I'm starting a blog. I need a writing app. What's the best?

over 8 years ago from , Product Designer

I'm starting a new blog but need to develop some more original content before launching.

Currently, I make use of a basic Markdown editor which I like but it isn't really geared for "writers". I make use of WordPress for the CMS of the blog but I want something to develop ideas or concepts before moving towards the cumbersome WP interface. Some may be comfortable writing within the WordPress dashboard but I'm not one..

I'm looking for your highest rated writing application that could possibly benefit me as a blogger without having to format code, headings, etc.. once exported to WordPress (in other words, markdown ready). So far iA Writer Pro looks promising.

Do share?


  • Pedro SolaPedro Sola, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    No you don't.

    If you're starting a blog, you don't need a writing app. You need interesting ideas.

    If your ideas are worth a damn you can write them on a greasy napkin, or any system notepad app.

    29 points
    • Sven LoskillSven Loskill, over 8 years ago

      Might be technically correct, but, gosh, what a pricky way to be not helpful.

      30 points
    • Ryan MorrisonRyan Morrison, over 8 years ago

      100% agree. It's like asking what kind of pencil you use to sketch wireframes. So unimportant.

      4 points
    • Antonio PratasAntonio Pratas, over 8 years ago

      exactly. You don't "need" a writing, you "want" a writing app, just focus on good content and writing anywhere. Lately I've been doing my writing straight in medium's CMS. And sometimes on evernote mobile. and sometimes on a post it.

      1 point
    • Edwin de JonghEdwin de Jongh, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

      Jeez, you must be fun at parties.

      It's like a beginning designer asks you for the best software tools for design and you tell him: 'No, you don't need design software. You need interesting ideas.'. Well sure, but at the end of the day you can hardly present your designs to the client or developer on a napkin.

      The tools we use help us express our 'interesting ideas'. No need to be a dick about it.

      14 points
    • Andy Leverenz, over 8 years ago

      No shit Pedro! I want a writing app because it's more about organization and allowing my ideas to be flowing rather than worrying about formatting or the latter. Who said I didn't have any ideas worth a damn in the first place?

      8 points
    • Cameron MollCameron Moll, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

      While I agree to a (very) small extent, I find Medium's authoring tools to be incredibly powerful for writing, even beyond Medium. (I'm doing that right now, in fact, for an article that will be published on 24 ways, not Medium.) I enjoy writing with Medium more than any other app I've tried, native or web.

      And not to derail the original topic, but Medium's greatest business asset is not its content nor its community, but its authoring tools. I'll be first in line if/when they license these tools to other publishing platforms.

      2 points
      • Greg Storey, over 8 years ago

        Interesting, I would never have considered using Medium as only a writing tool (as opposed to writing and publishing). Many of the tools Medium provides relate to formatting, how does that carry over to other application?

        0 points
        • Cameron MollCameron Moll, over 8 years ago

          Cumbersomely, sadly. But it's the act of writing with Medium that I enjoy best. I totally get the argument that writing, at its core, should be devoid of styling and formatting. But I don't totally buy it, either.

          There's something to be said of the clarity that comes to one's writing when one can see italicizing, headlines, text formatted as links instead of bulky URLs printed in the open, and so forth.

          1 point
  • Adrian PelletierAdrian Pelletier, over 8 years ago

    Of all the minimalist writing apps, iA Writer would be my recommendation. Much like you described, I write my upcoming blog posts outside of WordPress and then copy-paste when ready to publish.

    11 points
    • Kevin LeeKevin Lee, over 8 years ago

      While you don't NEED a writing app, I do agree that this is definitely my recommendation as well. I write notes, articles, website copy all in this app.

      Though I will admit that a lot of what makes this app great is it's in-depth native mac features and that it looks WAY better than the default notes app.

      1 point
  • Coulter PattonCoulter Patton, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    Lately, I've been playing around with https://draftin.com/.

    I was going to list some of the features but there are a lot, and this page already lists all of them: http://docs.withdraft.com/

    Highly recommend checking it out.

    5 points
  • Matt D. SmithMatt D. Smith, over 8 years ago

    iA writer is nice, but you could also try Whiskey http://usewhiskey.com/beta

    Also, don't worry about creating a bunch of content before you launch. Find the shortest path between you and the publish button and go for it!

    4 points
  • Ugur KanerUgur Kaner, over 8 years ago

    Hey check this; http://www.producthunt.com/e/tools-for-writers

    3 points
  • Lucian MarinLucian Marin, over 8 years ago

    Easy answer: Simplenote. Articles are synced, it supports Markdown, it has many native clients, a web interface and typography is great.

    3 points
  • Timothy AchumbaTimothy Achumba, over 8 years ago

    I've been writing in Google Docs for one reason, it allows me to share it with people and get some feedback before posting.

    3 points
    • Account deleted over 8 years ago

      You can do this with Medium's "Drafts" feature I think :)

      1 point
  • Rafael CondeRafael Conde, over 8 years ago

    Have you tried Byword?

    2 points
  • Thibault MichelThibault Michel, over 8 years ago

    Plain old iA Writer does the job just fine for me. Lately I've skipped that step and started writing directly within Ghost though.

    2 points
  • Bud ParrBud Parr, over 8 years ago

    I like the clean simplicity of iA Writer, but it does nothing to help organize your writing (every piece is saved as a discrete file), which, if you work on a variety of things over time, is important. So I use, Ulysses.

    Paul Boag has some thoughts on using Evernote (loves it, but not for writing, and I agree): https://medium.com/@boagworld/a-love-hate-relationship-with-evernote-132ff52e909e

    2 points
  • Antoine Lord, over 8 years ago

    I'm using iA Writer Pro since a couple of months and it's perfect.

    There's also Ulysses which seems really great.

    2 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 8 years ago

    There's a lot of people criticising you for asking this, but don't listen. The poor craftsman might blame his tools, but the talented craftsman rarely works with low quality tools. (And if the quality of the tool doesn't matter, then what's the point of doing design at all?)

    MarsEdit is good for Wordpress and Markdown (and apparently Gruber uses it, if that matters / bothers you). It allows you to work entirely offline and keep an offline archive, so you can prepare a bunch of articles without having to go live.


    If you're looking for something to help structure and edit your writing, I recommend something like Scrivener. IA Writer is fine for writing your initial draft, but the interface isn't geared towards editing, it's really just a cut-down Word, and adopts a lot of Word's problems. Word and programs like it are actually designed for typesetting a document after it's been written and edited, they are garbage for the actual process of writing. Scrivener has a much more useful interface that allows you to keep track of themes, references, notes and the like. (Scrivener doesn't do Markdown, but ideally you shouldn't be doing layout until you've finished writing anyway!)

    Lastly, I really like Devonthink as a note-manager and idea generation tool - this gives an idea of how authors use it.


    1 point
  • Sven LoskillSven Loskill, over 8 years ago

    Haven’t used it, but Desk sponsored Gruber some weeks ago and it sounds exactly like what you’re looking for plus direct upload to different blog platforms: → John Grubers description/sponsor message

    1 point
  • Alan IonitaAlan Ionita, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    Depends on what device you want to write on. I did a full year writing on the iPad and for that Editorial was absolutely impressive. Recently I've started using a laptop again so I moved back to the basic iA Writter (I hear the Pro version isn't worth the price). iA Writter works beautifully on every platform, but is missing some features I've come to love from Editorial (built in browser, better markdown preview), however Editorial isn't optimised for the 6 Plus yet so I'm stuck using iA Writter again.

    A few weeks ago I discovered Whiskey and tbh it's on par with iA Writter and it's temporarily free (in beta). I wouldn't stress about the tool, just go for it.

    1 point
  • Account deleted over 8 years ago


    1 point
  • John S.John S., over 8 years ago

    Would love to get Ulysses, but I just can't bring myself to pay over £30 for a writing app. So I purchased Byword with its extra publishing features and it's awesome!

    1 point
  • Annie RuygtAnnie Ruygt, over 8 years ago

    It says, "be nice, or else", people, haha! Gosh! I like using NValt, but getting the ideas down is the important part, I agree.

    I think writing longhand helps me slow down, and I usually get the best prose out that way. A cheap moleskin is great!

    I've been using Evernote for personal notes and journaling and I love it as well. When I wake up in the mornings I open the site and get a few paragraphs out to clear my mind.

    But if I'm composing, I use NValt.

    Hope this helps.

    0 points
  • Christopher DunnChristopher Dunn, over 8 years ago

    Typed by Realmac is probably right up your alley. It's very simple, minimalist and because it's so new, on sale right now for a good price.

    0 points
  • Anthony MoralesAnthony Morales, over 8 years ago

    I don't write many blog posts, mostly technical/design documents. I use iA Writer and it's great. Simple, not too many features. Beautiful. It works great for the way I write. I tend to put lots of stuff on the page, headings get messing (so many headings). Then I go back and edit, reorder, etc. I do wish it had an outline view. My documents get messy with "notes" spread out throughout the document. I've solved that by using brackets to indicate todos []. But Writer Pro does have the notes feature which makes organizing thoughts a little easier. I think I've just convinced myself to upgrade.

    0 points
  • Vinh LeVinh Le, over 8 years ago


    0 points
  • Kyle CunninghamKyle Cunningham, over 8 years ago

    I use http://draftin.com which is awesome. But I also use vim as that is my editor of choice and where I feel most comfortable on a computer at. There are great plugins out there for doing things like the other writing programs do as well.

    Typed just launched and is cheap for a few more days: http://realmacsoftware.com/typed I haven't tried it but it looks great.

    0 points
  • Josh JohnsonJosh Johnson, over 8 years ago

    I write all my posts in Mou: http://25.io/mou/. Markdown on the left, live preview on the right, with HTML export when you're ready. The thing that wins me over is the customization. I can edit the Markdown preview CSS to exactly match my blog, so I get a live blog preview as I write my posts in a nice, minimal environment. I've tried everything else and I really can't beat this workflow.

    0 points
  • Th. MTh. M, over 8 years ago

    For a minimalist web solution, give http://www.postagon.com a whirl.

    0 points
  • Account deleted over 8 years ago

    I've writing into Medium's "Drafts" feature. It's a lovely way to write and if you need to export as html, you can :)

    0 points
  • Khaja MinhajuddinKhaja Minhajuddin, over 8 years ago

    If you have a couple of hours, you could spend them on learning VIM. It is not the best looking app, but if you plan on writing a lot, your fingers and wrists will thank you when you are old.

    0 points