The freelance writing landscape has always been a fluid one, with client demands and requirements and competition changing quickly. With the rise of AI language models, our world is changing even faster. In 2023, writing assistants, AI chatbots, and AI tools are the talk of the town.
Grammar proficiency is a vital skill for freelance writers, as it ensures clear communication and enhances the quality of their work. Whether you’re an experienced writer or just starting your freelance writing journey, having a solid command of grammar rules and conventions is essential. Fortunately, there is an array of tools and resources available to help freelance writers master grammar and produce polished, error-free content.
In this article, we explore the essential tools, resources, and techniques that can help freelance writers enhance their grammar proficiency and create high-quality content.
Freelance writers are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools to improve their productivity and output. So far, we have focused on ChatGPT, simply because it has been front and center of the AI writing assistant revolution. But there are many other AI writing tools for freelancers. These tools can help with a variety of tasks, from grammar and spelling checking to generating new ideas and content.
Editor’s note: This post was written by S.E. Batt, a freelance writer and author from the UK. He loves cats just as much as he does writing, even though the two conflict with one another on a regular basis. You can follow him at @Simon_Batt on Twitter.
Freelance writers are known for being picky about their tools of the trade. From pens and paper to phone apps, we have a reputation for always having something on standby to scribble down ideas, inspiration, or even entire pieces on. One of the strongest workhorses in a freelance writer’s armory is the faithful word processor, which often finds itself taking on the mainstay of the work.
When offered the prospect of choosing a word processor, a lot of writers would trip up on the fact that you can ‘choose’ a word processor. Every writer out there just uses Microsoft Word, right? While a very solid and reliable choice, Microsoft Word is not the only word processor out there.
We’re not talking about Notepad and Wordpad, either; there is fully-fledged software out there that does just a good a job (and in some examples, an even better job!) than Microsoft Word, with the advantage of either being cheap or totally free. As for what you choose, however, that’s down to your own personal preferences and workload demands. [Read more…]
You’re a writer, and you probably have your arsenal of tools which you can’t live without. One thing is for sure: we all have our preferences when it comes to go-to writing tools.
Our favorite authors are not exempt from this, and I found an infographic showcasing the writing tools of famous authors. It’s an interesting graphic simply because it shows just quirky writers can be and how it doesn’t matter how “weird” a habit may be. If you write well, who cares if you’ve got some habits that are not considered normal?
The infographic features the following authors:
- George R.R. Martin
- Neil Gaiman
- J.K. Rowling
- Agatha Christie
- Danielle Steel
- Stephen King
- Quentin Tarantino
- Mark Twain
Can you guess what their favorite writing tools are? Try before looking at the infographic below.
So which author would you say is your favorite? Which of the writing tools do you use?
Via Ninja Essays
I like to think of myself more of an optimist than a pessimist. I could be wrong, but I think that’s a trait that could influence the success of a freelance writer. After all, you need a certain degree of positivism to take that leap – leave your regular day job pay and strike out on your own.
There are times, however, when all this freelancing business gets to me. I know I should not complain. This is, after all, what I had been aspiring for while I was still a corporate drone. This was – and is – my dream.
Freelance writers are only human.
I don’t think anyone will dispute that. Contrary to “popular opinion”, writers who work at home, visit clients if necessary, and still have to take care of the thousand and one chores at home are also vulnerable to down times. When things become too much for me to handle, I allow myself to feel bad for a while. Just for a while, though. I force myself to move on afterwards.
In an effort to get this load off my mind, and maybe to help others in the process, I am going to list down those freelancer issues that sometimes get me down and meddle with my productivity. Bear with me, please!
- Funky Internet connection. I am sure you agree that a stable Internet connection is one of the most important tools for a freelance writer. I am actually not asking for super fast speeds – just a stable connection, both for home use and mobile use. A solution: have two providers just in case – if you can afford it.
- Computer failure. Oh, the horror stories we’ve heard! I don’t need to go on and on about this. We’ve all had our computers act up at the most inopportune of times.
- Expectations at home. People will always expect something from you, no matter what kind of job you have. I don’t know if you experience the same thing, but it seems to me that sometimes, family and friends think that you can drop whatever you are doing the moment they need something of you. You’re a freelancer after all. You don’t have the same responsibilities as office workers do. It makes me want to tear my hair out at times!
- Unexpected circumstances beyond your control that make a dent on your earnings. Sickness. Personal emergencies. Even technical problems fall under this. When it happens, and you have to worry about your earnings for the month, it can really be a tough time. Getting back on your feet and moving on is the logical thing to do, but it is easier said than done.
- Unfair and destructive criticism. Some people are thick-skinned, and most of the time, I allow criticism (of the bad kind) to flow over me like rain falling on a newly waxed car. Of course, when delivered at a bad time, this kind of feedback may very well be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Whew! That felt good!
I’ve always seen writing as a way to vent my feelings without being destructive, and it is no different this time. Are you feeling frustrated with what you’re doing right now? Let’s commiserate with each other, and find solutions to make things better.
Marcia Dentley has been working from home for several years. You won’t see her without her trusty laptop, but she also always has a pencil and notepad with her. Her other constant tech companions: www.clear-internet.com, Quora, and Twitter.
Thank you again to those of you who participated in the previous giveaway, and for those who wanted the iPad app, here’s another chance. This time, we are giving away codes for a useful writing tool for the iPad and the iPhone: My Writing Spot.
My Writing Spot is a simple yet effective tool for writers who are always on the go. It provides you with uncluttered writing space on your phone or tablet. Whether you are writing a novel, a blog post, or a personal journal entry, My Writing Spot may very well become your constant writing companion.
Here are some of the features of the app:
- Word and Character Count
- Dictionary/Thesaurus lookup
- Supports TextExpander touch snippet expansion
- Change writing font/font size
- Write fullscreen with the iPad in any orientation
- Supports an enhanced on-screen keyboard or an external bluetooth keyboard
- Supports iOS 4.2 multi-tasking and printing via AirPrint
- Sync easily with the free My Writing Spot web app so you can have the latest version of your docs with you all the time
Thanks to Peter de Tagyos, the brains behind the app, we are giving away TWO CODES EACH for the iPad and the iPhone/iPod Touch. Just like with our previous giveaway, you simply have to tweet and leave a comment below linking to your tweet. For those who do not have a Twitter account, the alternative would be to post the “message” on Facebook. Here’s how it goes.
Step 1: Copy & paste the following, and then tweet it (or post it on Facebook):
I want to write simply anywhere with My Writing Spot. Win the app from @FreelanceWJ! Enter here: http://spla.us/ylZbvw #contests
Step 2: Leave us a comment on this page to let us know you tweeted or posted in Facebook, and paste the link to your tweet/Facebook post in your comment. (Note that our comments are moderated, so your comment may not show up immediately after you click the “Post Comment” button.)
FOUR winners will be selected at random from the commenters on or around 10:00 pm EST on Friday, March 16. Winners will be notified via Twitter/Facebook, after which we’ll send the code through a private message.
Important: You can enter the contest once per day between now and the 16th.
What is your most important writing tool?
Many years ago, the most common answers would probably have been “notebook” or “notepad” and “pen” or “pencil”. I wouldn’t be surprised if majority of modern answers include laptop, desktop computer, and iPad (or any other tablet for that matter). This is especially true for those of us who use the Internet as the main means of carrying out our work, isn’t it?
If you own an iPad, and you would like to have a handy app that will help you write down your thoughts in a more organized way, we have something for you this week: Chapters – Notebooks for Writing.
This is an app which basically gives you an electronic version of the good old notebook. As with many things electronic, you get a lot of advantages. With Chapters, you can create many notebooks, each designated for a specific task. You can create a personal journal, a travel diary, a notebook for a specific client, and so on. More than that, each specific notebook is also searchable! If you want to look for a particular entry, you can easily do so without having to flip through the pages of a traditional notebook.
I don’t need to emphasize how convenient a tool this can be for writers, do I?
There is an added feature, which is perfect for those concerned with privacy. If other people use your iPad, you can always lock notebooks so that no one but you can view their content. This is great for personal journals and other sensitive material. Other features include:
- Write comfortably in any orientation
- Protect private notebooks with a passcode
- Simple bullet list support
- Turn on word count if you need to know how much you’ve written
- Adjust your text per notebook (shade, font, size)
- Pick a background color to color code your notebooks
- Pick from a few paper colors
- Fast search with contextual snippets
- Rename each notebook by tapping its title
- Add photos from your photo library, float them on the page
- Resize and rotate photos, slide them around
- Export any notebook entry via email with a single tap
- Create a PDF version of a single entry (or all of them)
- Optionally show timestamps on each entry
- You can export the text of an entire notebook easily for safekeeping
- Use the calendar to look for entries, tap to read
- Create backups that will let you restore in case you lose your data
- Mark entries with timestamps
Do you want one already? You can purchase the Chapters from the iTunes Store for $3.99, or you can join our contest! We are giving away THREE codes for the app, courtesy of Steven (the developer). To learn more about Chapters and other work by Steven, you can visit Slide to Rock.
So how do you get a free code? Here are the steps.
Step 1: Copy & paste the following, and then tweet it:
I want to win a code for Chapters – Notebooks for Writing from @FreelanceWJ and @slidetorock! Enter here: http://spla.us/zUwHXt #contests
Step 2: Leave us a comment on this page to let us know you tweeted, and paste the link to your tweet in your comment. (Note that our comments are moderated, so your comment may not show up immediately after you click the “Post Comment” button.)
THREE winners will be selected at random from the commenters on or around 10:00 pm EST on Thursday, February 16. Winners will be notified via Twitter, after which we’ll send the code through DM. Don’t forget to thank @slidetorock if you win!
Important: You can enter the contest once per day between now and the 16th.
The number of tools freelance writers can use to manage every aspect of our work keep growing. Some can be incredibly useful for creating a more productive writing process, while some may actually slow you down. The problem is that these tools are not universal. That means that you’ve got to invest time into finding those tools that actually work for you.
Even as simple as what you use to actually write can have an impact on your writing. Most writers can identify differences between the types of writing we do with pen and paper and what we do on a computer monitor. It’s not necessarily better or worse — it’s just different. Personally, I have a much harder time writing fiction when staring at a computer screen than researching and writing non-fiction.
Identifying the Tools that Work for You
When it comes to writing tools, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs — the only way to see what works can be a matter of trying out a demo account or a free version of anything you’re considering working with. The really tough part is that it can take long-term use to find certain types of weaknesses. For most of us,it’s generally not worth trying out a new system unless there’s something seriously wrong with an existing system just because of the time involved.
But if you are ready to make a switch, put yourself in a position to actually evaluate the tools you’re trying out, rather than just going for it. If you can put together some numbers on how long certain types of projects take you with your current system, you can determine the usefulness of a new tool right away. If you spend a lot of time just trying to get your research in order, for instance, finding a tool that lets you organize and search your research quickly is going to make a lot of sense to use regularly.
Most of us don’t need the newest tools or the shiniest gadgets, no matter how appealing they are. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy new tools, of course — I have an iPad and I certainly enjoy it. But it is useful to approach the tools you use for writing at least somewhat conservatively. Changing every week isn’t likely to be necessary and, in fact, many changes can actually slow you down as you adjust to a new tool, even if it’s more efficient in the long run.