Writing & Editing Tools We Use At Quietly

by Quietly Team

Writing & Editing Tools We Use At Quietly

What makes a team successful? Hard work, ingenuity, talent? Yes, yes and yes. That—and a thousand other factors—but also what tools they use to stay productive so they can be creative. In the past, we’ve offered resource guides and tools for finding beautiful, license-free images and the best tools for freelancers for you to use. Now, we’re offering up our secret tools for success—the ones that keep us sane, the ones we can’t live without and the ones that make our jobs that much easier.

Welcome to our “Stuff We Use” series. In this post, we’re tackling the writing and editing tools our publishing team uses. From apps to dictionaries to graphic design and content creation software, we thought we’d share our favourite writing and editing tools.

Google Apps

The holy grail of free tools, be it if you are a student or professional. If you have a Google account, you’ve used these handy tools at some point or another. For the Quietly Qrew, these tools are perfect for sharing and editing documents between team members. Blog posts, contact sheets, analytics, social calendar, etc. With a minimum of 15 GB of free cloud space, it’s easy to store, organize and create docs, sheets and slides for any use.

Available: For free.

Canva

Canva Screenshot Options

We’ve sung the praises of Canva’s blog before, and now we must sing the praises of its product. For anyone who feels like crying after a Photoshop session, Canva is a gift from down under (in Australia, of course). A suite of design tools to create compelling graphics for blog content, email marketing headers and social media posts, ads and more, it’s easy to use. Though some of its capabilities are limited—you can’t resize a canvas after you’ve started working with one, for instance—it’s still has great tools with a fantastic, varied templates designed to save you time.

Available: For free. You can purchase photos to use for $1 and make any edits in 24 hours after your purchase.

Evernote

Evernote is a wonderful, simple tool to organize your notes and thoughts into corresponding notebooks. Use tags to find notes easier, annotate your notes and set reminders for yourself. Because Evernote is available on almost any device—desktop for Macs and Windows, mobile for Android and iOs, Kindle Fires, etc.—it’s a great app for spur-of-the-moment thoughts that you can tuck away and open on another device for later. Bonus points for their great suite of tools. All of our blog ideas—spontaneous or otherwise—are stored in Evernote.

Available: Basic version is free. For Evernote Premium, Individuals cost $5 a month and Businesses cost $10 a month, per user.

Skitch

Meta Skitch Example

Belonging to the Evernote family, Skitch is a simple-to-use annotation software for images and screenshots (like the very meta one above). Instrumental in creating how-tos or highlighting new key product features, you can draw shapes, arrows and words over text to emphasize harder to see areas. If you’re looking to use it to create blog post banners/social media images with Skitch, you might stretch being stretching its capabilities—it isn’t sophisticated, but simple. But it’s still our number one tool to create clean, annotated images quickly without opening Photoshop.

Available: Basic version is free for desktops. For Evernote Premium, Individuals cost $5 a month and Businesses cost $10 a month, per user.

WordPress

The most powerful CMS on the web, WordPress is seriously the best at publishing content for any brand, publisher or writer’s need. Thanks to WordPress, we can add posts to this awesome blog with content like this. It’s easy to use, collaborate and experiment our posts, pages and media so that your site looks and feels unique.

Available: For free. Hosting and additional features cost money.

Grammarly

Grammarly Screenshot

You won’t be able to go back to a regular “spell checker” again once you use Grammarly. Catching more than 250 mistakes (including contextual and vocabulary errors), Grammarly is the Google extension that keeps on giving. Though it doesn’t work in Google Docs (yet), it works everywhere else in your browser—emails, social media posts, WordPress, Grammarly’s editor, etc. Premium is worth the buy for academics, professional publishers and proofreaders, but basic is useful for just about anyone else. Fair warning, though: Grammarly is pro-Oxford comma.

Available: Basic extension is free. Premium version for individuals cost $29.95 per month, $59.95 per quarter or $135.95 per year.

Internet Typewriter

Writing for the internet can be distracting. On the days I can’t shut anything off for FOMO, I turn to this handy web app. It automatically tracks writing goals and word counts, plus I can pretend I’m an old-school writer by turning on the site’s optional typewriter sounds. It even works seamlessly with Google Apps, DropBox and Evernote if you “splurge” for the Premium version (see prices below).

Available: Basic version is free. For its premium version, prices are $5 monthly, $48 yearly or $99 for a lifetime.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary

When our brain decides it doesn’t like words, we use this handy little dictionary by typing in definitions until something clicks. It’s also useful for a word association exercise, and you can make lists of words that relate to one another.

Available: For free.

Hemingway App

Hemingway Screenshot

This editing software follows the footstep of the famous writer Ernest Hemingway, known for his clean and precise prose. The Hemingway App takes that idea and translates it into an algorithm that evaluates how clear and concise your writing is. If we can’t get a second pair of eyes on our work, then we always look to Hemingway.

Available: Free on the web app. Desktop versions for Mac and Windows cost $6.99.

editMinion

A personal favourite just for the little minion, this free web software scans for common errors such as passive voice, cliches, weak words and adverbs to make your writing stronger. Bonus points for highlighting words of Latin, Greek and Germanic origin. It’s especially useful to make sure your writing is clear of cliches.

Available: For free.

WriteorDie

Write or Die Screenshot

For people who thrive under pressure, this one is for you (and sometimes us). From the people who brought you editMinion, WriteorDie is a super extreme writing software that forces you to put your thoughts down on a rough draft. You can set a timed word goal and various checkpoints that reinforce you to write. The kindest mode gives you a popup warning if you pause; the strictest mode will delete your writing letter by letter if you pause. The stakes for writing under a deadline will never be any higher! It’s perfect for the days when writer’s block hits.

Available: Basic version of the web app is free. Premium features cost a flat rate of $20.

Asana

For our editorial calendar, we use Asana, which easily allows us to create and assign team members tasks without emailing back and forth. Using the calendar feature, it’s simple to structure the editorial calendar with draft dates, deadlines and social promotions and check off tasks as we see fit.

Available: Free for teams of up to 15 members with unlimited projects and tasks. Premium plans start at $21 per month per 5 team members.

Quietly


Common Writing & Editing Mistakes to Avoid

By Emily E. Steck

Writers and editors: beware.

  • Phrases vs. Sentences

    By Emily E. Steck

    A sentence has a subject and a verb; if it does not, it is a phrase. Writing my list is a phrase. "I am writing my list" is a sentence. Phrases can be used in writing, but they should be used sparingly.

  • Making Family Names Plural

    By Emily E. Steck

    Never use an apostrophe to make a name plural. When referring to a group of people in the Steck family, refer to them as the _Stecks_. If referring to what they own, then use _Stecks'_ instead. Some names need an "es" to become plural, like names that end in "s," “x,” "z," “ch,” and “sh.” For example, the _Joneses_, the _Foxes_, the_ Alvarezes_, the _Churches_ and the _Ashes_. For these last names that require an "es" use an apostrophe for possessives. "That is the _Joneses_' car."

  • Its vs. It's

    By Emily E. Steck

    For the love of all that is mighty, _it's_ is a contraction of "it is." For example, "_it's_ cold outside." Whereas _its_ is possessive. "The book has lost _its_ jacket."

  • "i before e except after c" Exceptions

    By Emily E. Steck

    This handy rhyme is often very wrong. For example, the word _ceiling_ breaks this rule, as does any word with an 'e' sound. With a different sound, the 'i' goes first like the word _science._ Know that the rhyme may help you with words like _receipt_ but the rule is flexible.

  • Emigrates vs. Immigrates

    By Emily E. Steck

    One _emigrates from_ a place while one _immigrates to_ a place. Also, note that emigrates has one 'm'.

  • X Ray vs. X-Ray

    By Emily E. Steck

    _X ray_ is a noun. "He broke his arm so he needed to get an_ X ray_." Whereas an _X-ray_ is a verb or adjective. "My ankle was _X-rayed_." There are variations on when to capitalize the X; consult a style guide.

  • Wise Guy vs. Wiseguy

    By Emily E. Steck

    A smart aleck is a _wise guy_. A mobster is a _wiseguy._

  • Somewhat vs. Something

    By Emily E. Steck

    Something is a noun. Something is an adverb that means "a little" or "kind of." For example, "A thing is  _somewhat_ rare, or it’s _something_ of a rarity."

  • Palate vs. Palette vs. Pallet

    By Emily E. Steck

    You have a _palate_, which relates to taste. A color _palette_ is an assortment of colors. A _pallet_ is, among other things, something you sleep on.

  • Premier vs. Premiere

    By Emily E. Steck

    A _premier_ is a diplomat. A _premiere_ is a first performance or exhibition. British, Canadian and American spellings can confuse them; check with your style guide.

  • Loath vs. Loathe

    By Emily E. Steck

    _Loathe_ is a verb meaning to "dislike greatly." For example, "My boss is so mean. I _loathe_ him." _Loath_ is an adjective meaning "unwilling or reluctant." For example, "I am _loath_ to to spend time with my mother-in-law." _Loth_ is a variant of _loath_ and serves no purpose of its own; it is most common in U.K. English, though even U.K. writers prefer _loath_ by a significant margin. To sum up: "I _loathe_ when people use this word incorrectly, but I am too _loath_ to admit when I am wrong."

  • Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure

    By Emily E. Steck

    You _insure_ cars. You _ensure_ personal success by working hard. And you _assure_ people.

  • A Letter's Difference

    By Emily E. Steck

    Paraphernalia, with an 'r.' Vinaigrette, by switching the 'a' and 'i.' Villain is not "illian" but (v)ain. Newsstand has two 's' as does transsexual.

  • Grisly vs. Grizzly vs. Gristly

    By Emily E. Steck

    Bears are _grizzly_. Crimes are _grisly_. Cheap meat is _gristly_.

  • Don't "Mispell" Misspell

    By Emily E. Steck

    Contrary to popular belief, it is spelled "misspell" with two "s" letters.

  • Ad Nauseam

    By Emily E. Steck

    _Ad nauseam_ is spelled with two 'a's not two 'u's. _Ad nauseam_ > ad nauseum.

  • Every day vs. Everyday

    By Emily E. Steck

    One goes to work _every day._ Working is an _everyday_ occurrence.

  • Capital vs. Capitol

    By Emily E. Steck

    A _capital_ is a city (or a letter, or part of a column). A _capitol_ is a building.

  • Blonde vs. Blond

    By Emily E. Steck

    When describing the color of someone's hair as _blond_, he is a blond man and she is a blond woman. Use the word _blonde_ to call a woman that. For example, "she's blonde."

  • Besides vs. Beside

    By Emily E. Steck

    _Besides_ is other than; _beside_ is next to. "_Besides,_ I get to see you." vs. "He placed the book _beside_ him."

  • Graduate From

    By Emily E. Steck

    You do not graduate school. You graduate _from_ school.

  • Peak/Peek/Pique

    By Emily E. Steck

    Use _peak_ to describe the top of a mountain. Use _peek_ to describe looking quickly. Use _pique_ to describe something that stimulates curiosity or causes irritation. "She _piqued_ my interest" or "He was _piqued_ by her curtness" or "They climbed to the mountain's _peak._"

  • Hyphenate Adjectives

    By Emily E. Steck

    Use compound adjectives when necessary to make things clearer. For instance, use "a _heavy-metal_ detector" rather than "a heavy metal detector." Otherwise, the latter implies the metal detector is quite heavy.

Ahem. Of course we use our own tools! All day, everyday. With four awesome display options, you can craft compelling copy, find license-free images with our Flickr and Bing search tools, add locations, upload gifs and link to video, search for websites and customize how it all looks. We’ve even created an awesome WordPress plugin so that adding Quietly to your site has never been easier. Plus, we’re constantly improving and tinkering with our tools so that brands, publishers and writers can get to work.

Available: For free. The way it should be.

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Image Credit: Viktor Hanacek via Picjumbo, Unsplash

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