5 tools every writer needs
Like any other job, writing can be made a heck of a lot easier if you have the right tools, especially if you are writing online. Whether you are writing content for websites or penning your future bestseller, these tools will help get the job done faster, and get it done right. Here’s my list of 5 tools every writer needs to use.
Evernote (Free version)
I love Evernote, and I don’t even know how to use it properly. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I probably only use about a quarter of the app’s full potential, but man, does it make life a lot easier! I love the fact that I can take my iPad out with me to work on articles, blog posts, or whatever while I’m sitting in the waiting room for one of my daughter’s weekly medical appointments or Girl Scout meetings. I just open up Evernote, work on the thing I need to write, and it syncs with the rest of my devices.
I can go home, pull up Evernote on my laptop, and pick up where I left off on the iPad, and vice-versa. Huge time-saver for me, since I can do projects in bits and pieces rather than having to transfer partially completed stuff from one device to another.
Ginger grammar and spelling software (Free version)
Anyone who knows me knows that I am *cheap*. I have to be, I have three kids, three dogs, two cats and a mortgage, plus a husband with expensive tastes! Ginger is like the poor-writer’s professional editor. It reads what you type, as you type it, and lets you know if you make any spelling or grammar mistakes.
It’s not completely fool-proof, but it’s pretty darn good for free software. And, if you’re writing blog posts or web content, you don’t have to have college professor-good grammar. Ginger does have its quirks (it likes to correct EVERYTHING), but you can make some adjustments in the settings to fix that. Before Ginger, I mostly used Paperrater to check my shorter pieces, but I like Ginger much better. Try both, see which you prefer, or use them both interchangeably.
Google Documents and spreadsheets
I have a confession to make. I hate spreadsheets. In fact, I can barely manage with them. But, Google spreadsheets seem to understand my deficiencies in this area, and I can, so far, manage quite well with their free spreadsheets. And their word processing for documents is perfectly adequate, though I must confess I use OpenOffice more for that. However, OO has a really bad tendency to crash in the middle of whatever urgent thing I’m working on, so Google Docs has the edge here. It automatically backs up everything you type in real time, and you can save it offline, if you want, so you can work on it even if you lose internet access.
A place to keep notes
Okay, so this one is a bit vague, but that’s because there are a LOT of good ways to keep track of the important information you’ll want to refer back to when writing.
If you are good at keeping your bookmarks organized, use this method. I am not good at keeping mine organized, but I’m getting better. I’ve started making folders in my bookmarks tab (I have Windows 8 and use Chrome, for what it’s worth), and I try to remember to file new bookmarks in the appropriate folder.
Pinterest is good for this, too, especially if you are using articles with lots of images, because they tend to stick out more in your memory, or at least they do in mine. I put internet marketing articles, craft articles, and other odd stuff I find in my Pinterest feed. It makes it easier to find stuff if you’re a visual thinker, like me.
I also just write stuff down. It’s not very high tech, but I keep several notebooks to jot stuff down as I think of it. This is a great way to outline stuff, so you can write faster.
Sometimes, it’s hard to come up something to write about. If you’re writing an article for a content mill and only have a keyword to go by, you need some instant inspiration. I like to go hit up Quora, a question and answer site that usually has lots of good industry topics.
Recently, I found a site called Soovle, and it is pretty neat. You simply type a word or phrase into the search box, and it produces the top searches from all the major search engines. This lets you see what other people are searching for, so you can write about something that people want to read.
Another fun tool is Portent’s content idea generator. You plug in a subject, and it comes up with a suggested title, so you can write your article around the title. Some suggestions are hilarious, some downright stupid, but it’s a great way to get your creative juices flowing.
Okay, so maybe I just gave you more than 5 tools for your writer’s toolbox. I’m generous like that, lol! Now, go write something, and make some money while you’re at it!
Do you have any favorite tools you use to get your content created? Share it with the rest of us in the comments section below!