Simplify Your Writing, Simplify Your Life: 10 Digital Tools For Freelance Writers

tools for freelance writers

Welcome to the digital age. You’ve tossed away your typewriter for a little keyboard attached to a TV, and now you want to know how to get this thing to make words. Well, fear not frustrated freelancer. There are dozens of great tools for freelance writers of all stripes to create your masterpieces. Whether you’re looking to add order to your freelance business, write an ebook, a screenplay, or pen the next great novel, you can find a tool to simplify your writing and, in turn, your life.

1. Scrivener

Jack of All Trades, Master of Most

Scrivener

So you’ve been writing a novel for what feels like forever. You’ve got papers strewed all over your office with so much red ink they look like Jackson Pollack paintings. Wouldn’t you like to have a tool that takes all that mess and organizes it digitally?

Of course, you would. Enter Scrivener! It’s a very powerful program that can create novels, screenplays, e-books, and more — right down to the final compilation of the final draft. All that’s required of you is the actual writing part. The amount of control Scrivener gives you is overwhelming, to be honest. 

2. Evernote

Making You Part Elephant

tools for freelance writers - evernote

Elephants never forget, so the saying goes, and thanks to Evernote, you won’t have to either. We all get those sparks of inspiration throughout the day that we can’t get back. With Evernote, we have the option to jot down notes at any time of the day, across any device. You can download Evernote for Windows, Mac, Android or iOS, and whenever you open it, you’ve got everything you’ve stored right there, be it a list, a picture, or a document.

3. Freshbooks

Your Back-End Swiss Army Knife

tools for freelance writers - freshbooks

Writing is a wonderful way to make a living, but problems can arise when you want to keep track of your money. That’s where apps like Freshbooks come in. It focuses on invoicing, billing, expenses, and more, so you can spend more time doing the work you love.

Speaking of doing the work, Freshbooks has the function to create a shared virtual workspace to work on projects. You can bring in clients, employees, and contractors to coordinate together and get the job done.

4. Final Draft

Screenwriter to the Stars

tools for freelance writers - final draft

From the silver screen to the small screen, everyone has something wonderful to say about Final Draft. It’s the program that many production studios and film people use. Joss Whedon might be writing the next MCU movie on it right this minute. If you’re interested in any form of scriptwriting, what better platform to get started on than the one most professionals are already using?

5. LibreOffice Writer

I Want To Be Free!

tools for freelance writers - writer

If you’ve ever wanted to make documents but also satisfy your need for open source software, then do we have a program for you. LibreOffice is a completely free and open source group of software that covers most of the functionality of Microsoft Office’s most-used functions and even crosses over into Adobe Creative Suite’s territory with its Draw program, which allows you to create flowcharts and edit vector images.

LibreOffice Writer has limited functionality compared to Word, but it’s still a very powerful program and works with its competitor’s file extensions. Check it out if you’ve been looking for an alternative to Office.

6. Xero

Accounting Software With Every Right to Brag

tools for freelance writers - xero

This is the second accounting tool on this list, but Xero doesn’t call itself “Beautiful Accounting Software” without good reason. Xero goes above and beyond.

The tool can connect with over 500 different apps including Quickbooks. But its ability to connect with banking software is its true power: it can reconcile bank transactions on a piece-by-piece basis. It’s the perfect way to micromanage and make the most of your money. So yeah, Xero is pretty dang beautiful. Make sure you tell it every time you log in. 

7. Sigil

Just the Ebooks, ma’am

tools for freelance writers - sigil

If you’ve ever been in business for yourself, then you know creating an e-book is a great way to get your name out there. And if you’re writing fiction, you can crank them out episodically. If you end up getting good, you can make a comfortable chunk of change just publishing straight to Amazon.

Many word processors and even the mighty Scrivener can try to compile your text into the necessary format, but Sigil is the only software developed for strictly publishing e-books. Even better, it’s completely free to download.

8. Focus Writer

Shut Up and Write

tools for freelance writers - focuswriter_image

We’ve all got those little things that distract us from getting our writing done: laundry, errands, sleeping, eating, personal lives, the list goes on. One of the biggest culprits is the computer itself, with all those little social media tabs, video games, and news pages that we all end up running to in the name of “research.”

Enter Focus Writer. It’s a free program which completely clears your computer of toolbars, windows, and distractions. All you’re left with is a blank page and a pretty background (which is completely customizable). So sit down, open it up, and let the words flow.

9. Grammarly

Make Your Words Impenetrable

tools for freelance writers - grammarly

For all but the most seasoned editor, grammar continues to be a nuisance. It makes us go back to our text again and again to find the little errors we make in the throes of composition. And after all that struggle, our editors still find stuff we missed.

That’s where Grammarly comes in. With an eye much sharper than the spell checkers in Google Docs or Word, it will alert you to a number of different issues. The basic version is free, but the premium version is under $12/month if you pay annually and offers a full scope of tools that will have your back, including plagiarism detector, advanced punctuation help, vocabulary enhancement suggestions, and genre-specific writing style checks.

10. Hemingway App 

Omit Needless Words

tools for freelance writers - hemingway app

So, you’ve grabbed your program of choice and poured your heart and soul into creating your new work. What do you do now?

You edit it.

Hemingway can be a big help. It monitors old crutches like passive voice, adverb infestation, and super long sentences and gives you a readability score, total read time, and suggestions on how to fix what it sees wrong. It’s like getting an editor to look at it before you send your work to an actual human editor. What a great concept!

Man, that was a ton of tools, apps, and other techno-sorcery to help you do what you do, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s out there! New programs and tools for freelance writers are being created every day to make your job easier, so we want to hear from you: if you’ve got any favorites that we’ve missed or some programs you think are better alternatives to ours, let us know in the comments. Happy writing!

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Rick is a writer, editor, and citizen of the internet. He's written for TV, radio, print, blogs, websites ebooks, and edited all the above. He likes writing stories that make people feel things and barbecuing food that he eats way too much of. He likes having clients too, so check him out over at RicksWriting.com to see what he can do for you. He high-fived a bear once.

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