4 Essential Writing Tools that Will Help You Reach Your Writing Goals

4 Essential writing tools image

There are 4 essential writing tools that will help you reach your writing goals, whether you’re writing a book, an article, an essay, or publishing a blog post. These 4 tools are guaranteed to increase your effectiveness and your efficiency as a writer.

FYI, this post has been written by Dave Chesson (and edited by Lorraine Reguly, owner of Wording Well).

I’m not an advocate of using a tool for everything. I feel it’s possible to get almost everything you need taken care of as a writer using only the basic tools that come with your computer.

However, I’m a firm believer that a few carefully chosen tools can make a big difference.  In some cases, as I’ll discuss, they can even help lower costs in the long run.

So, to help you potentially get the most out of these tools, I’m going to share with you my personal picks for writing that are truly worth your time. They’ve made a big difference to my writing life and I hope they help yours as well.

Essential Writing Tool #1: Specialist Writing Software

The first category of tool I’ll recommend is specialized writing software.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Word or Google Docs… but, while these may be fine for casual writers, there are far more suitable options out there for serious writers.  With the right tools, you can become more organized, track better, and get into the writer zone with greater ease.

Scrivener

Scrivener is my personal writing software, and it’s also favored by big-name bestselling authors such as Michael Hyatt.

Scrivener is absolutely packed full of features, so expect a slight learning curve if you’re using it for the first time.  But once you know how to fully use it, it is incredible what you can do, and how you can organize your writing.

Some of the main reasons I personally favor Scrivener and why I recommend it so strongly include:

1: It is packed with everything you need to write a book, including fully integrated research, and the ability to visually storyboard your work.

2: It is complete with formatting capabilities and options to export into any e-book format.

3: It is customizable with access to a large list of Scrivener templates, allowing you to make Scrivener fit your writing style, genre, or purpose.

4: There is an app version for iOS. This is great for editing on the go.

5: Its excellent value – you can try Scrivener for a full 30 days for free, and then you can save even more money by using a Scrivener discount code to help lower the costs further.

6: Scrivener is always offering new versions and updates.

Scrivener takes some getting used to at first, but I wouldn’t want to write a book using anything else these days.

FYI, if you need a hand getting your book published, let Lorraine help you. She offers author assistant services via Wording Well!

yWriter

yWriter is a great example of software created by someone who truly needed it.

Frustrated by the options available to him while he was working on his own novels, the creator of yWriter decided to take matters into his own hands and create the software he needed to write his books.

yWriter is only available for PC, but if that’s you, it’s well worth checking out because:

1: The software is totally free to use despite having a lot of premium features.

2: It was created with fiction writers in mind, so yWwriter has the option to store data related to characters, scenes, and objects.

3: It is updated regularly with new features. yWriter is constantly being worked on, with new versions in beta mode at all times.

Overall, Ywriter isn’t as powerful and slick as Scrivener, but considering it’s free, it’s superb, making it a great option for Windows writers. Read More

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Alicia Rades

FITS Series Welcome Image

Because today is the first Monday of the month, here is another entry in the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well. 🙂

The “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Alicia Rades.

This is a picture of Alicia Rades.

Take it away, Alicia!

How did I get into freelance writing?

I started freelancing when I was 17. I’d never had a job before, and I couldn’t exactly get one around all the extracurricular activities I was in, not to mention that I lived in a house with three other teenagers and we only had one vehicle available to share between all of us.

So when my sister told me about this opportunity where I could work online and create my own schedule, I jumped on it. I was working for a content mill writing crappy 300-word blog posts for $3 per piece. In today’s market, I don’t think anyone would have hired me at the level of writing I was doing. It was bad. At the time, though, I thought, “At least it’s money.”

I used that money to save up for college, and when college came around, I was working for several other content mills, and the rates were starting to get a little better. I loved the flexibility of it, so I stuck with it.

And then this amazing thing happened. I didn’t realize how great of a shift it would be at the time, but it’s made my entire career evolve. Google changed their algorithms. That meant that content mills had to step it up a notch, and so did I. One of the places I was working for started training us in writing higher quality content. Their training guides intrigued me so much that I started searching for information on my own. I ran across all these amazing blogs like Be a Freelance Blogger and Make a Living Writing, and I realized that I wasn’t really doing the freelancing thing right.
I took the first few months there to practice my blog writing skills and learn all I could about how to write quality content. Can you believe that I almost didn’t want to do it and was just going to stick with writing product descriptions, yet I went on to write a bookabout how to write quality blog posts?

After I started to get the hang of it and even took to creating my own blogs (most of which don’t exist anymore because I’m focused on writing for clients’ blogs), I realized how much I really loved writing blog posts.

This started happening right around the time my husband graduated from college. I wanted to follow him wherever he went, so I said screw it to my major and my previous career choice and said, “I’m going to be a freelance writer forever!”

That really made me get my butt in gear. At that point, I finally launched my freelance writing website, I paid for some training resources, and I started attracting private clients.

But I didn’t give up on my dream about graduating college. Today, I’m taking online courses to get my B.A. in communications with an emphasis in professional writing and a minor in social media marketing, but that has opened me up to even more flexibility, which allows me to work quite a bit with my freelance writing.

Alicia Rades’s Top 3 Freelancing Tips

1: Join a community of writers.

For a while there, I thought that if I was going to land high paying clients, I had to hang out where my clients were. I was so confused and disoriented that trying that tactic did absolutely nothing for me. I’m not saying it won’t be good for other people. It’s just not my cup of tea. Instead, I focus my energy on creating relationships with other writers. I know a lot of people will say, “It’s the clients you want to create relationships with!” but I think other writers have done a lot more for me than any client has (no offense to any previous clients).

What exactly does it do for you?

1. It gives you a chance to learn from other people’s experiences. You’ll learn and grow so much better with other writers on your side.
2. It can lead to referrals. My highest paying clients have come from referrals from other writers.
It gives you a chance to help others learn and grow. I don’t know, but this seems to be one of my favorite parts of the job. And I do it for free. I recently spent several weeks helping another writer get her foot in the door with one of my clients–whom I thought she was a better fit for–and it makes me so happy to see how excited she is about the opportunity.
3. It leads to opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. Along with referrals, my network of writers has led to interviews like this one, guest posts that help boost my portfolio, and even a moderator position on my favorite forum.

2: Read freelance writing blogs

Okay, so since you’re here, you probably already have this one down, but something that I think is really important is staying up-to-date on news related to freelance writing. I still see people working desperately to incorporate keywords and do all the SEO crap that frankly doesn’t matter much anymore. If you read blogs related to freelance writing–and this can include content marketing, blogging, marketing, Internet, or plain old writing blogs–then you would know that quality content and engagement is what drives websites nowadays.

Do yourself and your clients a favor by keeping “in the know” when it comes to these types of things.

3: Do what works for you

One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is whether or not I should run my own blog or not. I did have a blog a while back that focused on the writing craft, and it was starting to gain traction. But between my clients, I just didn’t feel like I had the time to write kick-ass posts for my readers, so I felt like I was letting them down.

I’ve thought about starting a writing blog again, but maybe with some other admins and contributors, but I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort when I could be writing for my clients, which is something I really enjoy, especially because there’s more variety in topic choice.

So when everyone is saying that I need a big blog that I update at least three times per week, I’m kind of like, “No thank you. That just doesn’t work for me.” Instead, I devote my time to contributing to other blogs, and not once has I heard that it’s affected someone’s decision to hire me.

The point is, you don’t have to listen to all the expert advice if that’s not what works for you.

Don’t like my ideas above? Then at the very least follow this tip: Throw out any advice that doesn’t build you up as a writer and/or a business person.

(Note: I do maintain a blog on my writer website that I update twice per month as well as a place on my author website where I share book reviews and book spotlights.)

UPDATE:

Alicia created a new site (now managed and owned by Elna Cain): Freelancer FAQs. Check it out!

Please thank Alicia for sharing her story and tips with us!

Check out the other freelancers in this series:

Some Life Updates and Info about Freelancing from #freelancewriter Lorraine Reguly

An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Candace Simonson

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter DD, an Addicted-to-Heroin #Freelancer

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Corinne Kerston

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Ali Luke

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Joe Warnimont

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Brian Morris

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Janine Ripper

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Harleena Singh

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Crystal Nay

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Tom Bentley

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Deevra Norling

Freelancing Tips From Kirsty Stuart #freelancingtips for #freelancers

7 Reasons for the FITS Series on Wording Well (with results!)

If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.

If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.

This is a picture of Alicia Rades.

 

Alicia Rades (@aliciarades) is a freelance blogger, writer, and editor with a passion for giving tips to help others succeed. You can learn more about her and her freelance writing at aliciaradeswriter.com. When inspiration strikes, she’s also an author. Please support her and her upcoming debut fiction novel at aliciaradesauthor.com.

 

Being an Author Is Depressing (+ I desperately need your help)

 

i want to kill myself

Who said being an author is glamorous?

Who said becoming an author would make me happy?

I’d like to know who said this, because that person flat-out LIED.

An author’s life is not filled with glamour. Rather, it’s kind of depressing, even though there are moments of excitement.

Why I think being an author is depressing

I will admit that I might be suffering from fatigue. I mean, I’ve had a  busy two months. June and July were filled with readying my book for publication and creating all of my new author pages and profiles. While the latter are actually simple tasks, they are very time-consuming when you are doing everything yourself, like I am!!! UGH!!

But what’s even worse is that my little book is only one of many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many,many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many books being sold on Amazon. Um, yeah, you’re probably thinking that I put one to “manys” in there, but, trust me, I really DIDN’T.

Here’s why.

 

(Yes, I’m ending the post here. My plea for help actually comes from my other blog. Please take a look at what I need, and why I’m so depressed… Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight at all.)

Go find out what’s going on, and see if you can help.

 

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Novella by Jen J. Danna Astonishes this Reader!

No One Sees Me 'Til I Fall
Do you remember HOW MUCH I loved author Jen J. Danna’s debut novel, Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It? Good news – last month she released the second book in this series! Today’s Featured Friday post is short and sweet because all I’m posting is my review of it and letting you know that you can read the first chapter on her website, and find all links to buy this book (if you’re interested) there, too.  Here’s my review: Read More

Buckets And Other Lists: A Guest Post from Award-Winning Memoirist, Elaine Pereira

Please welcome memoir writer Elaine Pereira! She has written today’s post. Currently, I am reading her book, I Will Never Forget. Soon, I will have an interview with Elaine for you – along with my review. For now, get to know Elaine and learn about her struggles — and her achievements!

Buckets And Other Lists: Writing A Book Was NEVER On My Horizon

I’m one of those annoyingly organized people: a multi-tasking extraordinaire who makes lists for practically everything.  When my mental To-Do list tops three items, I grab paper and a pen and scribble away.

Yeah, I know, all of you techno wizards are rolling your eyes:  paper and pen!  How archaic!  I’m trying to convert to using the Note section of my iPhone exclusively, but it’s a work in progress.  In the meantime, there are far more stashes of pencils, pens, markers and an occasional lipstick tube when I’m desperate and just remembered something important than there are iPhones. Read More