5 useful tools for writers

Writing kick-ass copy isn’t always easy, even for the most experienced word-wielders out there. You might have an off-day, need a second set of eyes on your work, or just need a bit of extra inspiration to move things along.

With that in mind, here are five of my favourite tools for writers looking to make life a little easier.

1. Grammarly

Terrorised by typos? Worried about wordiness? Get Grammarly in your life. This free plugin works wherever you’re writing, whether that’s on Google Docs, over email, or on Twitter. It’s the second set of eyes everyone needs on their work, especially if you’ve been staring at the page for a bit too long.

But this tool goes beyond a simple spell check; it’ll make clever vocabulary suggestions (e.g. very happy = ecstatic) and let you know what your tone of voice is sounding like overall. That being said, it’s not perfect, and will make suggestions that you’re welcome to disagree with based on personal preference and plain old correctness.

2. Google Docs

As a child of the floppy disk generation, I am all about Google Docs and the like. You’ll never need to worry about losing your precious work again with Google Docs, which stores your words safely in the cloud.

Create new documents, share them for feedback and collaboration, and work across any device anywhere in the world. All you need is your Gmail address and WiFi.

3. Scrivener

Attention aspiring novelists! Scrivener is a paid word processing app (with a free trial available so you can check it out before spending your coin) and a writer’s best friend. It’s got everything you need to organise your research, prepare outlines, build characters and craft manuscripts. You can even use Scrivener to design your manuscript for publication if you fancy.

This would make a great gift to the special writer in your life (even if that’s you). Students can get the educational licence at a discounted price (£39.95) while the standard version will set you back £47 at the moment. It might seem steep, especially compared to the freebies on this list, but it

4. Marinara Timer (or any other Pomodoro timer)

Friends, Writers, Procrastinators, lend me your ears. Let me tell you about the Pomodoro Technique.

This time management method suggests that you work in 25-minute segments, with a five-minute break before starting each session of uninterrupted focus. Do this as many times as you need (or can) to smash through word counts and to-do lists alike.

You could just use the timer on your phone for this, but there are loads of apps to make this a bit more fun. From the Marinara Timer plugin to Forest, which grows trees for every successful pomodoro session you copmlete.

5. Hemingway Editor

The aim of the humble Hemingway Editor is to make your writing as ‘bold and clear’ as possible. It’s got a word counter built in, and gives your copy an overall readability score to make sure you’re not complicating things unnecessarily. If you’ve got a habit of over-complicating your copy, this is your new best friend.

More free resources for writers

  • National Centre for Writing: Loads of great resources and courses for writers at any stage in their journey.
  • Literary Hub: All the latest literary news, views, and cultural tidbits you need to feel clever at your next dinner party.
  • Mslexia: A magazine for women who write. Competitions, events, resources, and more!
  • Written? Kitten!: Write a hundred words, be rewarded with a picture of a kitten. Another hundred, another kitten.
  • Writer’s Digest: Writing techniques, book recommendations, and competitions to keep you busy.
  • The Penguin Podcast: Conversations with top authors and creatives on how they write and where they get their ideas.
  • Video: How to get published (Merky Books): Just a really fabulous webinar on the topic of getting published in such a busy space.

What’s your favourite writerly tool? Share your suggestion in a comment.

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