Last Updated on October 22, 2019 by Chimezie Chidi
This article explores some of the best tools for freelance writers. These are tried and tested tools you should consider checking out for your next writing gig.
The life of a freelance writer is a delightful lifestyle. But it has many challenges. Even with the benefits of being carefree, we strive to find a balance between freedom and flexibility.
According to writersincharge.com, our struggles compound because we contend against time, there never seems to be enough of it.
Who is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer works independently, writing for lots of clients and gets paid after every assignment. Freelance writers go by many names, depending on the kind of services they render.
According to Elna Cain, who calls herself a professional writer, here are some names you may find online, which are associated with all kinds of freelance writers:
- Content writer: the focus is writing all kinds of contents such as white papers, eBooks, blog posts.
- Freelance Blogger: writes primarily for blogs
- Copywriter: creating content for sales pages, promotional, billboards, catalogues, websites of businesses.
- Ghostwriter: focuses on building contents such as blog posts, website pages, emails, eBooks, white papers having no authority or recognition for them.
- SEO writer: creates highly optimized contents essentially for ranking high on Google
- Professional writer: writes everything for anyone on a freelance basis.
Why do Freelance Writers need these tools?
All freelance writers enjoy the perks of having no obligations to a unit, but the trials, we face daily, if left uncontrolled can either burn us out or leave us with no clients at all.
We battle with finding the right paying clients, creating excellent articles without batting an eye, communicate daily with clients, preparing invoices and dealing with an endless list of distractions.
According to Makealiving.com, this is because, freelancing has a lot of moving parts and we need to make sure that they move together in the proper direction, otherwise, it can be a disaster.
Luckily, technology has blessed us with smart tools for freelancers we can use to deal with a number of these challenges. With these devices, I have been able to balance my budget, keep track of time, organize my workload and find space to get everything done.
In this article, I will introduce you to some of the best tools for freelance writers, I have tried and tested, alongside some others, you should also consider checking out.
Brainstorming apps for freelance writers
From time to time, you will require tools that would help you keep track of ideas which can be organized into articles or even eBooks.
Creative writers need these tools especially when they have to organize scenes, characters, and plots.
Freelance writers who prepare promotional materials may also find these applications pleasant.
This fantastic tool would help creative writers brainstorm and come up with matching words, names or synonyms.
If you want to use alliteration, it is also a great tool. For instance, you can find words that begin with “blue” or adjectives that start with ‘C.”
It also has a thesaurus/reverse dictionary for words, you can’t seem to remember, but you know their meaning.
Also, it is totally free, just bookmark the webpage and enjoy.
Evernote as the name implies, helps you jot notes or ideas.
All kinds of writers would find this tool useful; it can be used to write stuff or outline a project. Think of it as a replica to your little pocketbook but infinitely better because you can find your notes faster.
I love using Evernote, especially when I am on the phone with a client, its often quite better to place it in there, so I have all the details in one place.
Evernote is also completely free.
Proofreading apps for freelance writers
Writing would be absolutely thrilling if you never needed to go back, proofread, cut, edit and cut some more.
Editing takes far more time than the actual writing, and a lot of writers including myself find this a serious challenge.
However, all thanks to technology, we can breathe easy when doing our edits.
There are many proof-reading tools, you can use, but this is my favourite tools.
The free version of Grammarly gets you a super primary tool.
This means you can check grammar, spellings, and punctuations. If you want more functionality, such as a free plagiarism tool (not one of the best anyway), then you would have to pay $29.95 per month.
The premium version also gets you a chance to get rid of your passives and repetitions. You should also edit your work further or get an editor to look over your work before submitting it.
This freelance writing tool is excellent. It can help you enhance the readability of your work by getting rid of wordiness or technical terms.
People reading online, do not like articles filled with jargon or technical terms, they also would like articles that are easy to read on a smartphone.
Hemingway App is absolutely excellent for that job.
I began using Ginger recently, and I must say, it is a beautiful tool.
The free version offers you a spellings checker, rephrasing tool and a synonyms box.
It is better than the Grammarly app for catching syntax-related errors. But, the Grammarly app catches more errors in general than the Ginger app.
The premium version includes access to previous mistakes and an efficient translator tool to translate words in well over 20 languages.
The premium costs about $20 per month.
The ProWriting Aid tool is excellent for cleaning out your writing.
By cleaning I mean, it ruthlessly gets rid of repetition, redundancies, passives, grammar and spelling problems. It checks until your readability score is very high.
However, it is better to at least proofread on a different grammar checker, like Grammarly before using this tool, because the spelling and punctuation checks are not entirely accurate.
It also checks for consistencies and echoes, making sure you are not just repetitive on words but also phrases.
The free version lets you check only about 300 words at a time which is disheartening.
But, it is by far the cheapest writing tool because the premium only costs $50 a year for unlimited checks.
Managing your time
We have all heard the cliche that time is money.
However, no one understands the true meaning of this word like the freelancer.
We are forever, struggling against time, trying to manage every bit of it effectively because, we literally, are paid by the amount of time we can put into a project.
Different projects have their specific schedules; therefore, we need an app that can keep track of the time for us, thus increasing our productivity.
Time Doctor is a remote time tracking application built specifically to track remote employees' productivity.
The software can be used by individuals/freelancers or teams to track time for tasks as well as to monitor computer activity, by taking screenshots while working, monitoring keyboard and mouse activity, and tracking web app and website usage.
Time Doctor is not only a remote time tracking tool but a digital timesheet that is created to improve your productivity, payroll and accounting management as well.
With Time Doctor, you can quickly allocate time to individual tasks, and you will receive pings from time to time while working to remind you of the current task you are researching on the internet.
That’s not all. While using Time Doctor, you can integrate over 32 apps including Basecamp 3, Asana, QuickBooks, Salesforce etc. on the same platform.
You don’t also have to worry about the security of your data. Time doctor uses active SSL encryption and 24/7 monitoring to assure you of the safety of your data.
The firm behind the software has a team of over 70 people working 100% remotely in 28 different countries, and everything is possible because of Time Doctor.
The Toggl app is quite essential. You can create projects, and add a list of tasks underneath, precisely according to a time frame within the project.
It also records the time you spend on each job and gives you reports to help you evaluate the levels of your productivity. You can also send these reports to your clients, so they can appreciate the effort put into their projects.
Toggl has a basic free plan for all first timers on their platform which runs for 30 days, after which, you must pick a package.
Plans start at $9 per month. However, billings are yearly.
Timely is an excellent app. It has a wide array of widgets from popular software such as Asana, Tesla and Trello with each software adding its unique features into this tool. Timely will track your time beyond projects. It tracks everything you do, the time spent working, time spent in your car and every other affair you carry out during your day.
It works by tracking everything you do during the day and then gives you a report so that you can modify and improve your time management.
Subsequently, you can go about your workday with only little modifications from time to time.
Timely is quite fantastic because, with this tool, your entire time tracking needs is taken off your hands, you do not need to reset timelines but rather modify existing schedules.
For first timers, you will receive a 15-days free trial, after this, you will have to pick your package. A solo plan gives you a 50-day timeline for 3 active projects at $7 per month to be paid yearly or $8 for a single month.
Organizing your workflow
Freelancers, struggle with keeping their tasks in order. There is always a deadline to meet, fitting jobs that suddenly pop-up, an endless search for a place to work and yet, time to merely hear your own thoughts.
If you share these challenges with me, here are a few apps that can also help you.
Asana would help you organize your goals, projects, and minor tasks.
It is quite excellent if you have a big project which requires the work of more than two people.
With Asana, every member of your team can receive accurate details about their daily tasks in real time. You can equally modify their assignments from time to time and track each person’s effort in real time.
Plans begin from $11.99 for a month or $9.99 per month to be billed yearly.
Trello is ideal for keeping track for long writing projects. Trello gives you access to dedicated boards, cards and lists to organize and prioritize your work.
It offers access to colour-coded cards to map out the status of each project and track all ideas you will like to develop in the future.
Trello offers you a free and business class version.
The free version is okay for growing freelancers and gives you access forever.
The business version would let you power up to a 250MB worth of files, assign tasks to team members and track their progress.
There is also an enterprise version for large companies who have multiple teams working on different projects at once.
The business version costs $9. 99 per user/month, but if you have a more prominent organization, then it would cost you about $20.83 per user/per month, all of which will be paid yearly.
Coschedule is simply an editorial calendar that allows you to organize your workload, upcoming projects and connect to the social media.
With this tool, you can view your entire schedule in a simple interface. Also, you can integrate with favourite apps and tools such as Google Analytics, WordPress, Chrome, and all social media platforms.
There is also a free Coschedule Headline Analyzer tool, that would help you structure a compelling headline for your project.
For everything else, there is a 15-day trial period, after which plans range from $20 to $1, 400 per month, but billed annually.
Keeping track of your budget
One of the lovely perks of freelance writing is that you will get paid at the end of each project. However, it can be a challenge to organize your funds when you have no idea how much you earn monthly. Here are some apps that can help you with that.
Invoice Genius is absolutely free and helps you create an invoice, track their status, receive payments online and keep track of your freelancing revenue.
You can also add a signature section to your invoices making it very official while using Invoice Genius.
However, Invoice Genius only works on Android and IOS platforms.
QuickBooks helps you track your revenue, expenses, and taxes.
You can also create invoices and get paid from anywhere (PayPal, Credit cards, Square, banks, etc.).
It also organizes your payroll service, so your employees and other contractors are paid without fuss.
Plans begin from $10 per month.
Freshbook is an extensive cloud accounting tool that tracks your time, creates invoices, monitor your income and expenses.
Since it has its own time tracking feature, it is quite excellent for freelancers who work by the hour and would instead use a single tool to track time, organize workflow and manage their money at a go.
It is free for the first 30 days. Plans range from $15 to $50 per month which you can save 10% if you pay yearly.
This list contains a lot of different apps that you may find useful. However, you cannot use all of them but must pick only the tools that would work for you.
Take a look at the different areas of your writing life, what kind of clients do you have, what kind of billing system do you use and what ways can you improve.
When you find answers to these questions, check to see, if there are apps on this list that would work for you.
Feel free to come back and check for an alternative, if the app you picked is not effective enough.
Seriously, freelance writing is an excellent job; there is always new stuff to research and what’s not to love about having the ability to control our time.
However, with the tools in the list, I believe you have got all areas of your freelance writing business covered.