Whether you’re just starting out in your freelancing writing journey or you’re a veteran author working on your masterpiece, there is a plethora of online services and applications that should be in every writer’s toolbox. From document sharing to copyright checks, to finding interviewees to SEO assistance, there are more tools at a writer’s disposal for online success than ever before.
The Associated Press Stylebook – Starting with the old stalwart, the hard copy version of the Associated Press Stylebook is a well-known standard tool for writers. The online version makes for a faster search and more environmentally-friendly than the original; it is a must-have if you spend a lot of time writing news articles, or if the company you work for does not have a set style. The AP Stylebook is a great resource to aid with consistency and grammar checks. A fee is required to access the full site; once a member, you are able to access the site through computer, tablet and smartphone.
Google Drive – Another fairly straightforward writers’ tool is Google Drive. Like Dropbox, Google Drive is a cloud storage system with a host of web-based productivity tools and is ideal for collaborative projects. Particularly useful for telecommuters, documents are easily uploaded for review. Documents that are uploaded show when they were last edited and by whom. Access to your work is permitted only by invitation or “sharing.”
Copyscape – This program is the ultimate tool for checking for any copyright issues. If content has been plagiarized from someone else’s work, this program will highlight it. Even if you are sure you haven’t accidentally lifted a sentence or two, it’s always wise to utilize this program as clients tend to use it themselves to test any work they’ve been given. Always opt for the premium Copyscape check as it’s far more accurate. Although it demands a small fee, the value for money aspect makes this more than worthwhile.
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Grammarly – For the times you don’t want to review your work for the third time, and your editor is not available, Grammarly will perform a quick grammar, punctuation and spelling check. While far from being a replacement from the human eye, the program does provide tips and advice to improve your writing.
Dragon Naturally Speaking – Love Siri? If your carpal tunnel is acting up, but you have a deadline to meet, Dragon Naturally Speaking is exactly what you need. With this speech recognition program, you can dictate your story directly to your computer.
Sourcebottle – Ideal for journalists, writers and bloggers who need to interview sources for their articles, Sourcebottle can help you find an expert for your piece. A free service that is particularly helpful when your cadre of resources has dried up, or if you are researching a very specific topic. All you have to do is enter your information as well as what you’re looking for to Sourcebottle. They contact relevant parties from their email database; interested parties will email you with contact information.
These are just a few of the more popular tools available, with many more available to address any number of needs. Online content writers can find SEO analytics tools to maximize their performance; bloggers can find programs that will link them to like-minded companies to improve traffic and affiliate marketing; and novel authors can find communities and outlets to promote their work. Taking advantage of these online tools can lead to greater returns on work written (and greater demand as well).
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and online marketing professional in the Los Angeles area. In addition to covering topics like health & wellness, travel, and music, she specializes in social media and search marketing, which has been instrumental for her freelance career. Read more of her articles on online marketing expertise at the Gryffin Media blog.