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Best Book Writing Software: Paid, Free, Grammar, & Productivity [RATED]


Writing and publishing book successfully requires something major.

It requires the right attitude, a powerful book idea, some solid writing prompts, and the best writing software out there.

(Not to mention a bulletproof roadmap to writing a bestselling book).

And we know which writing software is best for you – and more importantly, why it matters.

With the best writing tools, you can write faster and more effectively. You’ll be more focused, with fewer distractions, and you can actually learn a thing or two from some of them—like Grammarly.

And just as importantly, you’ll have an easier time keeping your outline, notes, book ideas or writing prompts, and even those writing exercises organized.

But even if you have all the best ideas and an imagination that won’t quit, you can’t do either without the right book writing software.

I mean, you could, but it just makes this already arduous process even harder. No thanks.

You’ll have to make some choices.

Nowadays, authors have so many options when looking for the best book writing software (which is why we created the quiz below–to cut down on decision-making and wasted time!).

Here are the best writing software programs:

  1. Paid Writing Software
  2. Free Writing Software
  3. Grammar Writing Software
  4. Distraction-Free Productivity Software

Let’s get started by comparing the 3 book writing software “giants,” and then I’ll share some less well-known tools that might help improve your writing process even more.

Which book writing software features are right for you?

I’m not trying to sell you on any particular book writing software in this article. Instead, my goal is to give you an idea of what’s out there so you can weigh the options for yourself in order to aid in your specific process.

Who knows—you may even discover a brand-new writing and publishing tool you absolutely love.

In the end, the truth is that there are many great writing tools out there. It isn’t really a question of which tool is BEST. What it comes down to is: which tool works best with YOUR book writing process?

There are 11 things to consider when deciding which program to use for your book:

  1. How easy is it to format text the way you want?
  2. Does it have templates available?
  3. How many?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. Is the program simple & easy to use?
  6. Does it offer any extra features or other bells & whistles?
  7. How about a distraction-free writing experience?
  8. Is the program user-friendly?
  9. Can you access your files no matter where you are?
  10. How easy is it to collaborate with editors & team members?
  11. Is there distribution capabilities when it’s time to publish?

The Best Book Writing Softwares for Authors: Paid, Free, Grammar, & Productivity

Not all writing software is created equally. We’ve found that different writers, writing different things, have many different needs. So we’ve broken down the best software for writers using four categories: paid, free, software for grammar, and productivity software to cut down on distractions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Through this post, you’ll see overall key features, drawbacks, and pricing, along with a “TECH LEVEL” for each, which is rated out of 5, with 5 being a high tech knowledge needed to easily navigate and a 1 being so easy that your 80-year-old grandmother who has never used a computer would be able to use it (there aren’t any 1s, but you get the idea). You’ll also see a “BEST FOR” that will suggest the type of person who would best benefit from each writing software.

Ultimately, we suggest taking this quick assessment that can determine the software best for you, but you can also self-select based on our findings.

Here are the overall criteria you can expect for each writing software below:

SOFTWARE NAME:
BEST FOR:
TYPE:
TECH LEVEL:
PRICING:

You’ll also see a link to get started with that software below each summary box. Let’s get started with your paid options, which will ultimately be best for serious writers.

Paid Book Writing Software

There used to be a time where paying for a writing software just seemed silly. The thing is, writers have been paying to write on something for a while. If you think there weren’t snooty writers who were picky about their typewriters pre-computers, you’d be wrong.

That said, paid writing softwares cost money for a reason. They’re just typically better, with more capabilities, conveniences, and other features that are worth the money to help you writer a better book faster.

These are the paid writing-specific softwares we recommend that are Self-Publishing School tried and true.

#1 – NovelPad

NovelPad is a semi-new writing software (launched in 2020) that has been making the rounds in the writing community. It’s best for writers, as it has character boards, scene tracking, and more, but someone writing a nonfiction book can still benefit from its features.

Among some of the best features is the goal-tracking section, where you can set monthly writing goals, create sprints, and track how much total progress you’ve made and how many total minutes you’ve put into your book. This feature also dynamically updates your goals per day, so if you don’t hit your goal word count one day, the daily goals for the rest of the month will automatically update to keep you on track.

Also notable about NovelPad is the customer service and responsiveness. When you join NovelPad, you may be invited to join a Discord group for the software, which has a Writing Room where you can connect with other authors, along with a Bug Tracker and Suggestions room where you can drop notes and ideas directly to the creators and software developers.

Since I started using this, a feature I recommended only a month ago has been added (unlimited color picker for the scene markers).

Where this writing software really soars above others is in its simplicity of use. You do not have to be super tech-savvy in order to navigate and begin use immediately, whereas this is more difficult with software like Scrivener.

Highly recommend this software for several reasons, you can see more features and pricing below.

Key Features:

  • Chapter by chapter layout / outline
  • Character boards for profiles
  • Character tracking (you can jump to all sections where a character’s name appears)
  • Scene-tracking by color with a board-view
  • Settings/Locations board
  • Advanced dynamic writing goal tracker
  • Intuitive user interface that’s really easy to learn
  • Discord community
  • Customer support and response is top notch
  • Auto-saving feature
  • Multi-device syncing / login
  • Grammar suggestions and highlights
  • Can save up to 100 novels
  • Offline mode
  • Direct export to Word, PDF, and Markdown
  • Import from Word function
  • Font, theme, and other customization options
  • Full-screen writing mode to minimize distractions
  • Writing looks like how it would appear in a real book/kindle
  • Write in-scene only or write within your full manuscript

Drawbacks:

  • No folder features to store books in a series
  • No image capability for the character boards (though this is incoming)
  • No comments or collaboration features (YET! Incoming, currently in testing)
  • It’s not an app, but an in-browser software (can be a pro or a con for some people)

SOFTWARE NAME: NovelPad
BEST FOR: Fiction Writers
TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: $8 monthly or $60 annually (with a 14-day free trial)

Click here to get started with NovelPad.

#2 – Scrivener

You just learned that Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor in the world. But does that mean it’s the best book writing software?

Think about it this way. The fact that Word is so prevalent means that it has to cater to all sorts of users—students, businesspeople, writers, teachers, marketers, lawyers, the list goes on and on and on.

But Scrivener was created for one type of person only:

Writers.

And if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of Scrivener. A lot of writers absolutely love this program, with its advanced features and distraction-free writing experience.

In short, Scrivener gives you an insane amount of flexibility for writing, formatting, and organizing your book for self-publishing.

Because Scrivener was designed for writers, it’s super easy to lay out scenes, move content around, and outline your story, article, or manuscript.

Instead of keeping all your content in one big file, Scrivener allows you to create multiple sub-files to make it easier to organize and outline your project.

But as awesome as Scrivener is, it’s not perfect.

And the biggest downside to using Scrivener is the steep learning curve involved. You aren’t going to master this program overnight.

But if you’re serious about your writing career, then investing the time to learn this specific writing tool will be worth it. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.

And if you want to learn how to use Scrivener as quickly & easily as possible, we can help! Here’s a full Scrivener tutorial so you can easily maneuver this program.

Key Features:

  • Outlining with a corkboard / index-card style board
  • Outline with a folder and list style sidebar
  • Full-manuscript writing & scene-specific writing
  • Plotting timeline
  • Import from other software (Word, OpenOffice, PDF)
  • Template creation (for plots, characters, planning)
  • Screenwriting capabilities
  • Nonfiction tools / library for research
  • Side-by-side document view
  • Full-screen mode to minimize distractions
  • Minimal progress tracking
  • Printing and exporting (including epub and kindle versions)
  • “Snapshots” allows you to keep a section before rewriting in case you want to go back
  • App use on multiple devices: Mac, Windows, IOS

Drawbacks:

  • It’s not very intuitive at all, and is very hard to learn before being able to use its features
  • Has been known to have auto-save errors (and people lose their work)
  • Customer support does not have many reviews

SOFTWARE NAME: Scrivener
BEST FOR: Fiction Writers
TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 5 / 5
PRICING: $49 for download, $19 additional for IOS – 30-day free trial

Click here to get started with Scrivener.

#3 – Plottr

Plottr was created by an author for authors, specifically fiction. The overall bonus of this software (and what people tend to like most) is the plotlines timeline feature that allows you to track the various plotlines, which chapters they appear in, and with colors (image below).

This software also has various templates you can use to get started on your story’s structure to keep it in line with industry standards. This can be really handy for those who aren’t as well-versed in novel structures or are beginners when it comes to writing fiction novels.

Plottr is an app, and can be used across multiple devices (so long as you pay for more than 1 device). This can be a big pro for people who prefer to work on apps and not in a browser, to minimize distractions.

However, the user interface of Plottr is definitely behind the curve when it comes to intuitive design that’s easy to use. It doesn’t seem to be easily organized and can take longer to understand how it all works together and how to use it effectively.

Click here to read a full Plottr review.

Plottr writing software example

Key Features:

  • App available for Mac or PC
  • Scene cards
  • Unlimited plotlines
  • Story filters
  • Tracking details based on POV, character goals, and more
  • Customized templates for story planning
  • Colors for plotlines and scenes 
  • Scene stacking
  • Outline view
  • Timeline view
  • Character boards with image options
  • Plotline tracking for overall and secondary plots
  • Backups & autosave

Drawbacks:

  • It’s a little out-dated in appearance
  • Clunky user interface that’s not very intuitive
  • You can’t really see your book in full-written form, it’s by scene
  • Export for Microsoft Word and Scrivener only

SOFTWARE NAME: Plottr
BEST FOR: Fiction Writers
TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 4 / 5
PRICING: $25 annually or $99 lifetime for 1 device (more options for multiple devices) – 14-day free trial

Click here to get started with Plottr.

#4 – Atticus

This newly released writing software by Dave Chesson over at Kindlepreneur is a simple writing software that also has formatting capabilities. No need to download your book from one software just to upload it to another for formatting!

The interface is super simple with this writing software, with a left sidebar to house your front matter, body (the chapter-by-chapter outline and writing), and then backmatter.

The formatting section of this software is a huge win, especially for self-published authors who do most of this stuff themselves (or who outsource it). It allows for “themes” for some pre-loaded design features for chapter headings, font type, and more, while also allowing you to choose other formatting setting, like how to begin a new scene (indents or all caps sentence) and other small details that can make formatting so much easier for new authors.

Overall, this is much more of formatting software than it is a true writing software due to its limited features to assist in the writing process. If you really don’t need anything extensive when it comes to plotting, characters, or other fiction-specific capabilities, Atticus may be a great tool for you, particularly for nonfiction writers who like to churn out books quickly and on a budget (since you can format yourself).

This tool is a bit pricier in terms of writing softwares, but due to its formatting function, it’s competitively priced against formatting softwares like Vellum.

You can check out a full, comprehensive Atticus review here.

Key Features:

  • Organized, simple interface
  • Formatting section
  • Book goal tracking visible on-screen at all times
  • Easy outline visible at all times
  • Upload document from Word
  • Book cover uploading feature
  • “Projects” grouping that can be used for series
  • Pen name organizing feature
  • Formatted preview feature
  • Several single-click formatting design options
  • Custom theme creation
  • Auto save
  • Manual backup function to secure servers
  • Spell check
  • Offline use
  • External collaboration / commenting functions

Drawbacks:

  • No character planning or mapping
  • Very minimal outline features
  • No place for notes or other ideas
  • Software for formatting more than writing/creating

SOFTWARE NAME: Atticus
BEST FOR: Nonfiction Self-Publishers
TYPE: Word Processor & Formatting
TECH LEVEL: 3 / 5
PRICING: $147 (no free trial, 30-day money back guarantee)

Click here to get started with Atticus.

#5 – Microsoft Word

Before any other writing tools came along, Microsoft Word was the only option available. Everyone used it.

Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs.

And it’s easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!

It’s been around a long time. It’s trusted, reliable, and gets the job done well.

It also provides a relatively distraction-free writing experience; much better than working on Google Docs in your browser, for example, where you’re only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet.

If you just need to wake up in the morning and meet your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page, then Word is an obvious choice of book writing software. No fuss, no muss. It’s about as simple as it gets and can help you finish your draft easily.

Word also offers some simple organization.

While writing your chapters, changing the chapter’s heading (seen in the example below) allows easy navigation as your book progresses further and further.

screenshot of writing software MS Word

Using headers, you can organize your book into chapters—and then you can navigate through them quickly using the Navigation pane:

instructions for using Microsoft Word

In order to view your navigation pane in outline-format click:

View > Navigation Pane (it’s a box to check) > select the bullet/outline tab within the navigation pane (seen above).

You can also create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further.

But as a writing tool, Word does have some downsides.

For starters, it doesn’t always play well with Macs. If you use a Mac, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting.

Word is also pretty vanilla. That’s part of its appeal, sure, but it also means Word lacks some of the more advanced features you get with other programs like Scrivener and Google Docs.

For example, Scrivener offers more advanced outlining functionality. And Google Docs makes it easier to share and collaborate on your files.

All in all, Word is a solid contender for best book writing software. But there are many other choices out there.

Key Features:

  • Simple word processor
  • Outline available
  • Collaboration and commenting features
  • Shapes, boxes, and image addition easily
  • Easier to use for  non tech-savvy writers
  • Endless documentation for problem-solving online

Drawbacks:

  • Not necessarily for books-specifically, so it’s missing plotting, character features
  • You have to send and save versions to use collaboration functions

SOFTWARE NAME: Microsoft Word
BEST FOR: Begginer Writers
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 /5
PRICING: Free with some laptops, $79.99 if purchase separately

Click here to get started with Microsoft Word.

Free Book Writing Software

Not everyone can afford to go all-in on writing their books, and it’s not always necessary. While paid writing software options allow for additional features and support, you can still write an incredible book with the various free ones out there.

Here, we’ll cover the 4 best free writing software (with other free options listed in the Distraction-Free Productivity section below).

#1 – Google Docs

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another book writing software that more and more people are starting to use for various reasons:

Google Docs.

Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.

The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example:

This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.”

That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.

Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.

(Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.

Key Features:

  • Auto save
  • Sync across many devices
  • Visible outline on left sidebar option
  • Commenting/suggesting and editing features
  • Spellcheck and compatible with grammar softwares (grammarly)
  • Offline mode available
  • Speak-to-text capabilities
  • Easy to organize and save drafts in folders

Drawbacks:

  • Purely for writing or editing
  • No plotting or character assets
  • No tracking or progress updates
  • Can’t easily see word count

SOFTWARE NAME: Google Docs
BEST FOR: Writing Collaboration & Editing
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to get started with Google Docs.

#2 – Notion

Notion is technically not solely a writing app, but it has capabilities to outline, writer, and house details inside the app. This is actually an app that feels like a combination of Google Docs meshed with a tasking system, folders, calendars/boards, and more.

Using this app as more than just a writing software is typical. Personally, I use this to track finances, ideas for businesses, grocery list, and various book ideas as they come up.

So keep that in mind as you read these features—it’s not solely made for books but can be used that way. We’ve actually create both fiction and nonfiction book templates you can use in your very own Notion account—just click here to grab one of those.

That being said, there are a ton of features wrapped up in Notion, too many to even count out, and it’s really customizable if you’re someone who can get a handle on new tech quickly. You’ll be able to create your own frameworks for your outline, notes, and character profiles that you can save as templates for more books.

Ultimately, this is great for someone who wants their writing software within another they can use frequently for other purposes, as well as someone who is more tech-savvy and wants to really customize their book writing process.

notion book writing
notion character template

Key Features:

  • Easy to create your own version of an outline
  • Several different functions that can be used for characters, plotting, outlining
  • Access across all devices
  • Offline mode
  • Auto save
  • External sharing via link with commenting
  • Folders organized by favorites and emojis
  • Calendars, charts, boards for tracking
  • Board-style chapter and scene breakdowns available
  • Customized experience you dictate in full

Drawbacks:

  • It does take a while to understand all the features
  • Not solely for book-writing, so lacking built in features for that
  • You have to make your own book templates to reuse

SOFTWARE NAME: Notion
BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners
TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing
TECH LEVEL: 4 / 5
PRICING: Free for a personal account (upgrades for teams or unlimited personal)

Click here to get started with Notion free.

#3 – Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.

The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7.

Evernote as a writing software is comparable to Notion in that it’s not meant solely for writing, but has many functionalities that can aid the writing process as a whole.

While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.

While Evernote has been around for a little while, they seem to always be expanding on their features, making it one of the best writing softwares out there.

But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.

evernote on mobile

Key Features:

  • Syncing across multiple devices (if you pay for multi)
  • Auto save
  • Easily searchable
  • Template creation
  • Several templates available to use
  • Document scanning and uploading for notes/ideas
  • Create tasks to keep you on-pace with writing goals

Drawbacks:

  • No writing-specific functions
  • You have to tailor notes and functions for your writing preferences
  • Free account has minimal monthly uploads (60MB)
  • Offline mode only available for paid

SOFTWARE NAME: Evernote
BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners
TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing
TECH LEVEL: 3.5 / 5
PRICING: Free for 2 devices, upgraded versions available with more features

Click here to get started with Evernote.

#4 – OpenOffice

You may know of this software, you may not. Essentially, it’s a free version of a word processor much like Word or Pages. If you don’t have Word on your computer and can’t afford to buy it, this is a great alternative that’ll get the job done.

The capabilities are pretty limited with Open Office but if you really only need the basics and don’t want to spend any money, this is the perfect writing software for you.

Here’s what this book writing software looks like:

a bank new page on Open Office

Key Features:

  • Simple interface
  • Word processor with spell check 
  • Accessible to almost anyone
  • You can write your book all in a single document
  • Exporting options 

Drawbacks:

  • You can’t easily adjust the file type
  • Only OpenOffice users can collaborate in-document
  • Doesn’t have book-specific features for plotting or characters, etc.
  • It has an older-looking interface (can be a pro to some people)

SOFTWARE NAME: Open Office
BEST FOR: Beginner Writers
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to get started with OpenOffice.

Grammar Writing Software

Not all writers need the assistance of grammar-specific writing software. That being said, it is always helpful to keep an eye on your writing quality as a writer.

Some of software listed below can be used with other word processors, while others are meant for you to use as a word processor and grammar checker all in one.

#1 – Grammarly

If you haven’t heard of this editing software, you’ve been living under a rock. It has taken over as one of the most versatile simple editing software and for a good reason.

We have a Grammarly review that covers all the features and functions but essentially, this is a browser extension you can download and it automatically corrects your grammar and spelling in whichever online medium you’re writing on.

This writing software is perfect if you need to brush up on your grammar or are looking for an easy way to sound professional in written emails as well.

Key Features:

  • Compatible on Chrome, Google Docs, Word
  • Grammar, spelling,  punctuation
  • Conciseness 
  • Tone detection
  • Fluency [premium feature]
  • Compelling vocabulation [premium feature]
  • Confident, politeness, formality writing [premium feature]
  • Available on Apps, desktop, and several browsers
  • Available on Apple and Android products
  • Offers alternative choices for corrections

Drawbacks:

  • The best features are only available for premium users
  • Sometimes the suggestions pop up and get stuck on screen
  • Doesn’t overall help you better your writing

SOFTWARE NAME: Grammarly
BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing
TYPE: Grammar Software
TECH LEVEL: 1.5 / 5
PRICING: Free version, paid upgrade with additional features starting at $12/month

Click here to get started with Grammarly.

#2 – Hemingway Editor

Simply paste your writing into the editor and scroll through. You’ll notice that the program highlights certain words & passages—like long, hard-to-read sentences, passive verbs, and phrases with simpler alternatives.

It’s basically your own personal editor rolled into a writing software.

What I love about this tool is how easy it is to use. Everything is color-coded and super easy to understand, so you can see at a glance where your writing could use a little elbow grease.

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

hemingway editor app

Key Features:

  • Passive voice notes
  • Simplifier for complex sentences
  • Desktop app available for 
  • Word count tracker
  • Tells you the readability level
  • Basic and simple to use
  • Writing mode and editing mode
  • Offline mode [paid feature only]
  • PDF exports [paid feature only]
  • Publish directly to WordPress or elsewhere [paid feature only]

Drawbacks:

  • You have to type within the tool to receive corrections
  • It doesn’t actually provide alternative options for corrections
  • Doesn’t appear to be an export function from web use

SOFTWARE NAME: Hemingway Editor
BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing
TYPE: Grammar Software
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: $19.99 for the desktp app

Click here to get started with Hemingway App.

#3 – ProWritingAid

This writing software is truly a writing software that’s actually designed to improve your writing over time. You can upload your writing from your computer or simply copy and paste it into ProWritingAid’s editor and it will almost immediately populate corrections for your writing.

There are a number of different criteria it uses to correct your writing, including the classic grammar and spelling, readability by grade level, and sentence variety. Where it differs is in passive voice corrections, pacing indications, dialogue tags, and a really unique “emotional telling” feature that helps you learn to show and not tell in writing.

One thing to keep in mind, as with any other grammar or writing-improvement software is that it will highlight grammatical errors within dialogue as well. But, if that’s how you’ve developed your character to speak, keep those nuances. The last thing you want is for every character to speak the same way.

You can read a full review of ProWritingAid here.

prowritingaid writing software example

Key Features:

  • Grammar and spelling
  • Writing style
  • Sentence length correcting
  • Readability grade
  • Sentence variety
  • Passive voice correction
  • Complex paragraphs
  • Pacing indications
  • Glue Index (reading clarity)
  • Emotion-telling (show vs telling)
  • Dialogue tags – including with adverbs
  • Weak adverbs
  • Add-ins (accessible on): Email, Word, Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Scrivener, Google Docs
  • Has a desktop app 
  • Can upload from saved file

Drawbacks:

  • Free account only allows up to 500 words edited at a time
  • Only seems to export as a Word docx. File
  • Website loading can be very slow

SOFTWARE NAME: ProWritingAid
BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing
TYPE: Grammar Software
TECH LEVEL: 3 / 5
PRICING: $20 per month, $79 per year, or a one-time fee of $399 for lifetime access (14-day money-back guarantee)

Click here to get started with ProWritingAid.

Distraction-Free Productivity Writing Software

You may not need the grammar help. You may not even need help plotting or developing your characters. What you may need as a writer more than anything, is something to keep you focused and productive.

We’ve put together a list of the top 3 software we recommend to help writers limit distractions and write more.

#1 – Freedom App

Freedom isn’t technically a writing tool, but it sure can help improve your writing. It’s a productivity app designed to help eliminate distractions by blocking certain websites – something more than beneficial for those of us who get sidetracked easily.

For example: let’s say you have a tendency to get distracted by social media sites. All you have to do us start a Freedom session that blocks all your social media sites—and then you won’t be able to visit them even if you wanted to.

Here’s what it looks like when you schedule a session:

freedom software to reduce distractions screenshot


Notice that you have a lot of options. You can schedule one-time sessions (starting now or later), or you can set up recurring sessions (for example, to block distracting sites every day when it’s time to write).

When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:

example of being free from Instagram using Freedom

This is a really liberating tool. Once you know you don’t have the option of visiting those distracting sites, you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your writing and you’ll be able to get a lot more done.

Key Features:

  • Block certain websites from use
  • Block internet access
  • Sync across all devices
  • Versions for any and all operating systems
  • Scheduling blocks for various days and times
  • Browser extensions
  • Ambient noise to help concentration
  • Session-history and tracking
  • Regular updates to keep up with operating system updates
  • Simple user interface that’s easy to navigate

Drawbacks:

  • Would need to pair with a writing processor for writing benefit

SOFTWARE NAME: Freedom App
BEST FOR: Limiting Distractions
TYPE: Distraction-Free
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: $8.99 per month or $39.96 per year OR one-time fee of $159.99 for lifetime access (free trial available)

Click here to get started with Freedom.

#2 – FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a word processor for writers that’s intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It’s a basic, lightweight writing tool that was designed to be completely free of progress inhibiting distractions.

In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.

FocusWriter also allows you to choose what your screen looks like, as seen in the example below.

You can customize the image in the background to suit your project to help inspire your writing.

It’s simple and effective. If you need a lot of features, it probably won’t work for you. But if simplicity is your thing, then you may have found your perfect free writing tool.

screenshot of focus writer

Key Features:

  • Full screen mode to eliminate distractions
  • Simple, easy to use interface
  • Customizable background to inspire
  • Easy to use for non tech-savvy people

Drawbacks:

  • No outlining function
  • No plotting or character functions
  • Really is only a word processor and nothing else
  • No commenting or collaboration features
  • Only available for Windows

SOFTWARE NAME: FocusWriter
BEST FOR: Beginner Writers
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to use FocusWriter on your Windows computer.

#3 – PauseFor

If you’re someone who needs incentive to stay off your phone (and actually write), this is a perfect writing software.

Technically, it’s not for writing. PauseFor is a productivity app designed to motivate you to stay off your phone. That means you can get more writing done by spending less time scrolling through Twitter or whatever your social medial of choice is.

How?

PauseFor is designed for YOU to set a time, and then not pick up your phone until that time is done.

But what’s the incentive?

The longer you stay off your phone and the more sessions you complete successfully, the more you’ll have to DONATE. That’s right. You can be a philanthropist AND a writer at the same time.

Simply set your time, don’t touch your phone, and collect your Kin. When you a certain amount, you get to choose where the donations go.

Key Features:

  • Donations based on minutes “paused”
  • Set time to block for not using your device
  • IOS and Android
  • Ability to “level up” and unlock further accesses
  • Free, worldwide
  • Donation-tracking to see your impact
  • Pause for up to 24 hours

Drawbacks:

  • Would need to pair with a writing processor for writing benefit
  • Only available for mobile devices (not for laptop/desktop use)

SOFTWARE NAME: PauseFor
BEST FOR: Time Blocking & Philanthropy
TYPE: Distraction-Free
TECH LEVEL: 1.5 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to get started with PauseFor.

How Much Does Book Writing Software Programs Cost?

I would recommend not worrying too much about the cost of these programs. After all, dropping $100 or less on a program is not that big a deal if it is going to help improve your writing for years to come.

That said, I know you work hard for your money—and you want to get the best deal you can!

Here is a breakdown of the most recent prices for all of the tools in this article along with their comparative features:

WRITING SOFTWARE – COST

NovelPad – $8 monthly / $60 annually

Scrivener – $49 download / $19 extra for IOS

Plottr – $25 annually / $99 lifetime for 1 device

Atticus – $147

Microsoft Word – $79.99

Google Docs – Free

Notion – Free with upgrades

Evernote – Free with upgrades

Open Office – Free

Grammarly – Free, $12 monthly

Hemingway Editor – $19.99

ProWritingAid – $20 monthly / $79 annually / $399 lifetime

Freedom App – $8.99 monthly / $39.96 annually / $159.99 lifetime

Focus Writer – Free

Pause For – Free

What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time, and frustration.

Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process!

Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?

Want A Personalized Writing Software Recommendation Based on Your Writing Style and Needs?

Check out our Sofware Assessment below, to get a recommendation just for you!

BONUS: Check out this Self-Publishing School review from SelfPublishing.com!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Scott Allan

Scott Allan is a student success coach and in-house content creator here at Self-Publishing School. He is a bestselling author of 12+ books that includes The Discipline of Masters, Drive Your Destiny and Relaunch Your Life. Scott has a passion for teaching strategic life skills and inspiring people to take charge of their lives. You can connect with Scott at: www.scottallanauthor.com He believes that successful living is a series of small, consistent actions taken every day to build a thriving lifestyle with intentional purpose. By taking the necessary steps and eliminating unwanted distractions that keep you stuck, you are free to focus on the essentials. Scott currently lives In Japan where he resides full time, and is at work on several new writing projects. You can connect with Scott at scottallanauthor.com

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