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Friday, February 22, 2013

101 Resources to Rock Your Freelance Writing World

What's on the iPod: Peaceful, Easy Feeling by The Eagles


Welcome to Friday! Today I have what I believe to be eight hours in which write an article. Hopefully. You never know when a client will call with a new project.

Since it's Friday, I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that can rock a freelance writing business. Well, 101 things, to be exact. Here's my list. What's yours look like?

1.      Microsoft SkyDrive. You're not on the cloud yet? Oh, the synchronicity you're missing. Come on. It's free. Plus now there's a desktop app for easier uploads.
2.      Dropbox. Sometimes you need to send a big file to someone, and quickly. My love for Dropbox is unending. It's quick, painless, and easy to use.
3.      Project Timer. Sometimes the simplest applications are the best. I've been using this one for years. I love it. Period.
4.      MorgueFile. You need a photo. Now. Free. Here's where you get it.
5.      WebHost4Life. Great web host with a super lineup of tools and a smart interface.
6.      OWL. Writing question? Get the answer here.
7.      StumbleUpon. Not only is it a great place to get more traffic and interest for your work, it's a terrific idea generator.
8.      Gorkana. Business writers can stay connected to industry decision makers, plus check out the jobs every Friday.
9.      Kompozer. Were you sad when Microsoft dumped FrontPage? If so, Mozilla has a freebie for you that is a good substitute.
10.     MailChimp. Let's just say I'm ape over this direct mail site. Templates, easy interface, cool vibe.
11.     Grammar Girl. This site has solved many a grammar debate.
12.     Open Office. You don't know until you need it how useful it is to have an Office-compatible software app that you can use even on your cell phone. Great for those times when you aren't near your computer.
13.     ProfNet. In my opinion, nothing is better for receiving news or finding experts. Not even HARO.
14.     HARO. Sometimes, Help A Reporter Out is exactly what you need. Good resource for experts.
15.     Smashwords. I use it to publish my ebooks because it's simple and it distributes to all the big guns, including Amazon.
16.     Google Calendar. It's not perfect, but it syncs my Outlook. I can also use it to sync with my cell phone.
17.     Coursera. Thanks to a local writer friend, I started taking courses online last year. From top universities. For free. Check out their offerings.
18.     Zoominfo. Get listed. Get found.
19.     LinkedIn. The best professional networking site, bar none.
20.     Twitter. The best way to get conversational with your client base.
21.     Copyscape. Stop plagiarism in its tracks. Use this to test your content and keep it safe.
22.     Mozy.com. I've been a Mozy user for a number of years now. I love the automatic backup of files I specify. Just one more layer between me and a computer crash.
23.     Survey Monkey. A great way to draw in customers and learn what they want. Free surveys up to ten questions.
24.     PayPal invoices. Easy to use and a good way to organize your invoices. Plus you get paid faster when you offer automated payment options, and who doesn't love that?
25.     Google Drive. Probably the simplest way to share documents and edit simultaneously. Could use a refresh on how to track changes, but otherwise a decent program.
26.     Skype. I hear it's easy to use. I've not had much success getting myself set up, but don't let my experience drown the enthusiasm for this phone app.
27.     Microsoft Office 2013. They had me at how you can now open -- and edit -- PDFs in Word.
28.     Blogger. Yes, I still use it. Yes, I still like it. It could be more like Wordpress in what it offers (plugins and more functionality), but I think it's pretty darned good the way it is.
29.     Copyright.gov. Anyone who's ever had their content lifted (most everyone) needs to keep this resource handy.
30.     Contract templates. By all means do NOT take these verbatim, but use them as templates to build your own contracts.
31.      Designmoo. Design not your thing? Find some free resources here.
32.      Creative Copy Challenge. Give your writing the kick in the pants it needs with these prompts.
33.      WritersOneStop. Great place to find links to statistics, laws, and other top information sources.
34.      The Well-Fed Writer. If you don't already own this, get it. And follow Peter's blog. Great advice from a great guy.
35.     RightSignature. I've heard about this, but not used it myself. Electronically capture your clients' signatures on contracts, etc.
36.     Hourly Rate Calculator. Super tool by Jenn Mattern that helps you find your rate.
37.     Keyword Density Analyzer. Just follow Jenn Mattern in everything she does. She gives us this great little freebie to help us increase our traffic.
38.     Get Paid to Write Online. Thank you, Sharon Hurley Hall, for making our jobs that much easier. Great blog.
39.     Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Still the best.
40.     Reference.com. Quotes, synonyms, definitions, and more. Go on. Look it up.
41.     Wikipedia. A great starting point for your research. While I wouldn't trust information implicitly, it's a good basis for starting your search.
42.     Infoplease.com. A super place to look up that odd fact or find that one gem of information.
43.     Library of Congress. You'll use this site at least once.
44.     Thomas.gov. The Library's bill look-up tool. I use this quite frequently.
45.     Google Analytics. Oh yes you do need to know how your website is performing.
46.     5 Buck Forum. Full disclosure: Anne Wayman and I run this together. Great place to rub shoulders with successful freelancers and gain some insight and advice for your own business. And it's only five bucks a month. You pay more than that for coffee.
47.     FreelanceWriting.com Guidelines Database. It turns up in most every search I've conducted for writers' guidelines, and with good reason. There are a lot of guidelines and links here.
48.     American English to British English translator. Oh yes you will need this. One job for a client in the UK will make this little site invaluable.
49.    Acronym finder. Another source for finding just the right word.
50.    BabelFish Translator. Is there anyone who hasn't used this?
51.    Transparent.com Word of the Day. Learn a new language one word at a time.
52.    Federal Statistics. Statistics galore. Searchable by state, region, federal agency....
53.    Research and Documentation. Find it, then learn how to document it.
54.    Choose Your Own Salary. A good primer on how to get to your perfect rate.
55.    Writer Beware. Warnings and alerts to steer you clear of trouble.
56.    Publishers Weekly. Insider information on the publishing industry.
57.    Sunoasis. A decent source of writing jobs.
58.    Clients From Hell. Hilarious way to relieve some stress.
59.    JournalismJobs.com. Good source of quality gigs.
60.    Morning Coffee. Nice list of potential gigs.
61.    TweetDeck. Really, the only way to use Twitter.
62.    Proofreading Symbols. Please tell me you're familiar with them. If not, here's a handy cheat sheet.
63.    Bartleby.com. Look up nearly any book, poem, author, or quote here.
64.    Word Detective. The origins of nearly any word, right here.
65.    APA Style. A classic.
66.    Goodreads.com. User-generated book reviews and discussion.
67.    Grammar Handbook. Avoid mistakes: look it up.
68.    Wordpress.com. Build a better website on this blogging platform.
69.    Writers Help Desk. Good place to find info on self-publishing or writing.
70.    Evernote. Addictive little program designed to capture any idea, anywhere.
71.    Imagination Prompt Generator. Churns out ideas for you to make hay with.
72.    Pinterest. Cool place to find inspiration and to market your work.
73.    Vistaprint. Business cards. Stationery. Labels. Stuff to make you look professional.
74.    FedEx desktop App. Integrates with Word and Publisher so you can send your print job to them in one click. Brilliant.
75.    PDFOnline.com. Another good PDF creator.
76.    GoToMeeting.com. Love this for presentations and webinars.
77.    FreeConferenceCall.com. Totally free. I use it a lot.
78.    MyNewCompany.com. All-in-one primer for starting your business.
79.    Freelancers Union. Good source of industry information and support.
80.    SnagIt.com. Great for capturing screen images.
81.    Windows Speech Recognition. If you operate on Windows, you already have it. No need to buy expensive speech-to-text software.
82.    Smartphone. I'm a recent convert (one year and counting!). I don't know how I ever lived without this thing. It really does make your work a little easier.
83.    750 Words. Get writing right now.
84.    MIT Open Courseware. Improve your writing today.
85.    A USB docking port. For those of us short of USB ports, this offers plenty more room.
86.    FileZilla. Free FTP. What's not to love?
87.    Seesmic. Track every darned bit of your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook traffic in one place. Too cool.
88.    Mozilla Thunderbird. If Outlook isn't your thing, this will be.
89.    Google+. I've resisted, but it's becoming as popular as Facebook.
90.    Chicago Manual of Style. Yes, you need this.
91.    AP Stylebook. This, too.
92.    Portable office. Be it a laptop or this little beauty, your world isn't complete without portability.
93.    All-in-one printer. No excuses. The prices are just too ridiculously affordable. Get one with wireless access.
94.   Cloud storage. When Microsoft announce Office 365, I knew hard drives were destined for dinosaur status.
95.    Paperrater.com. Get free analysis of your writing.
96.    Spellcheckplus.com. Word just isn't always good enough.
97.    FocusWriter.com. Word processing, turbo charged.
98.    Storybook. Plotting software. Free.
99.    Wordnik.Cool little dictionary that returns multiple meanings and uses.
100.  Storify. Great place to find story information collected from the Internet and social media sites.
101.  Wired Journalists. Fantastic place to collaborate and rub shoulders with top journalists.

What's on your list?

33 comments:

Cathy Miller said...

Wow, Lori. This is a post for bookmarking. Thanks for all the hard work I know it took to pull this together.

I'm happy to see some favs - like my beloved Creative Copy Challenge. ;-)

I have several others, but I'll just give you a few.

Toggl - another time-tracking site

Score - for the business site-advice, business forms, templates

Overnight Prints - for business cards, postcards, direct mail - cheap!

Those are just 3 off the top of my head. Thanks again for a great list, Lori! Have a great weekend.

Lori said...

Keep 'em coming, Cathy! Love these. Thank you!

Sharon Hurley Hall said...

Great list, Lori, which I'm definitely bookmarking. Here are a few additions:

EveryTime Zone – for keeping track of timezones

Aspect Ratio Calculator (ARC) – for figuring out the right size for videos I need to resize

Remove Line Breaks Online Tool

Copyscape - Premium Search – anti plagiarism tool

Flickr Adv Search – for Creative Commons images

Steve Costello said...

Great list.

For MS Windows users I would add:

Libre Office instead of Open Office.

PortableApps.com, so you can use some great free tools from a USB drive.

After the Deadline - spell checking, style checking and grammar checking.

These are just off the top of my head. I am sure there are others, but I just can't think of them right now.

Jake P said...

Wow, this list is astounding, LW!

Another good free photo site: StockXCHNG, which is owned by Getty Images.

If you or a client have a great idea, but wonder if it's trademarked or has been applied for, head to TESS. And if you want to get something trademarked, call an attorney that specializes in IP. Do NOT try to DIY or hire a generalist lawyer.

If you're on a Mac and haven't hooked up a backup drive with Time Machine on it, do yourself a favor and do it today. Even if you have a cloud backup, you will be stunned at how convenient it is, and there's nothing wrong with redundancy!

Harleena Singh said...

I agree with Cathy here Lori!

This surely needs to be bookmarked, and is a great resourceful post for freelancers specially. :)

Another 2 free sites for pictures are http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ and http://www.sxc.hu/ - something that I use for my blog regularly - I love them. :)

Other than that you covered it all up, and I hardly use anything other than good old Word, my time and patience.

Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

Lori said...

Harleena, here's the permanent link:
http://www.wordsonpageblog.com/2013/02/101-resources-to-rock-your-freelance.html And thank you for your additions! Love StockXchang and I'll give the other one a try, too.

Thanks for weighing in, everyone! Sharon, I love these. I can't wait to try them out!

Jake! Where have you been, chum? Glad to see you here. Love Stock xchang. Thanks for reminding me! Better photos than MorgueFile in many cases. And I'm off shortly to check out TESS.

Steve, thanks for your additions! I too love Open Office. Microsoft has done a great job making it easier for us to connect to our work. I'll be sure to check out your other links, including After the Deadline. I've heard good things about it.

David Geer http://www.davidgeer.com said...

I use Rainlendar calendaring and reminder software, Paragon Backup and Recovery, Malwarebytes AntiMalware, PeaZip compression tool, Recuva recovery software, Revo Uninstaller, and a Hosts file to block known bad sites.

Steve Costello said...

Sorry forgot the links:

Libre Office
http://www.libreoffice.org

PortableApps.com
http://portableapps.com/

After the Deadline
http://www.afterthedeadline.com/

Lori said...

David, great to have your input. If it's technology you use, it must be good!

Thanks, Steve. Appreciate that!

Samantha Gluck said...

Although I'm a journalist and (unfortunately) not a creative fiction writer (maybe someday), I love http://www.writingforward.com. They regularly post all sorts of cool writing prompts, quick basic grammar lessons as reminders, and amazing stuff about journaling and cool products.

Lori said...

Great one, Samantha. I agree!

allena said...

Oh man, I really want to go through your list and the comments. I'm going to add Dragon Naturally Speaking for those times when you your wrists hurt :)

Lori said...

#81, Allena. Don't even have to pay for it. :)

Wade Finnegan said...

I absolutely love scrivener for my fiction writing. It makes me feel like a real author. :-) Great post Lori!

http://literatureandlatte.com/

Unknown said...

Great List.

Here's three more that I use frequently.

Freshbooks A more professional way to send invoices. Their free account let's you have three clients.

Backblaze I couldn't use Mozy. It was a pain. Backblaze is $5 a month, and it was easier to set up and use. I have used it for one full restore, so the service works.

Stripe Take credit card payments online and look like a real business. This is more professional PayPal and less work than Authorize.net. It also plugs into Freshbooks with no hassle.

Lori said...

"Unknown" is actually Matt McCabe. Matt, I'll see what I can do about putting your name on the actual post.

Lori said...

The limitations of Blogger continue. Sorry, Matt. I can't change it myself, but if you'd like to try again, I'm happy to delete the Unknown one once you're successful.

Carol Wiley said...

PhotoXpress had free and paid photo options. I use this site a lot for free photos.

Carol

Lori said...

Good seeing you, Carol! Thanks for the link. I'm bookmarking this one as we speak.

Kimberly Ben said...

This list is amazing, Lori. Thanks for sharing!

Meryl K. Evans said...

Fab list, Lori.

- Chrometa for time tracking.

- Acrobat Professional for filling PDF forms without writing or printing. Great for W-2s (you can electronically sign them).

- SugarSync to back up files and access elsewhere.

- Quickbooks. You know.

Lori said...

Kim, glad to see you. Haven't seen your blog update in a while. I was getting worried!

Meryl, thanks. Glad to see your additions!

Michael said...

Lori,
I haven't been around much to make any comments on any other posts but this is just an AWESOME list. I can't imagine the time it took to compile this. WOW! Good for you and THANK YOU.

I never would have found some of these sites on my own. Very, very, very useful even if you're NOT a writer.

I already have two favorites from the list as I poked through them:
750 words & Creative Copy Challenge.

Thanks again for your work. I'm sure these will come in handy at some point.

Cheers!
Michael

EP said...

That's quite a collection! Very practical stuff there, too. Thanks.

Lori said...

Sorry, everyone: the MorgueFile link was wrong. I've put up the right one. Let me know if any other links don't work.

Lori said...

Michael, don't you know it was work! Thanks. I hope it's of use to you. Glad to see you here. :)

EP, good seeing you, as well! Always a welcome presence. :)

Paula said...

Wow! Add me to the list of people who bookmarked this page.

I hadn't even heard of at least 70% of these sites. There's so much to learn that it truly is mind-boggling.

My first experience with Google Drive was last week, and went well. A publicist posted a bunch of photos from a photo shoot they'd done for one of my articles. Very simple.

Thanks for the list - and all of the suggestions in the comments section!

Lori said...

It's not a bad interface, is it Paula? It's not Word by any stretch, but it's great for sharing and collaborative projects.

Jennifer Roland said...

Most people took mine already -- I am a huge fan of Open Office, Google Docs/Drive, and FreshBooks.

I also like the Freelance Writers Den (http://freelancewritersden.com), Muck Rack (http://muckrack.com/) and Adobe's Creative Cloud (http://creative.adobe.com) -- a great way to get access to design tools when you need them for a job.

Lori said...

Didn't know about Adobe Creative Cloud, Jennifer. Thanks for adding it!

Turbonerd said...

Since you've already got Clients from Hell at #58, I'll offer something a little more constructive: Elements of Style, the original edition by William Strunk, Jr. Later editions were co-authored by Strunk's student and collaborator E.B. White.

Some people would argue that this is not the "authoritative" version since it has been deprecated by later editions. Those people are idiots. The English language has not changed THAT much in the last 100 years. Amirite?

Lori said...

I couldn't agree more, Turbonerd. LOVE Strunk & White. It's a must.

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