Writing for blogs, websites, and online publications is one of the best things to do. But it is not the easiest job around as it requires a lot of focus, research, and time. One way to make it a little bit easier is to use a combination of the right tools and resources. When I say right tools and resources, I’m talking about things like online tools, desktop programs, mobile apps or even the traditional pen and paper. Here are some of the best tools that every writer should consider using for increased productivity.
1. Note-taking (OneNote or Evernote)
Note-taking is one of the most important things to do as a writer, as we don’t want to forget our ideas or the research. There are several note-taking programs, but two of the most notable ones are OneNote and Evernote. These note-taking apps help you keep organized by providing you a way to save all your ideas, to-do tasks, documents, clippings of web pages, etc., in one place.
OneNote is a powerful and free application from Microsoft. Evernote is much more feature-rich than OneNote and comes in both paid and free versions. The free version of Evernote is limited in terms of features and bandwidth. If you are not using any note-taking apps, then do give the above apps a try and see what fits your needs.
2. OneTab for Chrome and Firefox
OneTab is one of my favorite Chrome extensions and is also available for Firefox. When you are doing your research for writing an article, it is natural that your browser will be filled with lots of tabs. Too many tabs make your browser messy, and you just cannot close them as you might need them in the future. When using OneTab, you can quickly save all those tabs as a list. This helps you reopen the saved tab(s) whenever you need them.
Writer is a simple and distraction-free online writing app which works both online and offline. It provides a minimal and distraction-free writing environment while saving your work frequently. The good features of this free online tool are that all your work is private, and you can save unlimited documents. The other features include, but are not limited to, word count, writing goals, markdown formatting, and support for different export options.
Draft is just like Writer but also offers various advanced features like team collaboration and version control. One of the best things about Draft is that it provides you with a basic copy-editing engine that checks for spelling and grammar mistakes, cliches, over-used words, etc. This feature is particularly useful if you have no one to copy-edit your document. Some other notable features include cloud sync, markdown editor, word count, character count, and comments.
Alternatively, you can also use Google Docs, but it lacks those copy-editing and advanced version control features available in Draft. That being said, Google Docs is very powerful and is also widely used to create, collaborate and share documents.
Grammarly is an online tool that checks for any spelling and grammar mistakes using more than 250 advanced grammar rules. Besides correcting the general mistakes, it can also help you correct sentences and find synonyms for any given word with just a click. This is helpful if you are stuck using a word too many times. Grammarly has a Chrome extension that lets you correct your grammar mistakes anywhere you write in your Chrome browser. Unfortunately, there is no add-on for Firefox.
Grammarly offers both free and premium services with the free service being limited in terms of correcting advanced grammatical errors, checking plagiarism, etc.
6. SpeakIt – Text to Speech
After writing a document or an article, most of us proofread it so that we can correct any mistakes. But it is very hard to find mistakes in our own writing. If you listen to your writing rather than just reading it yourself, you are much more likely to find mistakes. To do that, you can use a free Chrome extension called SpeakIt; it’s also available for Firefox. Of course, this is not a foolproof way, and that is where a copy editor can come to your rescue.
Being a writer means we stare at all those tiny letters on the computer screen all the time, putting a great strain on our eyes. F.lux is a simple app that prevents computer-related eye problems by reducing the bright blue color emitting from your computer or laptop screen. To be precise, the app changes the color temperature of your screen from cool daylight to the warmer reddish color depending on the time of day. So if you don’t mind the color change on your screen, do give the app a try. It works magic.
Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above tools to improve your writing experience or share your favorite tools that help you in your writing.