This article was originally published on The Writing Cooperative.
The following sites and apps make a modern writer’s life much easier. I’ve been using some of them for years, some of them are my new discoveries. They’re all free to use — the basic versions. If you’re willing to invest in your writing career, you can upgrade to the pro versions.
What’s the number one most important thing for a writer? — Not to make any grammar mistakes. No matter how good the content is or how talented you are; if your piece is full of typos and mistakes, no one will take you seriously. Not your readers, not the editors.
While there are many correcting sites and programs, Grammarly is the most popular one. It has a clean platform that’s very easy to use, you can register in minutes and add it as an extension to your Chrome.
Another great online app that shapes your writing during the editing process. It highlights the use of passive voice, it tells you if there are too many adverbs, it tells you if a phrase is too long or too complicated. If you take the advice and change these things, you get a cleaner version of your writing.
I don’t change every single thing the app tells me to. Sometimes I decide that the longer sentences are more expressing, or some adverbs are perfect the way they are. But I take most of the advice, cut the unnecessary stuff and come up with a more readable article.
No need for fancy or expensive organizing systems, Google Drive is perfect for me. Clean, transparent, easy to use. I’ve been using it for years so I have no plans to switch. I love to organize my writings into different sections, to have different folders for business and personal documents, to keep records of my progress, and of course, to keep hundreds of lists. (I need to stop with this list-madness I have, it’s getting out of control). Docs and Sheets are all connected to it, so whatever I write in them, gets saved in my Drive folders.
Not to mention the other obvious advantages of it — you can access it from anywhere and from any device, you don’t lose your important docs in case your laptop crashes, and you can use it offline.
In case you still need a fancier online software to organize your stuff, I’d recommend Evernote. It’s a bit more professional than Google Drive, and also a bit more complex. You can link it to your Google account. It’s perfect for taking notes, setting reminders, saving documents and emails into different notebooks. I’ve noticed many young entrepreneurs recommending and using it. I tried it as well, I find it user-friendly, and I like the site’s modern design.
I’m a huge fan of Medium, and you absolutely need to post your writings here if you want to put your name out there, connect with other writers, get views. But you also need to have your own website or blog if you want to become a serious writer. WordPress is the most popular to build your own site. You can have a website for free that looks like this: yourname.wordpress.com, which is a great way to start your blog.
Also, you can buy hosting and domain with your name, to look more official: yourname.com (in my case that’s https://erikadragu.com/). True, this version is not free, but it’s very affordable and looks professional. After all, investing in your career is the smartest thing you can do. You might feel like you’re not ready, or your writing is not good enough. But you need to put your name out there RIGHT NOW, not tomorrow, cause you might never feel ready until you simply do it.
This site is for those writers who want to work in the movie business or theatre. You can write fabulous scripts and plays using Celtx. It has the right format built in it, so instead of struggling to change settings in the traditional writing apps, you can focus on the creative side.
It helps you structure your scripts and plays, the way the professional studios expect them to be, with dialogues, headlines, scene headings, descriptions, actions, characters, transitions. When you’re done, you can download your masterpiece in PDF form. I’ve been using Celtx for 10 years and it has never disappointed me.
Although most content mills have bad reputations for paying starting-out writers poorly for their hard work, many writers start this way. After all, you need to build your portfolio, you need to get clients and gain experience. So if you want to try your luck, register on nDash.
There are many leading brands and professional companies looking for content writers on this site. Create a profile, upload your sample works, set your prices, and start pitching to brands. What would you lose if you tried? With creativity and persistence, you have the chance to land professional assignments and get paid for it.
You wrote your article, you edited it, you’re ready to post it online. What else do you need? You need pictures, to make it more visual and pleasant for the eye, also to set the tone of your writing. Most editors prefer articles with pictures, so they don’t have to spend their own time looking for some.
The best option is uploading pictures you took yourself. They’re original and you won’t have copyright issues. The second best option is getting free stock pictures from online sites. Pexels is one of my favorites. You will find beautiful, high-quality pictures on every topic. Of course, there are hundreds of other free stock photo sites, offering the same.
First a Medium publication, now it has its own website as well. I like their modern minimalist design and their brilliant articles that help writers get inspired, motivated, giving tips on how to become better writers. You can also join them as they’re always on the lookout for talents.
You know the general rules when it comes to submitting to any magazine: read the site to understand their tone, check out their submission guidelines to find out what do they prefer, create your masterpiece, and send it to them.
Jorden Makelle’s YouTube Channel, full of very informative and helpful advice on how to become a freelance writer, how to find your niche, how to find clients. She also has a website, and you can subscribe to her newsletters. If you want to further invest in your career, you can buy her online Killer Cold Emailing course where she explains it step-by-step how to get clients by sending them professional cold emails and pitches.