The Best Writing Tools For Becoming a Freelance Writer

By Liz Froment •  Updated: 10/18/21 •  14 min read

Writing isn’t always easy.

A lot of budding freelance writers learn that first hand.

But, there’s no denying that writing is one of the most important skills anyone can have.

And no, that doesn’t only apply to freelance writers.

Everyone can benefit from becoming a better writer.

Improving your writing skills can help you land more clients, sell your stuff, and communicate more effectively with others.

So, it’s something everyone has to work on.

One way to do it?

Practice.

Thankfully there are some writing tools out there that can help.

If you want to start a daily writing habit, work on that novel you’ve been dreaming about, or craft better headlines to grab more readers, we’ve got you covered.

In this post, we’re sharing the best writing tools out there. These are our favorites. They can help you become a better writer and take your freelance writing career to new heights.

Ready to dig in?

Let’s do this.

The Best Writing Tools for Freelance Writers

You may think you don’t need to step up your game when it comes to writing, but here’s a little secret: you do.

So much of building your brand is based on your ability to communicate effectively, so the sooner you start working on your writing skills, the better.

These tools can help you start habit forming a consistent writing habit and improve your writing along the way.

1). Hemingway

Get-the-Hemingway-Editor-for-Mac-and-PC

I’ve heard tons of writers swear by the Hemingway App. It’s a simple tool for cutting the bad from your writing and tightening up your message. You can also get a desktop version for distraction-free (i.e. no WiFi) writing.

Best Writing Tool For: Remote workers who do a lot of writing work and tend to be on the wordy side.

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Hemmingway editor offers an incredibly helpful free version and a very reasonable premium version for $19.99 lifetime access.

Grab the tool.

2). Scrivener

Scrivener-Literature-Latte

I was first introduced to Scrivener by Lise Cartwright who uses it to write Kindle books. Since she has about a billion of them, I listened. Scrivener is a monster writing tool that allows you to keep everything from research to outlines all in one place. PC Magazine rates it as the number one writing app on the market.

Best Writing Tool For: People who do long-form writing, such as books, and want their entire writing process to take place within a single tool.

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With Scrivner, you purchase a one-time license. The standard rate is $49.00 and a discounted $41.65 is available for educational licenses. Minor updates are free but major version upgrades do have additional fees.

Download it here.

3). 750 Words

750-Words-Write-every-day-

If you struggle to write much at all but want to form a daily writing habit that’s manageable, check out 750 Words. What I like about it is the gamification aspect, it gives you points for writing, plus tracks everything.

Best Writing Tool For: Remote workers who struggle to get their daily words in and enjoy a gamified experience. 

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750 Words is free for the first 30 days then it costs $5/month.

Learn more here.

4). Blank Slate

Blank-Slate (1)

Sometimes, you just want to jot down ideas quickly. Nothing fancy, no bells and whistles. In that case, Blank Slate is the tool for you. With a clean and super simple interface, you can find a spot to get your notes, ideas, and outlines down.

Best Writing Tool For: People who want a simple way to get thoughts and ideas out quickly. 

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Blank Slate is free.

Learn more here.

5). Otter.ai

Otter-Voice-Meeting-Notes-Otter-ai

The last thing you want to worry about when you’re conducting an interview is to find out the recording crapped out halfway through. That’s where Otter.ai helps. It’s an easy way to record interviews and notes and it has a built-in AI that will transcribe your conversation too.

Best Writing Tool For: Freelance writers who need to get expert quotes or interviews for articles and blog posts. 

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The basic plan offers 600 minutes of recording a month for free. The Pro plan is $13 a month and allows up to 6,000 minutes of recording in 4 hour blocks. The Business plan is $30 per user per month and has all the features of the Pro plan plus additional business features.

Learn more here.

6). Write or Die

Write-or-Die-2

Basically, you set a word limit, a time limit, and if you want a consequence, reward, or stimulus, and then you’re off to the races. If you don’t hit your word count at the time limit, the Write or Die will let you know (loudly).

Best Writing Tool For: People who want a way to stop overthinking and write quickly. 

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Version 2 is $20 and Version 3, which appears to be in the process of updating is $30.

Learn more here.

7). Reedsy

reedsy

For authors who are looking to self-publish but want a tool that’s a bit more user friendly than Scrivner, Reedsy is a great choice. It helps with the formatting and conversion of documents. You can export your manuscript directly to ePub and Kindle ready formats with just a few clicks of a button.

Best Writing Tool For: People who want to write a book. 

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Reedsy for book writing is free.

Learn more here.

8). Google Docs

google docs best writing tools

This one is obvious. A lot of people don’t think about using Google Docs for writing practice, but it makes sense. Google Docs is a free writing tool. It’s also easy to use and can be accessed from pretty much everywhere.

Best Writing Tool For: People who want something free, easy to use, and cloud-based.

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GDocs is free.

Learn more here.

9). Grammarly

grammarly tools for writers

I love Grammarly. You can check out my review why I think it’s the best writing tool for freelancers right here. Even if you use the free chrome extension and you’ll be able to dramatically improve your writing right away. Basically, Grammarly looks at everything you write, from blog posts to emails to social media, and lets you know any basic grammar and spelling mistakes.

Best Writing Tool For: People who want to stop making spelling and grammar mistakes. 

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Basic Grammarly is Free. You can upgrade to a Premium plan for $12 a month. It offers more features like plagiarism detection, tone and clarity adjustments, and formality level.

Learn more here.

10). CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

coschedule headline

If your headlines are boring then no one is going to want to read your blog posts. That’s an ancient copywriting prophesy, but true. Fix your headline problems with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

Best Writing Tool For: People who want to get more clicks for the content they create

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The headline analyzer is free.

Learn more here.

Best Books for Writers

There’s an axiom you’ll see as you get more and more into writing.

Basically, it goes like this:

If you want to be a better writer, read more.

Well, you never have to tell me twice when it comes to reading. Jokes aside, this is true. You will absolutely become a better writer by not just reading amazing writers, but also books on writing.

Don’t think that just because these are books, they don’t count as writing tools too.

There are plenty of amazing books out there that can help you get better at writing, here are a few of my favorites.

books on writing

On Writing by Stephen King

Everyone knows Stephen King. When he’s not busy scaring the bejesus out of you with some of his classics (I couldn’t sleep for days after deciding to read Misery during homeroom in junior high), you’ve got to be amazed by his writing output and ability.

His book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft blends his unconventional life story and invaluable writing tips and advice.

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Since I create a lot of B2B marketing content in my freelance business, I’ve always paid attention to what goes on over at Marketing Profs. When I saw that head Prof Ann Handley had a book about writing, I grabbed it right away.

I’d consider her book, Everybody Writes, essential reading for anyone who is looking to learn how to write amazing content for the online world.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I never expected to fall in love with this book, but it didn’t take long before I couldn’t put it down.

In Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Anne Lamott manages to weave her own biography with these incredible little gems about how to tell stories and write better. This is one of the few books I’ve seen that every single person I know who has read it, recommends it.

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

This one might be an odd choice, but I just recently got Save the Cat, and am loving every page of it.

In it, Blake Synder uses his years of movie scriptwriting experience to tell you exactly how to craft a story that people will love. While it’s written as an instructional book for budding screenwriters, anyone who wants to be a better storyteller should pick this one up.

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Getting into a Writing Mindset

10 productivity tips

Hopefully, these writing tools are going to help you get into the practice of creating content a lot more often.

That’s one part.

The other is keeping the mindset going. Because there are going to be days where you’d rather throw your laptop out the window instead of write.

Here are a few tips to help you make writing a part of your schedule.

Start Small

You don’t need to start with 1,000 words. In fact, don’t do that. Start with the smallest number of words that will get you writing and then up the ante every month. Maybe it’s 100 words or 250 words. It doesn’t matter what number you start with, just write.

Remove the Pressure

While consistency is key, being a freelancer is stressful enough so don’t add piles more to your life. If you miss a day, you miss it, just make it up, or start fresh the next. It’s fine.

Set a Schedule

On the days I wake up and bang out my words, they flow much more easily. On the days where I have it weighing on me all day, I can sit staring at a blank page. Understand when during the course of your day your brain is best wired to write.

Some of Your Words Will Suck

No matter how amazing of a writer you are, every word you write isn’t going to be usable. Don’t go in expecting you’ll be able to write something and it will all be awesome. You won’t. It’s ok.

Alright, got those tips down? Let’s look at some of the tools.

And If You Really want to Go All In?

And if you’re ready to take all of these tools and really go all-in on your writing practice, then you might consider doing a daily blog for a set period of time.

When I got out of the habit of writing on a regular basis, I said I’m going to write every day for a month. I told everyone I knew I was going to do it, for accountability, and was been incredible for both my creativity and building the habit.

Start Writing 

Ok, enough procrastinating.

I’ve given you a bunch of different writing tools that are going to help kick your butt into gear and get you to start writing. There is no better time than right now.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to just build a daily writing practice or you want to make a serious run at being a B2B writer, getting into the mode of writing a lot is always a good thing.

What are you doing to build your writing habit? Comment below and let me know what writing tools you’ve found that have made it stick, I’d love to hear more about them.

Note: this post has been updated as of October 2021 for accuracy.

Liz Froment

Liz Froment is a full-time freelance writer and the one who keeps Location Rebel running like a well-oiled machine. If she's not writing something informative or witty for her clients, she can most likely be found reading a good book.
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