A few days ago, I sent an email to my readers and asked them to share their struggles. I got hundreds of replies from people all over the world.
Everyone had a unique perspective on how they wanted to do things, but many of the problems were similar. So I decided to put together a list of my favorite free resources for new and aspiring writers.
WordPress.org (not .com) is the only software I would ever recommend to anyone who wants to build a website or blog. It’s free to download and use. And it’s open source, which means there’s a huge community behind it supporting it everyday. You can’t go wrong with WordPress.
Want great looking images for your blog?
Here’s a couple of my favorite image editing/creation tools.
Canva is probably one of the most popular image editing tools. The ability to create a stunning image with simple tools is definitely Canva’s super-power.
Pixlr is very similar to Adobe Photoshop, without the hefty price tag. I don’t have much experience with photoshop, but from what I hear Pixlr has all the same features and functionality.
The thing I like about both tools is they are both web-based. Meaning you don’t have to download anything to use them. Pretty suhweet!
Write a killer title, every time
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is an awesome tool if you need help with your headlines. All you have to do is type in the headline you’re wanting to use and Headline Analyzer grades it on a number of different factors. I use the tool quite often.
Need to land freelance writing gigs?
Manta.com is a simple business directory. Go there, enter the type of business you’re looking for (location, industry, etc) and Manta shows you listings that match your criteria. You can find phone numbers, email address, website info and anything else you need to contact them. Small businesses are a great source of income for freelancers. I’ve used Manta since I started as a freelance writer. It’s my #1 client-huntin’ resource.
Reddit’s r/forhire is used by freelancers in every market. Design, writing, HR, software—you name it. Reddit probably isn’t the first place you think of when you’re looking for clients, but you can strike gold more often than you think.
Problogger Job Board is different from other freelancer/blogger job boards. Most job boards are free to post on. Not Problogger’s. Any company using this job board has to pay fifty smackers. This tends to keep out crappy clients and tire kickers.
Learn to write good fiction
Helping Writers Become Authors is a great website run by K.M. Weiland, who is dedicated to helping new and aspiring authors. The entire site is great, but my favorite part is the Story Structure Database. If you’re interested in writing and publishing your own stories, this is a resource that is well worth your time. I refer to it often.
The Boron Letters is a series of 25 letters written by copywriting legend Gary Halbert. Ask any copywriter and they will tell you that The Boron Letters is a must read for new or aspiring copywriters. The lesson taught in this resource cannot be found in anywhere else.
Read, research and learn anywhere
Pocket is an app/browser extension I love and use every day. Say you’re checking out a post on your favorite blog but you have to go. Sure, you could bookmark the page and come back to it later. But that’s not going to happen. It always gets forgotten until 3 months later when you’re cleaning up your bookmarks. With Pocket you click a button and the post gets saved to your account so you can read it on your phone or wherever you want.
Push to Kindle is sort of similar to Pocket, except instead of sending to your phone, this tool sends things to your Kindle. I find it especially useful for PDFs or ebooks I download from my favorite writers. The cool thing is, Push to Kindle converts the content into the right format so it’s easily readable on the Kindle.
My favorite writing tools
Google Docs is probably still my favorite overall tool for busting out my daily word count. It’s simple, free and it does a heckuva lot. Including, voice typing, collaboration, sharing and publishing.
WriteBox is another tool I like to use for writing. Most times I use this on my Chromebook, when I’m away from home with no WIFI. But it’s a solid and simple text editor that handles writers’ needs well.
Organize Your Notes, Appointments and Anything Else…
Google Keep is a notetaking app you can use to keep track of, well, everything. You can set appointment reminders, record audio notes, clip webpages, images and so much more. Another cool feature is the sharing functionality. Just like with a Google Doc, you can share a Keep note and collaborate in real time. I prefer Keep over Evernote because of its simplicity.
Evernote is a feature-rich notetaking app. And the most popular app in its category because of its many features. Things like tagging, folders and web-clipping make it a great tool for organizing ideas, research, recipes and receipts. Lots of people really love Evernote. Despite using Keep as my main notes app, I still use Evernote for some things.
Need some background noise?
Binaural Beats might seem a little strange if you’ve never heard of them before. But I think they are incredible. I use them all the time. While I’m writing, reading and even when I’m sleeping. There’s lots of different tones. So look around and find what best suits you. (youtube is a great place to find lots of different tones)
Noisli is great if binaural beats aren’t your thang. With Noisli you can listen to sounds like rain, thunder, wind, train tracks and even a fan. It’s perfect for creating whitenoise while you bangout your daily wordcount.
Building your creative bid-ness
Mailchimp is an email service provider (esp) used by most writers I know. Unlike other email services, you can use Mailchimp without spending a penny. Of course, they offer premium services, too. But you don’t have to pay until you 500 subscribers.