Freelance writing requires creativity, focus, and a keen eye for detail. It also requires skills less directly related to writing, such as good organization and project management, which are essential for handling different projects at once and staying on top of deadlines. These 5 best tools for writers are designed to support writers on all fronts, helping to improve writing quality and consistency, as well as encourage discipline and boost efficiency:
Even the most careful writers can slip up when it comes to grammar, syntax, and typos. That’s where Grammarly comes in. Offered as an online tool, plug-in, or app, Grammarly is a typing assistant that evaluates and corrects your writing as you go, checking not only for typos, but inconsistent verb tenses, punctuation errors, and more. Thanks to the artificial intelligence powering it, Grammarly can also provide constructive suggestions to actually improve your output, such as a stronger word choice or a more concise sentence structure.
You can sign up for various Grammarly subscription levels: the free version includes basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation suggestions, as well as tone detection and conciseness analysis. Paid versions come with more advanced features, like sentence rewrites, word replacement, and plagiarism detection. The variety of plans that Grammarly offers is also why it’s one of the best tools for writers.
For many freelance writers, online distractions are a major challenge. Addictive websites and apps like Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram can eat up hours of your time and pull focus away from work. Fortunately, there has been a rise in online tools that combat these distractions and encourage productivity. Among them is Freedom, an app and website blocker compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome.
Freedom lets you temporarily block the websites or apps that distract you most. You can even make a schedule ahead of time that will keep you out of specific apps across all your devices. Want to stay away from Facebook for 4 hours on Tuesday morning to finish a deadline? Done! Need to stay away from social media everyday until noon? Easy! Take advantage of Freedom’s free trial to see if it improves your writing focus. If it does, the tool offers a modest monthly or annual subscription.
Named after one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Hemingway is one of the best tools for writers that aims to improve your writing style. Available for free in browser or as a paid desktop app (great for offline work), Hemingway has a useful editing function that evaluates your work and highlights areas for improvement.
Complex or convoluted sentences will be highlighted in yellow or red to indicate where they can be simplified. Green text will let you know where you may be using the passive voice. And purple highlights where you can streamline and strengthen word choice. Hemingway also provides useful information, including your work’s reading level and estimated reading time.
Brainstorming and note-taking are an essential step in the writing process, but for more visually minded folks, a linear text list is not always the most inspiring. Coggle is an online application that allows you to visualize your ideas in a dynamic way. The mind mapping tool helps you plan out a project by categorizing and organizing different topics and subtopics.
It’s a great way to make sense of your ideas, break them down, and prioritize the most important ones. It can also be used to visualize the different writing projects you have going on to help you stay organized. As an added bonus, Coggle lets users invite teammates to collaborate on mind maps. The tool is also free to use.
Last but certainly not least is Google Drive—a truly indispensable series of tools for freelance writers. The free file storage system offered by Google comes with a suite of tools, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. For writers, Google Docs is particularly handy when it comes to the best tools for writers
An online word processor with functions similar to Microsoft Word and Pages, it auto-saves your work as you write and is accessible across different devices. Simply sign into your Google account and you’ll be able to pull up any of your files from anywhere. Perhaps the best part is that Google Docs is collaborative. This means you can easily share word documents with editors or colleagues and see their input and suggestions in real-time.
These 5 tools are great for freelance writers, but they can also benefit other freelance professions too. Similarly, as a writer, you may want to check out some of the other freelance tool suggestions in our SkillPack, including the 10 best free tools for creatives.