writing process.

3. Meditate On A Piece Of Writing

Lots of good writers enjoy working late at night, but this can be a challenge as your monkey mind may be already full of useless thoughts, preoccupations, and ideas.

You can get around this by meditating or exercising for a few minutes before you sit down to work.

Wear your monkey out. Distract it. Write.

Those who prefer writing in the morning have an advantage over night time writers. Your willpower is at its strongest after sleep, and this is when the mind is most creative.

Seize this opportunity to write before you check email, listen to the news or attend to the one hundred and one other things in your day.

If when you start writing, your mind is preoccupied with the demands of day-to-day life, it’s going to be difficult to write anything useful. Get around this problem by writing down your worries, ideas and thoughts down on a long list.

This writing exercise is a double win. Firstly, you’ll clear the rubbish from your mind and feel better and more open to new ideas that are about to come your way.

Secondly, this writing exercise will help you warm up for the page ahead of you.

Writing tip: Get back to your writing faster by meditating at your writing desk.

4. Borrow A Great First Line

‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.’

‘Call me Ishmael.’

‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

Writing down a great first line by another author is an effective writing prompt. It will gets your hands moving and the words onto the page.

Stand on the backs of successful writers you admire, and start writing. You can use prompts from the best writing as entry points into your stories and as workarounds for writer’s block.

Up there, the view is clear, and you can see for miles. When you’ve finished writing, give the line back but keep what you’ve written. I won’t tell them if you don’t.

Even if you’re not writing fiction, you can still use first lines from articles you’ve read or non-fiction books that you admire. Or you could take a proven copywriting formula and adapt it to improve your writing.

It’s a good way of mixing up your writing style with other that of other good writers. 

Writing tip: While using this exercise, lower the bar for what good writing for you looks like. You can fix mistakes later.

5. Change Your Writing Routine

I’m all for the stability of a writing routine, but sometimes the baggage that comes with working in one place is too much.

The lightbulb in your office needs to be changed, yellow paint is peeling from the wall, and the phone keeps ringing. Or perhaps wherever you write is just too distracting to get any serious work down.

It’s good to write in a new environment every now and again.

Take your writing and go to a coffee shop or a library. These places are usually free of the subconscious baggage that comes with working in the same place repeatedly. And sometimes the brain craves a new writing environment.

Ambient noise encourages creativity too. The best writers like JK Rowling would agree – she wrote the earlier parts of the Harry Potter series in a coffee shop.

Writing tip: If can’t leave wherever you write, Coffitivity will recreate the ambient sounds of a coffee shop for you.

6. Start With A Blank Page

In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield compares the job of a writer to the job of hunter – both must go out each day afresh in search of new game.

He writes:

“Do I really believe that my work is crucial to the planet’s survival? Of course not. But it’s as important to me as catching that mouse is mouse is to the hawk circling outside my window. He’s hungry. He needs a kill. So do I.”

When you turn up in front of the blank page, forget your past accomplishments and failures. You may have written a hundred, a thousand words or even ten thousand words yesterday. Or maybe you didn’t write at all.

What’s more important is the blank page ahead of you, the words you’ve yet to get out onto the page, and the ideas you want to shape and form.

Today, you are starting afresh. You are going on the hunt, and you can’t afford to be weighed down by what you did or didn’t do yesterday, last week or last month.

Don’t let your prey escape.

Writing tip: try writing a piece somewhere different from where you normal work. A new environment may induce creative thinking.

The War of Art

The War of Art

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Pressfield, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages – 11/11/2011 (Publication Date) – Black Irish Entertainment LLC (Publisher)

Buy on Amazon

7. Write Lots Of Messy First Drafts

The job of a first draft is simply to exist. Perfect grammar and sentence structure don’t matter that much, as you can fix all that during the editing process.

If you produce lots of messy first drafts, you’ll end up with more material to work with. What’s more, you’ll get more practice writing.

On the other hand, trying to produce a flawless first draft with perfect word-choice is a recipe for writer’s block.

So, sit down and free write about whatever comes to mind without stopping to censor yourself.

Lowering the bar for a first drafts works well for everyone from essay writers to academics to journalists and bloggers.

Writing tip: use an app like Grammarly to tidy up your first drafts faster.

8. Try Different Types Of Writing

Perhaps you spend a lot of time writing short stories, fiction and creative writing. That’s what I did years ago. 

It was fun, but I also spent a lot of time writing the same types of English short stories without getting feedback or publishing my work.

And that feedback is critical for anyone who wants to improve their own writing.

Sometimes, approaching a new genre or medium will help you reevaluate your writing skills. It’s hard work, but it’s also worthwhile.

When I started blogging, I had to learn how to write online on platforms like WordPress, Medium and even LinkedIn.

I studied the writing style of other bloggers and combined what I learnt with my experiences writing short stories and journalism. 

Writing tip: read books and pieces of writing outside of your comfort zone. Ask yourself what you liked and disliked. 

9. Stop Writing In The Middle Of A Sentence

Ernest Hemingway famously stopped writing in the middle of a sentence so he’d know where to resume from the following day.

You don’t necessarily need to stop writing in the middle of a sentence, but it’s helpful to have a clear idea of where you want to resume from tomorrow. Perhaps you want to finish your introduction, expand on a certain chapter in your book or work on an outline.

Perhaps it’s enough to tidy up.

A master craftsman tidies up after themselves and prepares their work for the following day in advance. They do this because they know creativity is a long-term game, and it’s their job to turn up day after day and do the work.

As a professional writer, tidy up your work, organise your notes and put your writing space back the way it was.

Writing tip… Tip the waitress in the coffee shop if you need to. Make it easier to find the clear space you need to improve your writing day after day.

10. Take Online Courses In Writing

It’s easier than years ago to learn the skills behind business writing, copywriting, storytelling and more.

A few years ago, I took an online course in copywriting, which later helped me write more persuasive emails and with business writing. It also helped me figure out what some nonfiction readers want. 

I find online writing courses are a nice complement to traditional how to writing books and tutorials. 

You can take also online courses from top professional writers like Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson. Or David Mamet on Masterclass. I like Masterclass because it offers courses for creative writing, business writing, comedy writing and lots more.

In other words, it’s about more than sentence structure.

Writing tip: Use mind maps to take notes about what you learn from these courses. They can encompass more than basic grammar mistakes.

Start Writing Today!

Perhaps the best writing tip I can offer for improving your writing skills is to simply start.

Turning up regularly and producing something, anything, is a surefire way to improve. The writing process isn’t as mysterious as some make it out to be.

Any great writer will tell you consistency breeds competency.

So get back to it!

Tools For Improving Your English Writing Skills

While creative writing exercises are useful, software and tools can also help you improve your english writing skills. They’re an important part of my writing process.

I recommend Grammarly to writers who need help with self-editing, the finer points of english grammar and proofreading. It’s a good choice for freelance writers, academic writers, and fiction writers.

ProWritingAid is a popular alternative to Grammarly, and it’s suitable for fiction writers.

I use both of these tools regularly to check pieces of writing for instances of inadvertent plagiarism, poor word-choice and more.

Both tools are also good for english and non-english speakers alike.

Hemingway Editor is another useful and free tool for figuring out what constitutes weak writing. It can also help you improve the readability of your work.

Improve Writing Skills: FAQ

How Can I Improve My Writing Skills Quickly?

Practice writing a little every day rather than a lot every now and again. Write for 15 minutes. Write 300 words. Practice builds competency.

How Can I Improve My Writing Communication Skills?

Use a grammar checker like Grammarly to check your work for errors and mistakes before submitting or publishing it. It’s also a good idea to read some of your work aloud before publishing it.EXCLUSIVE 20% DISCOUNT

GrammarlyAvoid embarrassing typos and grammatical errors

  • ✓  Excellent online knowledgebase
  • ✓  Accurate grammar and plagiarism reports
  • ✓  Switch between US and British english


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10 Great Creative Writing Activities To Try Today

4 Comments / By Bryan

creative writing activities

What are the best creative writing activities worth your time? And how can these activities help you become a better writer? Good creative writing activities should help you write faster and enjoy the process more. It shouldn’t take too long to try or require any fancy tools or software.

For years, I struggled with writer’s block, until I began experimenting with various fun creative writing activities.

Now in this article, I offer several creative writing activities that will help solve a problem like writer’s block or write a better story for your readers.


1. Use Writing Prompts

If you want to write, consider keeping a record of books you want to read or quotes that inspire you. I also recommend building a personal library of writing prompts.

A writing prompt is simply a question, statement or single sentence that serves as a springboard into your creative work. You can buy books of creative writing prompts or alternatively, you can record your own.

If you opt for the latter approach, I recommend using the first line from books you love. They’re kind of like templates upon which you can jump off into the unknown.

You may also want to try brainstorming a list of creative writing prompts to use for your short story, essay or book chapter.

2. Keep A Daily Journal

Lots of writers also keep journals where they record daily observations about their lives or work. Essentially, these journals are where writers gather their ingredients for their next work.

You can’t cook a stew with just water, just like you can’t write without having something to say.

Many cooks keep clippings from their favourite chefs and recipe books. They use these as inspiration for meals to cook.

You can do so on your phone or in a paper notebook (I like the over-priced Moleskine notebooks). A notepad and paper by your bedside is a good idea for when inspiration strikes at 4am. Alternatively, apps like Day One make it easier to journal on a mobile phone.

The habit of daily observations is a good practice for any writer. I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their writing skills as it encourages you to sit down and write consistently.

Even if these observations sound silly in hindsight, you may be surprised by what turns up.

3. Try Free Writing

Free writing describes the act of writing about whatever is on your mind for a predetermined period. While free writing, your job is to get words down on the page without stopping to self-edit or censor yourself.

This type of exploratory creative writing is useful for solving problems like writer’s block. It can also help reluctant writers increase their daily word-count. Free writing makes for a great story starter too.

You can free write on your writing app of choice, on a piece of paper, in the notes app on your phone.

If you’d like to learn more about free writing, check out the excellent book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Goldberg, Natalie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 260 Pages – 02/02/2016 (Publication Date) – Shambhala (Publisher)

Buy on Amazon

4. Research Your Subject 

If you write nonfiction, start with a clear brief of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. 

For example:

Journalists receive a brief for a story from their editor (i.e. here’s today’s news agenda) or a source (i.e. “I have information for you about…”).

They also also spend time compiling lists of possible interviewees and deciding on questions to ask, just as a chef shops around for the finest ingredients.

Academics and educators decide for themselves what they want their work to taste like, albeit with the help of a tutor. They also spend time reading academic papers in their area of study and conducting qualitative and quantitative research.

Bloggers sign up to various blogs, using a feed reader to aggregate content and by keeping up to date on industry trends.

Having a clear brief for an article or book helps with critical thinking.

5. Write Without Interruption

Lots of writers have various routines they follow before writing. Some people like to cook while enjoying a glass of wine. (I like to write and drink coffee).

Other writers describe how they disable their internet access when they want to get some serious work done.

If you are an academic, preparation may involve taking key findings from your research papers and applying it to your area of study.

This stage also usually involves completing a literature review prior to engaging in the act of essay writing.

If you are a journalist, this exercise involves interviews with sources and newsworthy figures. It also involves collating relevant news articles and findings.

And if you are a blogger, focus on one theme or topic and research what search volume around this topic using a keyword analysis tool.

6. Collaborate With Someone Else

Sure, having a quiet place to write is important, but sometimes it’s helpful to work with another writer or an editor on your piece. Alternatively, perhaps you can borrow ethically from work you admire.

A good sentence, like a stew, isn’t going to write itself. Some pieces of work are light and easy to prepare. Other meaty pieces of work take longer to cook.

An academic will write several drafts of their paper or chapter, all the while assessing how it compares with current literature and weighing it against their central thesis.

journalist will type out transcripts of their interviews, and consult with their editor or colleagues. They will search for a newsworthy angle and may even draw conclusions, depending on the tone of their piece.

blogger will look for relevant posts by other bloggers to link. They will also frame the topic in such a way that it appeals to what readers are searching for. She or he will also consider supporting multimedia content.

7. Let Your Writing Sit

If you’ve finished writing a story, article or book chapter, let it sit on your computer or in your drawer for a while. Your subconscious will continue working on the idea while you do something else.

Cooks recommend leaving a stew simmering for several hours before serving. Similarly, a piece of writing is best left to marinate in a drawer (be that physical or digital).

This way, when you look at your work after a break, the words won’t be as hot, and you’ll be able to see if you need to season the piece with more facts or spice it up with some colour (i.e. unusual adverbs, similes and metaphors).

For an academic, this could involve letting a chapter rest for a few days and then making some quick edits before submitting to tutor for feedback.

journalist, may have less time for their stew to prepare and will normally consult with their editor or sub-editor to finalise their piece.

blogger has more leeway here, as they are normally their own bosses. They can take this time to season posts with relevant links, pictures, meta descriptions, ALT tags and a call to action.

The act of writing is more about turning up than it is about divine moments of inspiration. A lot of the time writing feels like drudgery, but there’s a pleasure in watching your sentences slowly improve.

8. Get Feedback On Your Writing

Writers learn faster if they get feedback from other writers, knowledgable readers or editors.

A good stew is best eaten in company. Lots of writers have this idea that they should write for themselves. Instead, it’s far better to share what you’ve created with friends, family and the wider public.

This essentially involves publishing your work. A blogger will upload their post onto their platform of choice and support it with social media comments. An academic will submit to an identified journal and a journalist will publish a story in a newspaper.

Writing in a public forum carries a degree of vulnerability, but it’s a great way develop a consistent, recognisable voice. It also opens the writer up to criticism.

An editor or tutor will provide this anyway (it’s their job), but if you are writing for yourself, consider asking a friend or subscribers to your blog for feedback.

Some criticism may be constructive and some of it won’t help at all. Your fiercest critics could become your biggest enablers for better writing.

And there’s always an argument for killing those sentences that give you the most pleasure.

In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” ― William Faulkner

9. Change The Point Of View Or Tense

I learnt this exercise while enrolled in a creative writing workshop years ago in the Irish Writer’s Centre in Dublin.

If you have time to spare, consider rewriting a troublesome piece from the point of view of a different character. Alternatively, switch it from the past tense to the present tense. 

Like many reluctant writers, at first I was sceptical when I heard about this creative writing exercise.

But for some odd reason, I was surprised to discover it worked.

These days, I find it easier and faster to write in the present tense, and whenever I’m blocked on an article or story, I rewrite it in that tense. 

Perhaps the act of reviewing a piece of work and quickly editing it helps. The writing process is sometimes odd like that.

10. Read Your Writing Aloud

It’s sometimes fun and instructive to read an extract from your piece aloud for others to listen to and critique. This creative writing activity works well in classrooms and in small groups. 

The act of reading it aloud will help you listen for sentences to edit and rewrite.

The person facilitating the workshop or class should also offer the following writing instructions:

  • Everyone should say one thing they liked and disliked about the piece.
  • The writer can only comment at the end
  • Everyone must read a piece aloud

Why all the rules?

Well, you can’t control how readers react when they consume your published pieces in the privacy of their own homes. 

If everyone read a piece aloud, the process will feel fair.

Bonus Creative Writing Activities: Reward Yourself

Writing is hard work. If you’ve accomplished a writing goal, reward yourself. Journalists tend to get paid for this, but some academics and most bloggers don’t.

A reward could be a short break to watch a favourite TV programme or a walk in the park.

You could eat out after trying a creative writing activity successfully.

Just like dining in a fancy restaurant can give you ideas about what you’d like to cook next, reading other peoples’ works (especially outside your preferred genre) is food for inspiration.

If the work is more involved, it could be a guilt-free purchase or even a holiday. These writing breaks are important because they refresh the writer’s appetite.

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