How To Be A Writer: 20 Great Tools To Help Your Freelancing Career

How To Be A Writer is a series that is titled exactly as it sounds. In the digital age, writers are facing new issues on top of the old. As publishing continues to shift and change, not only are writers forced to change as well, they’re establishing themselves entirely differently, making breaking into the scene even more challenging. In this series, we offer up tips, tricks and general commentary on the journey (or slog) that is being a writer.

Bless the internet, freelancers. Bless the internet because plenty of developers and like-minded business people have created a myriad of tools that are designed to help you complete your jobs easier. From creating the content that made you want to be a writer to begin with, to the mundane task of staying on task, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t succeed if you don’t use some of these tools.

I’ve assembled 20 of the best tools on the web that are broken down into four categories. Feel like I’ve missed a major one or one you like to use? Add it to the list!

Content Creation

A writer’s gotta write, but also just create great content. Whether it’s using a Word Processor, a slideshow carousel, or graphic designs, a content creator must hone their skills to use the best tools out there. Freelancers need a variety of tools to have their talent come to life.

Project & Time Management

With so many projects and clients to keep track of (if you’re lucky!), you’ll need great tools for project management and to accomplish these tasks. There are a plethora of tools on the internet to help you stay on task, but I’ve highlighted some of the best and the ones I’ve used.

Business/Legal Tools

Perhaps the most invaluable section is the one that usually costs the most cha-ching—money and legal tools. Taxes can be a headache for anyone, but try being a freelancer when you have to file taxes frequently and run your own expense reports, accounts, etc. Luckily, there are plenty of online legal and financial resources that can save a freelancer a quick buck.

Social Media & Email Tools

Once the work is finished it is up to you to promote it. With these tools, social media promotion is less of a headache and more of a fun challenge. Plus, there are plenty of apps to help you organize, sort and follow through on checking those pesky emails.

20 Great Tools for Freelancers & Publishers to Use

By Emily E. Steck

Including content creation, project & time management, legal and financial and social media and & tools.

  • Google Apps

    By Emily E. Steck

    A word processor with sharing capabilities, this is perfect for sharing and editing your work with editors, contacts and more.

  • Quietly

    By Emily E. Steck

    Quietly's slideshow carousel is perfect for creating short form content. Its image grabber, mapping capabilities and flexible embedding features make it a great tool to sharpen one's work.

  • OpenOffice

    By Emily E. Steck

    A suite of office tools available to use on your hard drive is available to use for free is a great option for freelancers on the cheap. Plus, it's a fully feature writing platform.

  • Evernote & Skitch

    By Emily E. Steck

    Perfect for writing without distractions, Evernote offers a no-mess solution. Skitch allows users to write, annotate or sketch on photos where you'll want to draw attention.

  • Canva

    By Emily E. Steck

    A great tool to create stunning graphic designs for your work, your brand or anything in between, it's a simple and easy tool to use for those who lack artistic talent.

  • Google Calendar

    By Emily E. Steck

    Sometimes, a simple calendar will do to organize events, projects and more.

  • Oh, Don't Forget…

    By Emily E. Steck

    Prone to forgetting to check emails but you will always respond to a text message? Then this product is for you because it sends you a text message to remind you of important projects and dates.

  • Teux Deux

    By Emily E. Steck

    A very simple "to do" list app that crosses off items when they are finished and neatly organizes what you need to accomplish in one day. 

  • MindMeister

    By Emily E. Steck

    MindMeister is a mind mapping and brainstorming tool perfect for collaborating with multiple users and incorporates multimedia mapping and easy task management.

  • Toggl

    By Emily E. Steck

    A very useful tool for freelancers who get paid by the hour, Toggl tracks how long you stay on each task and calculates how much you make along the way. 

  • DocStoc

    By Emily E. Steck

    Need legal and business docs ASAP? Use this database platform to search for free and pay-for documents and download them instantly.

  • Freshbooks

    By Emily E. Steck

    This cloud accounting system is perfect for freelancers who are somewhere on the spectrum between clueless and certified accoutant.

  • LegalZoom

    By Emily E. Steck

    It's no replacement for consulting a lawyer or an accountant, but LegalZoom is a breeze to use when filing paper work and incorporating your business.

  • DeskTime

    By Emily E. Steck

    Essential for any freelancer looking to expand their business, DeskTime allows you to track employees and time in the most efficient ways possible.

  • Mint

    By Emily E. Steck

    Manage your expenses and money through Mint, a free and fast way to handle all your freelancer finances. It's fantastic for letting you create goals and stick to them.

  • Hootsuite

    By Emily E. Steck

    A social media management system will make scheduling, replying and composing social media posts all the more easier, especially with Hootsuite's variety of streams to keep connected with followers.

  • SaneBox

    By Emily E. Steck

    If you are overwhelmed by the amount of emails waiting for you every day, it's best to use SaneBox, which prioritizes email and summarizes the rest to make email work for you. 


    By Emily E. Steck

    Forget to follow up with Client A? Then use, where you can schedule and organize follow ups to get things done.

  • Gmail Labs

    By Emily E. Steck

    A really great feature that works with your Gmail account to archive all email you reply to. 

  • BufferApp

    By Emily E. Steck

    A simple social media platform perfect for a one-man or one-woman operated company. 

Image Credit: markus spiske via Flickr

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