This is a guest post by Benjamin Chiang, an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labor issues, and chocolate. As a writer, his work has appeared on www.fivestarsandamoon.com, Yahoo, Vulcanpost.com among others. You can find him at www.rangosteen.com or follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brchiang
The 10 Best tools for Bloggers and Freelance writers
If you are a blogger or a freelance writer churning material for an income, you will likely face a basket load of productivity problems. These include:
- Day-to-day journaling
- Writing productivity
- Organizing research
- Graphic making
Here are some tools, both free and paid, that will help you meet your deadline!
In the old days, Hemmingway wrote on Moleskins and lugged them all around in heavy trunks (albeit heavy Louis Vuitton trunks). Though romantic to write in, you may find difficulty running a keyword search on notebooks. That’s why most of us now prefer Apple iPads.
Capture images, voice clips, attach files, web pages and store them into virtual notebooks with Evernote. Your work is synced across all your devices, ready to be worked on and developed whenever and wherever you’re ready. Evernote also includes an audio note feature, so you’re now able to take interviews, make recordings and then index them for search later. (Price: Free for basic service)
Paper by FiftyThree
More than just typing, Paper by FiftyThree is an all-in-one digital journal for the iPad. It organizes your material into “notebooks”, storing your sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes and ideas into easy to find digital pockets. A set of integrated pens, pencils, brushes, and colors will surface the Picasso in you. (Price: Free)
A good writing app ought to be lightweight (so no clunky programs like Microsoft Word). It has to help with pesky citations. It has to sync with all my devices. And because writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it also has to take annotations and notes.
Ulysses III is gorgeous to work with. It is very lightweight, so it loads in a snap. It syncs with iCloud and Dropbox, so you can pick-up the writing whenever and wherever. You can clip text, graphic and PDF attachments to a little side panel, so you always know the source of your research. Citations are dropped in easily – hit a keyboard shortcut, paste in the citation and let the app do the rest. (Price: $44.99)
Scrivener is more than a writing app. It includes tools for annotations, collecting research, outlining and managing your writing. Equipped with a powerful search feature, you can hunt for material hiding away in the folder maze you will eventually create. If you produce a lot of scripts and novels, this is an app worth considering. (Price: $45)
Hemingway almost sounds like a cliche, but it is pretty fun. It helps you highlight problems in your writing, for example, hard to read sentences, adverbs, complex phrases and passive voice. (Price: $19.99)
A good research program is worth investing into. It should help you drop professional citations easily and index your research so that search will be a breeze. Because you will be spending a lot of time building this library, the last thing you want is for the system to fail on you when you need it most. So spare no expense.
Papers3 is a research app that helps you collect and curate research material and to organize it into neat compartments for easy referencing later. It comes with a built-in PDF reader that you can make notes, scribbles and insert attachments on. The system makes backups into your Dropbox account so you will not have to rely on an external cloud service. (Price: $79)
Mendeley is both a desktop research application and also an online community to help you manage, share, and discover content and contacts. It doesn’t sync to iCloud or Dropbox though, so you will have to use their proprietary cloud service. (Price: Free for basic service)
These days, clients don’t just want text-based material alone. Chances are you will have to beef up your work with simple graphics, pictures, graphs, tables and other fancy visuals. Here are some of the few graphic design apps to get you going quickly.
Visme is a magnificent presentation app that also doubles up as a lightweight infographic maker. It comes with easy to use templates and a vast library of graphic assets, you will be building crisp visuals and gorgeous animated charts in minutes. Visme allows you to collaborate and work as a team if you so please. Whilst you’re busy building graphics, don’t forget this is also a robust presentation maker that you can use to articulate your ideas with for pitching to a client. (Price: Free for basic use)
Adobe Photoshop Mix
If you have ever wanted to make quick image cutouts and tell a visual story, you will want to give Photoshop Mix a try. This is a tablet-based software that allows you to make masks, crops, and combinations quickly and easily. Have a look at the samples, some of them are utterly amazing. (Price: Free)
Ultimately, your project is going to be edited and reviewed by a team of people. You will eventually need to transfer your work to a platform for others to work on.
With cross-platform support, seamless integration and concurrent multiuser collaboration, there is little reason why you wouldn’t want to use Google Docs for your editing work. You can work on multiple devices, and there’s no need to sync anything because everything is web-based. It also comes with all the features of a desk-based Word processor, so you can work on this completely if you choose to. (Price: Free)
Remember when I said “there is little reason why you wouldn’t want to use Google Docs”? Well, here’s one: #Apple. If you think the world is infested with .docx extensions and want to change it, then join the Pages revolution. The web-based service stays true to Apple’s obsession with aesthetics and simplicity, meaning handsomely designed documents. It also features multiuser collaboration and yes, if you must ask…it is Word compatible. (Price: Free)
Here’s a bonus tool: Milanote. Milanote offers plenty of handy tools for various applications, including design and writing. For our purposes, it’s the creative writing tool that will come in handy for most people. Milanote lets you create a hub for your story and organize every part of it in one flexible place. It’s the ultimate birds-eye view to keep your vision on track. Use it to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in a non-linear fashion that matches the way most writers think!