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December 28th, 2020

3 app ideas for writers

Coming up with a new app idea is not always easy. That’s why it’s important to take stock of what’s already out there. Can the current batch of apps within your target niche be easily improved? Are they lacking interesting features that the userbase could potentially benefit from? In this article, I’m looking at a specific niche — I’m going to outline 3 app ideas for writers.

These app ideas all target a fairly specific niche, creative writing, and they all attempt to solve a specific problem for the audience (the writers).

Let’s get to it!

1. A writing prompts app

First on the list is the writing prompts app. There are many writing prompt apps out there already, which vary in style and function, but these are often basic and many are in need of modernization. The fundamental purpose of this style of app is simply to provide some form of inspiration to the writer.

In general there are two distinct types of creating writing app:

  1. Apps that provide a simple prompt to work from
  2. Apps that “generate” prompts via a specific process/interface

The good thing about this niche is that the content itself is what defines the app — and what will inspire your users, so having strong content (distinctive, unique and interesting prompts) could set your app apart from the pack. That’s why I feel there is still room within this niche for new apps.

Writing prompt apps are great for helping keep writers block at bay!

For a content-focussed app to target creative writers (or in fact, almost any type of creative pursuit) you would only need a simple app & basic API to begin with. Then you can let the content (your awesome prompts!) do the talking.

If you feel you can inspire others with short, evocative prompts — then you may be able to garner an audience with an app idea such as this one.

2. A story planner app

The basic premise of a story planner app would be to provide a writer-friendly interface to plan out short stories, novels, or other such creative works.

Of course, there are many “generic” planning apps available. But providing a more focussed app that specifically targets creative writers could be a good way to make your app stand out within this category.

How can I target creative writers specifically?

You could include metrics within your app such as:

  • Intended word count
  • Deadline
  • Genre
  • Basic premise of the story
  • Breakdowns per chapter

These metrics would all apply to a given piece of work. All of the terminology, the concepts, and the branding in your app would be geared specifically towards your audience — creative writers.

Another interesting idea may be to allow the creation of character profiles, these character profiles would be linked to a given piece of work. There are numerous other ways you could break down a work of fiction, for instance, and have these specific aspects represented as concepts within your app. The only limit is your imagination!

It’s obviously going to be easier to flesh out the fundamental features of your story planning app if you are familiar with (or take an interest in) the topic at hand (writing), but even so, a little research should help you plan out the basics to begin with.

3. A journal or diary for writers

Similar to the story planner app idea, there are countless journal/diary style apps out there, but again, narrowing down your focus to specifically target writers could be a smart move. We’re looking at app ideas for writers, specifically, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reuse or adapt an existing concept and make it fit for purpose.

Again, the branding and terminology would all need to cater towards your target audience.

This style of app would work well alongside the story planner idea. It may even be suitable to merge the two ideas into one to create a single app. The story planner aspect would be for planning out future work; whereas the journal or diary aspect would be used to record progress (along with any other comments from the writer and so on).

I feel that there is a lot of space within the app store(s) for this type of functionality if implemented in a modern and aesthetically pleasing manner!

How to come up with more app ideas for writers

If none of the suggestions above have caught your eye, and you can’t quite come up with some other idea within this niche that you’d like to pursue, a little bit of research may be in order.

Here are some common approaches to get your started.

Ask your audience – the writers

There are many writing-based communities online, these are composed of potential users of your future app! Why not ask them about the types of app they’d find useful? Out of the writing apps they currently use (if any) — which features do they like? Which features don’t they like?

Remember to observe any of the rules that are in place, though, should you approach any of these communities directly. For instance in the Writing subreddit, questions like “which apps do you use?” would need to go into the weekly discussion thread:

Posts about what tools you use to write with, including but not limited to pen and paper, software, typewriters, hardware, apps, world building organization programs, etc. must go in the weekly discussion thread.

The more research you conduct and the more questions you ask at this stage, the better understanding you will gain. This will hopefully translate to a more useful and productive app for your users.

Questioning your target audience could be a crucial step in planning out your concept

Asking questions of your audience/target market is a common approach that developers of any kind of product will often employ. To find a problem to solve (or ensure you’re indeed solving the problem you think you are) – ask the audience.

Analyse the feedback of existing writing apps

When looking for app ideas, in this case, app ideas for writers – it would be sensible to begin with a look through the app store(s). You’ll likely find that a lot of the ideas you initially think of are already taken or catered for in some way. This is true for most niches.

But that doesn’t mean your new app idea is dead in the water!

You’ll need to be a bit more thorough in analysing your existing competition. Out of the highest rated or most popular writing apps within your target niche, what do the users seem to like? What are the common criticisms? You can use this information to formulate your own implementation of the app or even branch out into a new concept altogether.

The fact that the idea at hand has already been implemented one or more times (and there is already a userbase for these apps) is a good sign. You know that you are solving a problem, and you know that there is an audience already! You just need your own version of the app to stand out amongst the others.

app reviews
Some reviews for the JotterPad app, with some positive feedback — but also some constructive criticism

Remember, your app idea doesn’t need to be revolutionary or something that’s never been done before! It just has to solve a problem and it has to work well.

Analyse the existing apps

Lastly, before beginning your own implementation, it would be wise to download a batch (4 or 5) of the most highly rated or most popular writing-based apps. You’ll want to find apps which are similar in concept to the app idea you wish to pursue. Again, what works well? What doesn’t work well? Is there a commonality between design/UX that these apps all seem to follow?

Analysing your competitors’ apps will get your head in the right place for designing and implementing your own app. It’ll allow you to compile a list of must-have features, and in doing so you’ll be much clearer on the direction you are headed.

Once you’ve built out your app idea…

If this app is one of your first, you may not be aware of some of the best practices to follow that could help boost your apps popularity from the outset.

I’ve written a brief overview of the App Store Optimization process as well as some other important concepts. The article is written with the Play store in mind, but the points and principles apply across the board. Check it out!

Thanks for reading!

Have any questions? Ping me over at @justacodingblog
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