Whether you’re penning a novel or working on a smaller project such as an article for a blog, there are many online tools that can assist you, and best of all, many of them are free!
Here are a few of my favorite “must haves” from my writing toolbox:
Trello – Before you begin any writing project, it’s a good idea to start with a brainstorming session and a bit of outlining for organization. Trello makes it fun to do just that! Set up your free account with Trello and begin by creating a new board for your latest project. You can create lists, cards, checklists, assign tags and even invite others to collaborate on your board! This is a fun way to mind map and stay organized all at the same time.
750 words – This is essentially an online journal; a place for you and your thoughts. The creators of this platform were inspired by Julia Cameron’s, The Artist Way, with the belief that writing three pages each morning (approximately 750 words) will not only get you in the habit of daily writing, but it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. You’ll earn points for reaching your daily goal, which makes it fun to rack up points and record your progress. If you love to journal but prefer to type in a safe, password-protected place, you’ll love 750 Words.
Daily Page – Writing is a like a muscle that strengthens with exercise. Therefore, if you want to become a better writer, developing a daily writing habit will get you there much faster. Don’t know what to write about? No problem! When you sign up for Daily Page, you’ll receive a new writing prompt to your inbox each day. There is a small monthly fee of $3.99 for this service, but I find it well worth it to have a new idea delivered each day.
Blog Idea Generator – Do you love to blog but struggle with coming up with fresh article and headline ideas? Try HubSpot’s free Blog Idea Generator! Enter three keywords related to your niche and HubSpot will generate a week’s worth of article ideas for you. For example, I entered writer, book and publishing, and within seconds HubSpot came up with these five blog ideas for me:
• Think You're Cut Out for Writing? Take This Quiz
• 15 Best Blogs to Follow About Writing
• 20 Myths About Publishing
• The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Writing
• 10 Signs You Should Write a Book
Now I have five new article ideas to write about this week!
Trint – You may have more content created for a book than you realize, even if you’ve yet to begin writing! Do you enjoy creating video content in the form of a Vlog, YouTube or Facebook Live? If so, you could have those files transcribed to text and then use that written content to create blog posts, eBooks, lead magnets and more. With Trint, you simply upload your video file, click the ‘transcribe’ button, and in a matter of minutes you have a Word doc containing your transcribed text. Try their free trial and see if it’s right for you before you invest. For me, it’s a staple in my business, so I’m happy to pay $15 per one hour of transcription.
Grammarly – If you ask me, Grammarly is a must-have for anyone who publishes content online. If you’ve ever put out a Facebook post with a simple error only to have the grammar police publicly scold you, then you’ll love Grammarly! Before you publish your next social media post or blog article, copy and paste it into Grammarly to see if your text is free of errors. While it’s not 100% foolproof, it can help you catch embarrassing errors before you publish your content. Grammarly will allow you to check a small section of text for free, but if you do a decent amount of writing, you may find their paid service is well worth the monthly investment.
Google Docs – Finally, where can you house your daily writing in a safe, password-protected place? If you’ve ever had your writing erased or lost because you didn’t properly save a file, or even worse, experienced a computer crash, then you’ll appreciate Google Docs. You can log in and write wherever you are, and best of all, it’s free!
I hope you find these seven must-have tools for writers helpful. Almost all of them offer a free version or a trial period so you can find the ones that are best for you. Enjoy!