As I have mentioned several times before, freelance writing needs only the basic writing tools to work with. None of them are too fancy, pricey, or hard-to-manage. When I began writing, my first choice was Microsoft Word, because as awful as it sounds I wasn’t aware of the existence of Google Docs.
With time and experience, my list grew a little longer as I became more professional. Today I use a few writing tools that help me to write and then sculpt out the best version of my work.
You can be writing a novel, school essays, blog posts, almost anything with the tools. Everything in my list is either completely free or has a good enough free version, so buckle up and let’s climb down.
Writing Tools#1 Google Drive
To start with, we have Google Drive. You will use both spreadsheets and docs to create your blog posts. Docs is the software for writing, every writer should use Docs over anything else.
Not only does it keep your files secure for an eternity, but you also get some marvelous features like add-ons, coding scriptwriters, voice typing, and many others. So if you are not already using Google docs I ask you to start right away.
Other than Google docs, you also have spreadsheets. I generally use it for data collection, topic ideas, and keeping track of performances. Also a significant improvement over Microsoft Excel.
Writing Tools#2 Grammarly
Grammarly helps immensely (rhymed:). It is the most reliable software to check spelling and grammar mistakes. I use the free extension and I’m quite content with that. I have met some people, who genuinely think Grammarly helps in writing. That’s not true.
It only helps you to write without spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Programming hasn’t yet reached the level of turning a non-writer into a writer.
Grammarly isn’t error-free though, sometimes in the premium version, it detects faults in my words just because I tweak them a bit. Most of the writers often do that, but as it’s just an app it can only display what’s already in there.
So yeah, if you’re not using the paid version it’s alright. However, there is an option to use the premium version for as low as $3. If you’re interested I’ll write a detailed article on that; let me know in the comment section.
Writing Tools#3 MindMeister
Now if you’re like me, you prefer a plan of attack before undertaking a pile of work. Mindmeister is a tool that offers you to write down your strategy in a mindmap format. I have always wanted to try something similar, and when I finally got it I was amazed.
I wish the free version was a bit more liberating, but guess it’s all right. To explore all the possibilities, you have to purchase an annual subscription worth $50.
Otherwise, you get to create only three mindmaps, or you can just sign up with multiple emails and create as much as you want.
Writing Tools#4 Evernote
If you read Pen Commander regularly, you would know I am an avid reader. I not only read but note down information from every chapter. For that reason, I need something that keeps all the information together and delivers it as needed.
Evernote, the ultimate free writing software, is my go-to app for this scenario. Although I have seen some people using high-quality software like roam research, they are hell expensive. And we don’t need such scholarly tools unless you’re working on your thesis.
Writing Tools#5 Hemmingway app
Hemmingway app is for SEO writers primarily. When I’m writing for a client who is very specific about readability scores and passive voices, I turn to Hemmingway.
It scans the whole article and points out the lengthy sentences, difficult words, unnecessary adverbs, passive voices, and some other features of my writing.
If you’re using it, make sure to aim for a 5-7 readability score, the lower your score the better it is. Even if you’re not writing for search engines, it’s good to keep your writing understandable for a general audience.
In my experience, keeping your paragraphs short, words easy, and sentences active helps to gain readers’ attention. The days of half-page long sentences with words twisted as hell are gone.
Writing Tools#6 Canva
Canva is a SAAS platform to edit photos, thumbnails, and other pictures to use in your articles. it’s completely free and easy to use. As a writer, I have often felt the need to illustrate my point with some visuals.
Canva is exceptionally capable of handling such designs, all you need to do is just click a few times (a bit more than that actually). Specific social media posts like Instagram photos or Pinterest pins are easy to create in Canva.
Most of the pictures used in Pen Commander are edited in Canva.
These writing tools should be enough for you as long as you’re a beginner or intermediate. However, If you’re a freelance writer, you need a few more tools to manage your business.
Paypal is the single most important payment platform all through the word. Most freelancers and businesses use Paypal to send and accept payment. Create a PayPal business account right now. You could get a $10 commission if you click on the link and register your account.
We freelance writers are always making invoices, Free invoice Builder makes that process easier. The hectic experience of making an invoice is a lot less here, I created this invoice in under two minutes.
Over to You
These are the basic tools or software you need to start writing or even a freelancing business. Once you start out comfortably, then you can use advanced writing tools for minute details as you need.
So did I miss anything? What are the apps you use that give you a better experience? Tell me in the comment section, I’m keen to know. Also, when you’re at it, share the article with your writing buddies, will ya!
Earlier I posted a similar article on physical writing tools.