The modern writing world is very much a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, writers have more responsibility than ever before. Research, marketing, finance – there are a lot of tasks to perform, skills to learn, and plates to keep spinning.
On the other, there are more opportunities and tools available than at any point in history. People around the world can make a living as a writer, and can use state of the art technology in pursuit of their deepest dreams. That’s something to celebrate.
If you’re feeling stressed out or down due to your writing responsibilities, here are three types of tool to lighten your load and make life more manageable.
Has there ever been a more important time to research your writing?
No matter if you create online content, or write books, research can make or break your project.
There’s such an abundance of writing out there that thorough research is one of the best ways to make your work stand out, boost its credibility, and increase the value it provides to those who read it.
For writers who grew up in the age of the internet, it’s hard to imagine how tough things used to be. The opportunities is to find quality information, and make use of it in writing projects, were a lot more limited.
If you want to make the most of the blessing that is the modern research environment, here are a few tools that can help out.
- Wolfram Alpha. Sometimes, you want facts, reliable facts, and nothing but the facts. If that sounds like you, check out Wolfram Alpha. You can use it to get the factual information you need for your writing without having to wade through questionable search results.
- Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a pretty special resource, and can be used in a number of ways. Writers of historical fiction or nonfiction can use it to get hands on with the literature and language of past eras. It’s also an incredible opportunity for writers who use intertextuality.
- Title Generators. Have you ever felt at a total loss of what to write about? Sometimes, to nudge your research in the right direction, you need a shot of inspiration. Using a title generator can help you to think of an angle or perspective which then informs your writing research process.
- Google Keep. If you’re like a lot of writers, and creative people in general, you might feel more capable of expressing yourself in the moment rather than storing and using a large amount of information. Apps such as Google Keep and Evernote allow you to capture flashes of inspiration before they float away forever.
- A physical notebook. Tools don’t have to be digital. There are a lot of benefits to jotting down your research by hand. If you’ve become used to the digital world, give a physical notebook a try and see if you enjoy the experience.
No matter which research tool you decide to use, always keep its purpose in mind. Don’t research for the sake of it. Make sure it will strengthen your writing and add value for your intended reader.
While it’s true that specialist writing tools aren’t essential to produce great work, they can definitely help!
From word processors designed to meet the needs of writers just like you, through to invaluable self-editing resources, there are many helping hands available than ever before.
Here is a selection of some of the best writing tools out there, along with some tips on making them work for you.
- Scrivener. If you write novels, Scrivener is an invaluable writing tool for you. Plenty of reputable authors use it for all types of writing, but its complexity and learning curve mean it’s a smart choice for complex writing projects in particular.
- Google Docs. Google Docs is one of the best writing tools out there. It’s powerful, customizable, and cloud-based. It’s also amazing for collaboration.
- yWriter. If you want a free alternative to Scrivener, check out yWriter. It’s been created by a novelist, so you can use it safe in the knowledge that is has the needs of authors firmly in mind.
- Grammarly. It’s hard to imagine how many writers have been helped by Grammarly. The free version is an incredible resource, and the paid option takes things to another level. It doesn’t just fix your mistakes – it gives you self-awareness as a writer, showcasing your weaknesses and illuminating a path to improvement.
Take the time to choose a selection of writing tools that are a good fit for your intended usage, process, and budget. Just make sure that selecting and learning tools doesn’t become a form of procrastination – tools are there to serve your writing, rather than distract from it.
Regardless of whether you love or hate the need to market your work, it’s undeniably true.
The level of marketing required changes from writer to writer. Freelance content creators might need to maintain an impressive profile on a site such as Upwork, for example. Self-published authors might need to envision and execute a complex marketing plan.
No matter the type of marketing you need to carry out, there is a useful tool out there for you. Here are a few of the best.
- Hootsuite. Social media is a great way to connect with readers and fellow writers, get the word out about your work, and establish yourself as a writer. It can also be a soul destroying game of whack a mole, engineered to be addictive and keep you in a state of reactivity. To retain the benefits of social media, while eliminating the downsides, use an app like Hootsuite. It will massively boost your social media efficiency, allowing you more time to write.
- Royalties Calculator. Sometimes, the financial side of writing can be a source of stress and paralyze our writing efforts. If you invest in marketing without having a financial plan in place, you end up wasting money and not seeing any real ROI. Calculating your royalties can be a helpful first step in formulating the rest of your marketing plan.
- G Suite. Maybe you can tell by the fact a Google tool has cropped up in every section that I’m a huge fan of what they do. I’ve found a lot of writers aren’t aware of Google Suite. You can manage your author emails with all the ease and powerful features of Gmail and Google Drive. What’s not to love?
For a lot of writers marketing is a pain point, for others it’s an interesting and useful field to get immersed in. No matter which side of the divide you fall on, using the right tools will make your marketing a lot more efficient and effective.
The Right Options For You
If you have the luxury of time, use it to find the right combination of writing tools for you. Experiment and find a combination that benefits your process and provides an enjoyable experience.
Alternatively, reach out to your writer network. Ask a writer you admire what their process and toolkit looks like, and copy it or yourself. You can always make adjustments along the way.
As stressful as the modern writing world can be, it also has a lot of blessings. Seek them and make your writing life that little bit easier.