Sometimes good things are just free. I am talking about writing apps.
Like a knight searching for the holy grail, I have been looking for the best writing app for the last 20 years.
I have tried lots of writing software for different machines. iPhones, an android phone and tablets, MacBook air and Mac mini and windows laptops.
Looking back on my experience with all those apps that include – based on my rough memory – Scrivener, Ulysses, Writeroom, Writemonkey, and too many apps for distraction-free writing, I realize I only need two features from my writing app. First, fast and reliable sync across different devices. Second, the interface should be simple and good looking. And if I can add third, though I first said two features, word count should be visible all the time while writing.
It feels nice to have all the great and complicated features in expensive software but at the end of the day, I rarely use them while writing. All that matters is the app should be simple enough to use on a daily basis but does its job of letting me write and save my texts without clicking another button.
And those are exactly what I get from nvALT and simplenote, two great free writing apps. I don’t have to save my files. It is done automatically. Sync is also done nicely. What I write in nvALT on my MacBook is shown on simplenote website or its android app in a couple of minutes.
Searching the texts is also easy on both apps. You just type words and you get matches immediately.
The only major components of a serious writing missing in the two apps are folder system. They just shows a list of notes. But it does not matter for me because I have never reached the level of writing where I completed lots of fragmentary stories that needs folder. This means if you’re still reading this post and you want to write a novel, you should stop reading 🙂 This post is relevant only for people who just want a simple system of writing tons of note and finding the right note quickly.
I want to wrap up this disorganized post by telling you why I chose nvALT which is a variation app of original Notational Velocity. Both apps work identically except one point. nvALT shows your word counts on the right top corner in a real time. That is what I like and want from a writing app and nvALT delivers on that.
One thing more before I go. nvALT is only for Mac OS though simplenote is available for Mac, Windows, IOS and android and even Linux. So, if you do not use Mac, try simplenote app for your devices.
By the way, another reason I chose nvALT is that it gives the typical distraction free setting of green characters with black background. You can get it by tweaking the preference.
If you’re tired of finding simple writing app, try the combination of nvALT and simplenote on Mac or simplenote apps for multiple platforms.You will like them.
P.S. Read this review about the same apps that I mentioned. It has more in-depth information.