Writing on the Internet is becoming more and more popular these days. Working from home is a dream for many employees as they can eventually say goodbye to their jobs and enjoy work within their own four walls.
Having said that, it isn’t that easy, since a freelance writer needs some tools to make his life easier and more enjoyable. It is possible to work this business on the bare minimum, but to be honest, it only makes working from home harder which really defeats the purpose.
So what can a writer do to make his life more manageable and how easy is it to adapt these tools?
Let’s look at what I use that helps me make my day much easier:
1. Broadband Internet: It’s funny really, because as I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my former workplace catching up furiously on my lost day. This morning I mysteriously lost my Internet connection and about 7 hours, 4 tech support calls and one new modem later I still don’t know what the heck is going on.
My computer and modem simply refuse to connect to the Internet. I think it goes without saying that without Internet I’m stuffed. It’s always good to have a backup plan as going to an Internet cafe at 6 PM isn’t a viable solution in my neck of the woods.
2. Open Office/ Google Docs: I love both of these applications and the reason I’m bundling them together is because they do similar things. While Open Office is more versatile, I’m really only interested in Word (called Open Office Writer). Google Docs does the same thing. Both are a word application that allow me to write and format articles and documents.
Both also allow me to easily create PDF’s if need be.
3. Windows Live Writer: I know that there are many different applications available to create your blog posts externally. The beauty of those is that they make writing a blog post easy. Formatting images and videos is a piece of cake and it helps save major time.
Especially if you blog as much as I do.
4. FreshBooks/ PayPal: Online invoicing makes book keeping fairly easy. FreshBooks is much more than a simple invoicing tool. You can also track your time or even handle an organisation from within your FreshBooks admin. There is a free level and also paid ones.
PayPal is also a great tool to send out client invoices. You can even set up a recurring payment notification which is great for regular clients.
5. Local Mail Application: Whether you use Microsoft Office Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail or another local mail application doesn’t really matter. Before I got my new computer I had to login to webmail constantly because I accidentally deleted my Outlook.
It was a pain in the behind to be honest and now I’m saving so much time in not having to go to webmail all the time.
7. Moleskine: Ok, even though I write online, I couldn’t be without my beloved Moleskine notebooks. I have two. One is for notes and inspiration, while the other is my hacked diary to keep track of deadlines.
The reason I love them so much is because they are small and fit into my handbag when I’m out and about.
7. A Blog/Portfolio Site: I’m a strong advocate to have a blog if you are a writer. Good writing comes with plenty of practice and the more you write, the better you’ll become. A blog is an idea tool to do just that.
A portfolio site could be combined with a blog, but personally I prefer to keep them separate as it allows me to be creative with my blog while keeping a professional appearance on my portfolio site.
8. Connections: Now these don’t come from nothing. You will have to make a conscious effort to get to know other writers and bloggers online. The more you network via various social networks, the more people will get to know you.
It helps to build a presence on the Internet and will eventually get you recognized.
9. Google: Ok, you might curl up laughing your head off right now but if it wasn’t for the mighty G, my life would be a lot more complicated. I do all my research on Google and it has become my best friend to find any information I want.
I know that every freelance writer will have his or her own favourite tools to help them through the day. These are mine and I hope you will find something new to help you.