14 Tools that Make me Super-Productive as a Writer

my top productivity toolsI’m currently in the process of writing an e-Book, which I plan to release very soon. I want it to be the ultimate guide when it comes to writing online. Before the release of my book, I want to share some of the top tools that make me super productive. Below are 14 tools I use as a writer, which I think lots of other writers could benefit from.

I’ll be adding a few more tools as I discover them. The e-Book is loaded with a lot more tips for writers, so make sure you stay tuned for its release. It will be available for free, albeit to subscribers only, and it should be released sometimes next week, so stay tuned!

14 Tools that Make me Super-Productive as a Writer

You need tools to succeed as a writer, and your knowledge of which tools to use and how to use them can have a huge impact on your writing career. Below are some of the top tools that can help your online writing career. Not all of these tools will be applicable to you, but make sure to go through all of them to ensure you don’t miss the right ones.

1. Problogger Jobs Board

Getting clients has always been the number one challenge most freelance writers face and surviving today as an online writer requires you not only to find clients, but to find the right clients. Looking for clients on online freelance writing portals like Elance.com and Guru.com can sometimes be unproductive, and if you happen to find a gig that suits you the fees might be very low. The Problogger jobs board mostly features gigs for bloggers, and also jobs from clients who require various forms of content written. You will often get better writing job offers by making use of it.

The quality of the jobs found on the Problogger Jobs board is significant when compared to other online portals for one major reason. The jobs listed are heavily moderated to ensure they are “suitable”, and the advertiser has to pay a $50 fee to list a job for 30 days. Those two measures will ensure only people with quality offers are able to contribute (not clients who don’t value you as a writer).

2. Blogging Pro Jobs Board

The second resource on this list is the Blogging Pro jobs board, and it works exactly like the Problogger jobs board.

3. Writeroom / Darkroom

We’re faced with various challenges as writers; the biggest one being distraction. Before working on improving your productivity, you need to realize that there are two kinds of distractions; external distractions and internal distractions.

External distractions are distractions from things and people around you (the kids, TV, the noise etc.) while internal distractions are those from inside your computer (Twitter, that new Gmail message popping up, the latest Facebook/chat notifications etc.). While you can easily overcome the external distractions by having an office, how do you deal with the distractions coming from within your computer? While going offline might be a solution, you will sometimes need to research some facts, and have to waste time getting online again.

The solution is to use software that helps you block out every other view except for your writing software, and that is exactly what the Darkroom software (for windows), and Writeroom software (for Mac), does.

4. Typingtest.com

Being super productive as a writer can do a lot to help improve your earnings, and one great way to ensure your productivity is to improve your typing speed. On all accounts, someone with a typing speed of 75WPM (75 words per minute) will be able to turn out more work than someone with a 30WPM, all things being equal.

Typingtests.com is a website that offers various typing tests to help ensure your typing accuracy and your familiarity with the keyboard. To get the best results, I’d recommend that you use it every day.

5. A Standing Desk

While I don’t use a standing desk as much as I used to, it is one thing I want to improve on. It was also one of my most effective tools when I wrote this article with productivity tips for writers.

There have been studies on the dangers of sitting, and there have also been reports of it contributing to obesity and ineffectiveness in those who spend the most of their day sitting. The solution, in this case, is to look for a way to balance your sitting and standing when it comes to your writing work. Using a standing desk for most (or part) of your day can have a huge impact.

To be more specific, working with a standing desk has been observed to increase my productivity more than 100%.

Before determining not to use a standing desk, you need to realize that exercising regularly cannot help you prevent the dangers that comes with sitting, so make sure to consider this section again (and read the above linked study) before determining what to do.

6. An Additional Computer

A new computer costs less than $1,000 (I’m referring to a Windows laptop here), but if you are someone who has a good database of clients but find it difficult to work, a good computer can end up adding ten times the amount of your purchase to your pocket in no time.

The new computer will be dedicated to your writing and nothing else. In other words the internet won’t even be installed on it. Whenever you want to write you can use the new computer. When you need to use the internet you can use your other computer.

You might be wondering why I recommend having 2 computers, but considering the fact that the majority of the online distractions writers face is as a result of the internet (Twitter, Facebook, Email etc.), having multiple computers can go a long way to saving you time and money.

7. An idea notepad

Some of my best ideas as a writer came to me when I was away from my computer. This has made me realize that preparing to get ideas whenever you are “out there” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re not that technology savvy you might want to have a notebook and a pen that can be used to jot down your ideas, but if you’re more technology focused you might want to try using a digital notepad, a tablet computer, or your mobile phone to jot down ideas whenever you are on the go. Personally, my Blackberry bold 9700 is my own notepad, and I use it to jot down new ideas whenever I’m on the go, or whenever I’m not around my computer.

8. Eye Defender

This is one software application I recommend you have installed on your computer, especially if you spend more than 2 hours in front of your computer screen every day. The Eye Defender software prevents you from straining your eyes  by introducing a screensaver at intervals. By default, a screensaver will be introduced after every 45 minutes to signal that you need a break, and the screensaver will last for just 2 minutes, after which you can continue your work. Of course, you can adjust the settings in the software settings once you download it (I set mine to introduce a 2-minute screensaver after every 30 minutes).

9. F.lux

Like Eye Defender above, F.lux is another software application that helps protect you from the dangers that comes with spending a lot of time in front of the computer screen. What f.lux does is that it helps adjust your computer screen resolution based on the time of the day wherever you are, in a way that ensures you don’t have eye problems if you spend a lot of time in front of your computer.

10. Mozy Backup

Protecting your work should be a priority as a writer, and I wouldn’t recommend allowing your creativity to go to waste due to carelessness on your part. Backing up your files should be a must, and automatically backing them up is even better. Mozy Backup software is software you can install on your computer to automatically back up your files every day in case your laptop is stolen, or in the case of a computer crash. You can configure how many times a day you want your files to be backed up, and you can also configure which folders you want Mozy to backup automatically so as to save time and bandwidth compared to backing up the whole computer.

Your files will be backed up to your Mozy account online, and they can be accessed from any computer in the world. Mozy also costs around $5 a month, but I can guarantee it is going to be one of your best investments.

11. Free Mind

There is always a clear difference between the ideas we get and how developed those ideas are. Sometimes, you only get the title for a blog post, and sometimes you get a whole article idea and the points you need. You might also want to include resources you need when you want to write your articles. Free Mind is a mind mapping software that makes this easy for you, and it makes it extremely easy for you to break down your points in a way that is easy to use and remember in the near future.

12. TIPP10

TIPP10 is a touch typing tool like the Typingtest.com website above, but in this case it is an application that can be installed on your computer. It has various lessons, words, and symbols that you can use to practice so as to improve your touch typing skills.

13. Freelance Writers Den

The Freelance Writers Den is a premium membership site for freelance writers – for which I’m an affiliate. It costs $25 a month, and is a good membership site you should try if you really want to improve your skills/knowledge as a freelance writer. As a member of the Freelance Writers Den you will get free access to courses and guides on freelance writing, interviews with expert writers and a support forum where you can ask questions that bother you and get expert answers.

Plus in case I’m yet to say this, I’m a member myself!

14. OutstandingSETUP

I believe you should only focus on things that matter, and leave the technical aspects to the experts. OutstandingSETUP provides quality hosting and support for anyone interested in having a website, without you having to go through the hassle. It only costs $19 a month, or $190 a year, and they will help you install your domain name, they will help you install your wordpress theme, and they will also ensure you get the best service.

I’m a proud affiliate for OutstandingSETUP, which is why I recommend you use them for your hosting needs.

What are Your Favorite Writing Tools?

What are your favorite writing tools? Which other tools do you think writers will benefit from? Kindly add your 2 cents below! Also, take a minute to spread the word with your writer friends. The tools listed here can make a difference in their lives!

About the Author

Onibalusi Bamidele is the 17 year old founder of YoungPrePro. Follow him on twitter here.
  • http://www.entrepreneursdiscuss.com Kelvin @ Entrepreneurs Discuss

    thanks for this post, I have been trying to build up my writing skills especially now that I own a blog of my own and I find some of tools listed above helpful especially the idea notepad.

    Thanks

    Kelvin Igbinigie

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Hey Kelvin,

      That’s great to hear…I’m glad this post could be of help!

      Regards,
      Bamidele

    • http://bloggersethics.com Tushar@BloggersEthics

      This is a wonderful list and I must say a very well compiled. I am always looking for freelance jobs and problogger job board is a wonderful place to find it

  • http://www.abishekrana.com.np Abishek Rana

    Hi Onibalusi,

    Thanks for sharing this resourceful article for a new writer like me. I have been reading and enjoying your seven part newsletter course, and they are far better what i have read from other bloggers. Besides, my native language is not English, however, I love to write in English. This article is yet another great resource for me and I have been using Dark Room to write articles. And yes, I do have a separate laptop for writing purpose only. I am thankful that you have recommended us to visit ‘pro blogger job board’ and I might find few clients over there. Anyways, thanks for the post and articles, and your insights. Keep up the good work to empower new writers like me. Thank you again!

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Hi Abishek,

      I’m glad you found this article resourceful! I’m also glad you’re enjoying my 7 series newsletter…I can’t wait to release what I have in the works next!

      Having a separate laptop definitely works and it’s cool to see you’re getting great results with Darkroom.

      Feel free to share any other tools you think we might be missing anytime!

      • http://www.abishekrana.com.np Abishek Rana

        hi Oni,

        thanks for the quick response !

        I would recommend using a thesaurus, such as Wordweb would be a great tool to find synonyms and antonyms for common words. Thanks!

  • http://andymerrett.co.uk/writing/ Andy

    That’s a great list of resources. I’ve just started the month’s trial of Scrivener (which is available on both Mac and PC). It might be overkill for shorter articles but when you are writing larger research-based pieces it can be invaluable. It includes the fullscreen mode a la Writeroom/Darkroom, but also lets you add notes and media to your document. do word counts and word frequency counts, and a lot more. It’s fairly pricey but I am already considering the ~$30 for it, as I can already see its benefits.

    On the Mac, MindNode is quite a cool, and free, mind mapping tool. Sometimes it’s just worth doing this with paper and pen, as it’s quicker, but if you’re chopping and changing stuff around and want to get a load of related ideas for topics and such like quickly, it’s a great piece of software.

    I must say, I’ve not been over-impressed with the ProBlogger Job Board. Yes, advertisers have to pay for a listing, but there are still some fairly unappealing items on there. Nevertheless, sometimes the gems do come up.

    I would say that if you can’t invest in a second computer, even having a second monitor attached to the single computer can boost productivity, as it gives you more screen real estate and lets you split applications across monitors without having to switch between them. Great if you’re writing from research material, or to keep your email or communications software open and accessible, but not dominant.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Thanks so much for the awesome comment, Andy! I really appreciate it.

      I’m just hearing about Scrivener for the first time and I think it is an advanced version of both Writeroom and Darkroom, and yes, I’ll be getting this one! Based on what I’ve seen on the web page, it’s just what I need.

      Thanks also for recommending Mindnode for Mac, I’m sure a lot of Mac users will benefit from it!

      You’re right about the Problogger jobs board. There are some slip-ups every once in a while, and I personally haven’t gotten any jobs from it, but I have friends and a brother who have gotten great jobs on it so I guess good offers can be found there every once in a while.

      Another approach you might also want to take in regards to the multiple computer is to create another user account…one which isn’t allowed to use the internet and is focused on your writing alone. I think that will be of great help!

      P.S. For those interested in checking out Scrivener here’s a link to check it out http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

  • http://www.writewideweb.com Write Wide Web

    Great toolss. I find the standing desk quite ingenious. I will have one made for me as soon as possible.

    I write for hours every day and obesity has been a source of constant concern for me.

    Thumbs up, Bamidele.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Awesome, can’t wait to see the angle you take with the standing desk!

  • http://hajrakvetches.com Hajra

    This has been very informative! I always wonder about the resources available and you just made it so much more easier!

    You are one busy man! ;)

    • http://www.itechcode.com Amit Shaw

      Yes Hajra you are right. He is Informative Busy Man(IBM):).

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Thanks, Hajra! I’m glad you found the tools helpful :)

  • http://www.teechworld.com Sheshnath

    It great and much informative for a new blogger like me thanks for this great post.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      I’m glad to hear that :)

  • http://www.itechcode.com Amit Shaw

    Thanks Oni for this post, I want to improve my writing skils bcz i got today PR-3 for my site and i want to improve it more and more and your all post boost me really. These tools listed above helpful for me. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Congrats on the new PR, Amit! Can’t wait to see how you use these tools!

  • http://www.globaltoners.com/ Reeha@printer toners

    this list is quite a new for me, I never read about these tools however some few others i know are also best like them. will check them tomorrow with full concentration.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Cool, kindly let me know what you think about them!

      • http://www.globaltoners.com/ Reeha@printer toners

        I am thinking that these tools will give me a great edge to change my mind and use best latest inventions in IT.

  • http://www.gidilinks.com ade

    Great tips..I will definitely adopt some of them.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Cool, let me know how things go with them!

  • http://www.writing-center.info Deirdre Jones

    Great list. It’s always interesting to see what others writers find helpful. Thanks for sharing your list.

    I have been reading your blog for a while and noticed, as others have, how much you seem to get accomplished. And I have a quick question for you. How do you structure a typical day?

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Anytime Deirdre! Glad you found the tools helpful.

      I think that’s a great question and something I might base a future article on…I’ll keep it in mind :)

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    Nice list of tools Oni, my favorite writing tool is my BlackBerry smartphone.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Awesome, Jamie! My Blackberry is also quickly becoming one of my favorite tools now…I guess I have to start making use of it more effectively :)

  • http://martofimages.com/ Reetika

    You have described here about standing chair. How it helps? I think to avoid obesity it should be used?

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Hey Reetika,

      It helps exercise your body a little bit and ensures you’re not too relaxed.

  • http://www.goalsontrack.com Harry Che

    Great tools!

    Also recommend a goal setting and tracking tool for tracking and reaching your writing goals: http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Thanks, Harry!

      Can you give us an insight into how “Goals on Track” works?

      • http://www.goalsontrack.com Harry Che

        Sure, Bamidele.

        GoalsOnTrack is designed to make accomplishing your goals easier and less intimidating. The application makes it easy to set SMART goals and forces you to define what the goal is, why it is important to you and how you will know when it is completed. Big goals can be broken down into smaller “sub-goals,” which can then be broken down into tasks. To help you visualize your goals, you can choose a picture to represent each one from a selection of motivational stock photos (or upload your own.) GoalsOnTrack will then create a slideshow of the pictures associated with your goals that you can play any time you like. GoalsOnTrack claims that this will help you take advantage of the Law of Attraction.

        Let me know if you have more questions.

  • http://www.carnivalgoa.com/casino/ Goa casinos

    Nice tips to learn new things about writing which can become good part of life specially when you want to become a successful person in life with new ideas.

  • http://zarahslane.blogspot.com/ Leann Zarah

    Hi, Oni.

    Another great post. I hope you’ll write one that provides free/no-charge job boards for freelancers. Also, a post on red flags when it comes to writing clients, as this will help freelance writers decide which opportunities they should grab because the possible employer isn’t exploiting or deceiving them. I know there are writers who also dupe their clients, but for those who have made online freelance writing a career, it’d be to their disadvantage if they don’t deliver quality articles or blogs.

    I find it disheartening, by the way, to see writing opportunities that pay writers – especially ESL ones – US$1.00 or less/100 words. Some people would even require more than 40-80 articles a week or so for a measly pay – as if writing an original work is as easy as paying or sending money.

    Anyway, pardon my online writing angst.

    Keep up with the good work. :)

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Rightfully said, Leann!

      There are a lot of crap job offers being posted online these days and I hope a lot of writers can take the necessary actions against these offers. This is one of the reasons I’ll be releasing a new ebook soon to help create awareness and give people practical advice on what to do.

      • http://lovethoughtszarah.blogspot.com/ Leann Zarah

        Glad to know that Oni. :D Will that ebook be an additional freebie of your site? I hope it’ll be for your subscribers. :D

        Thanks for all the useful insights. I won’t be surprised if you’re having the time of your life now – finance-wise. You’re helping others through your site. :D Like bad news, good things go around.

        May your tribe increase (and more wealth and good health as well).

        Godspeed (Whether or not you believe in one).

        :)

        • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

          Aha, thanks Leann!

          Yep, the ebook will be an additional freebie and for subscribers only :)

          Aha, good things really go around, and amen to your prayers! :)

  • http://www.winagainstodds.com E. Tetteh

    There you go again with all this fantastic and free information. I am so glad about the eye-protection applications. Since I began spending so much time in front of the computer, I now have to wear reading glasses and my last prescription is just for working in front of a computer. I just love that such websites like EyeDefender and F.lux do exist! I am uploading them stat! Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Aha, thanks!

      You really should download those two software as they work.

  • http://www.oracleblogger.com/ bloggingtips

    thanks for this exposition, i really appreciate your efforts, you are a plus to the blogging industry in our days.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Thanks! I’m glad to hear that :)

  • http://livethewritelife.com DJ – LivetheWriteLife

    I use Scrivener for Mac and I also use a standing desk. I also have an Apple Time Capsule for automatically backing up my iMac. It lets me sleep easy at night.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      I also just downloaded Scrivener and it looks really cool. Can’t wait to start using it!

  • http://facebookz.in Gaurav Garg @ Facebookz.in

    Really awesome article and very use full as a writer for me.. :)

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      I’m glad I can be of help :)

  • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

    Great tools, Oni. I’d like to ask what Outstanding Setup does. Do they install plugins, deal with SEO etc? Would they be able to fix a problem if you had one with your site? What’s their level of involvement?

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks! Concerning the Outstanding Setup question, yes, they install everything and setup your blog for you and they also make sure it is SEO-optimized and search engine friendly. If you have any problems with your site they will also be more than happy to help you fix it. The main idea is to help you optimize your site and take care of it so you can only focus on writing.

  • http://techwalls.com/ Tuan @ Technology Blog

    Thanks for sharing the comprehensive list, Bamidele.
    There are some great tools that I haven’t heard about before, so I had to bookmark this page for future reference. I just know about the blogging pro job board and eye defender. Besides, the tool I use to write down ideas and create mind maps is my 5.3 inch smartphone, its stylus works really great to write and draw ideas.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Definitely feel free to come back to check these tools anytime!

      Concerning mindmapping, it is something I also recently discovered and I really love the idea of it.

  • Mudassir

    Hi,

    this is a very nice post, but I wonder why you don’t practically use “high-back ergonomic” chair. I also checked your office snaps on facebook and you are using just a normal chair. So, 15th one should be a high-back ergonomic chair to give frequent rests to your neck.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Hi Mudassir,

      My reason for using the kind of chair I use in my office is because I don’t want to be too comfortable. My main aim is productivity so I try to eliminate anything that makes me too comfortable from my office.

      • Mudassir

        hmmm

  • http://www.wingchun-london.com Martial Arts in London

    I’m not into writing but after reading this .. perhaps I will indulge my self to write from now on. I can only do 4 sentences. Thanks for the tips and tools.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Cool, can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • http://www.howtodoanystuff.com/ how to articles

    My girlfriend also working as a freelance content writer from home. All these tips prove to be very helpful for her. Thanks to author for sharing such nice tips.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Great, I hope this article is of help to hear!

  • http://www.austrianalpineholidaysblog.com linda wilson

    Brilliant – just received my first ever 6 writing jobs! Thanks for the pointers of where to look for work – most helpful. :)

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      That’s so cool to hear Linda, congrats on the success :)

  • http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog Mandy Kilinskis

    I love that you mentioned having a second computer! When I was working on a long writing project the last couple of months, I had to remove myself from my desktop and go use my parents’ laptop. There were no distractions, and I was able to be incredibly productive. I second your recommendation wholeheartedly!

  • http://www.ferblog.com Ferb

    Hi, these 15 tools are great.

    Notepad is good software I think everyone uses to write for blog post. I’m recently try with new method of write post is to write it on a book, it’s getting me a lot of ideas than writing on the computer or Notepad.

    Thanks – Ferb

  • http://www.supernovainternetmarketing.com Robert West

    I like your suggestion of having a second computer dedicated just for writing. I think I’m going to take my Windows laptop and wipe out everything that I have installed on there. That will definitely minimize the distractions.

  • http://vivi-section.blogspot.com/ Vivian

    Hi thank you for the great tips. One thing I would like to add is that I find that of all the freelance sites to source work, I like Odesk the best.

  • http://thepinoyblogger.com thepinoyblogger

    I sit at my desk most of the day and yes my posture is now way off. A standing desk is brilliant and I don’t know why I haven’t thought about it before. Brilliant.

  • http://twitter.com/boyveasley William Veasley

    Thanks for the great tools! I really need more time on my hands because I am a slow writer.

    God bless,
    William Veasley

  • Mars

    There are also different ways and strategies that can help you improve productivity. One of the best ways to improve productivity is to overcome procrastination this way you can get more things done. We tend to be unproductive when we let time control us instead of we control time. Another is before to start you need also to plan things first by creating a to-do list you will be aware on what tasks you need to do first and save more time to do tasks. You can also set an estimated amount of time when working on each task this way you can limit wasted time and stay focus on tasks. There are different tools that can help you improve productivity. It is just depends on what you needed most. Evernote is a great tool that can help you improve productivity. Using this tool it can help you remind things you need to remember like events, meetings, ideas, deadlines, and etc. Feel free to check this tool that can help you track time. ( http://www.timedoctor.com/blog/2010/07/25/how-is-time-doctor-different-than-rescue-time ) I hope this can also help you improve productivity.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com/about Bamidele

      Hey Mars,

      Thanks for the link to Timedoctor; it seems like a great tool and something I’ll be checking out! :)

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