Whether your experience as a writer is primarily in copywriting/ghostwriting or you have successfully authored an abundance of books, you know that the career of writer has its own unique set of challenges. Often, these relate primarily to working in a solitary environment, with only ourselves to push us to continue perfecting our craft. This is difficult to be sure. After all, as Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Thankfully, though we won’t reach perfection, there are tools, or more specifically a writing plugin, that can make life easier for us writers. I have taken the liberty of gathering seven of the best for easy access and listed them below. Happy writing!
This web plugin is an extension of Chrome and is a great way to ensure your grammar stays on point. Grammarly is free to download, and the plugin version allows you to check everything you post or write, using the grammarly tool. It is a spell checker, correcting common mistakes like affect/effect, lay/lie, lose/loose. It also flags and can offer suggestions to fix complex grammatical errors like modifier placement, article use and subject-verb agreement. While the free version is helpful, you can step it up to the paid premium version to supercharge your writing ability, ensuring no error goes uncorrected. I have the free version of grammarly downloaded as an extension and it has saved me many times from making an embarrassing error. Of course, I also run my copy through PaperRater and Copyscape regularly as well, just to double check everything before sending it to a client.
This tool helps you as you write for your job or on your own for your personal blog. It gives you an easy-to-access tool that allows you to log thoughts within a text editor. When you download Notepad to Chrome, the notepad is situated to the right of the browser for easy access throughout your day. I know many times, this would be a tool I would very much use just to quickly jot myself a note about a client’s preferences or to remind myself to include a specific topic or product into the piece of content I am currently composing. Though I don’t have it downloaded at the moment, I can see how it could be helpful.
Okay, if like are like me, distraction is a big issue for you as a writer. Sure, there are times I can manage to push through and hone in on the task at hand with little to no problem. Other times, Facebook, Instagram and the like seem to draw me in like a moth to the flame. That is exactly why StayFocused was invented. This plugin helps you stay on task during your work hours by blocking specific websites that you choose for a certain period of time. Once that time is passed, you can once again access these sites to your heart’s content. I haven’t tried this particular plugin, but want to as it sounds amazingly helpful.
This little gem is a life saver for the writer who does a lot of research. Is there any other kind? Anyway, the Feedly tool is basically a content aggregator. Use it to bring together many news sources, which you can keep up with a daily basis. You can even save a whole website feed to your Feedly account simply by clicking the Feedly button while you are surfing the site. I haven’t tried this one myself but am thinking it might be ideal for some of my news related pieces, where clients want the latest, hot takes.
This plugin gives you the ability to highlight a page, annotate and share a quality resource. I can see this being an advantageous tool when writing a book, or a longer, more intensive research page or white paper for a client. I think Scrible would be a great asset to use when collaborating with another person to create a unified vision for a piece of content.
Plus for Trello
Put extremely simply, Plus for Trello is a digitized version of a time sheet but a lot more fun. It allows you to create cards, which you move from one board to another, indicating you have completed a project. The boards might be named “in progress” or “completed” for example. This works hand-in-hand will the Trello app, allowing you to restrict your time per project. It even generates graphs and reports showing your level of productivity. I can personally see this as being either extremely motivating or frustrating; I am not sure which would win out. I can see it being helpful as it relates to determining your hourly on average wage. Therefore, I think overall it would be a productive tool. It surely would be better than my sometimes hit or miss method of simply writing down the time span in which I am working. I frequently forget to log it.
As you know, doing research for a piece of content can cause your computer to be inundated with ads, popups, etc. To cut down on this and keep your browser as ad free as possible, you might want to try the aptly named plugin called AdBlock. Install this to cut through the clutter and keep you focused on the task at hand, that being creating phenomenal content for your clients. This is one I haven’t yet, but certainly want to try.
Warnings and Caveats
If you have been doing this writing gig for any amount of time, you know plugins can cause your computer to slow down some. Some can even make you more vulnerable to hackers. Therefore, keep that in mind when picking and choosing between the supremely beneficial tools listed above.
Brandie P’s career as a freelance writer spans several years and encompasses an abundance of niche specialties. Before beginning her writing career, she was an office manager and worked in the medical field. Her experience in these two fields have come in handy when writing topics pertaining to these fields.