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