No matter what you write, whether it’s for a college class on creative writing or for a novel you’ve finally found time to get around to, having some tools to make the process a little easier is always a welcome prospect. This list brings together a wealth of just those kind of resources, all found online and all free to use, so you can concentrate on being creative and producing the best writing you can.
Lay out tasks, research and important info using these tools.
- Google Calendar: Hook up your Gmail to this calendar to keep your tasks in one easily accessible place.
- Remember the Milk: With this tool you can keep your tasks online or get an application you can keep on your desktop or phone to have your tasks anywhere.
- Essential PIM: Manage all of your important personal information using this great organizational tool.
- Evernote: If you need a way to jot down your thoughts or things you need to get done, this application can be the solution.
- Tellico: Here you’ll find an online collection manager, perfect for keeping track of your research or the writing you’ve done thus far.
- PingMe: If you really stink at remembering what you have to do, this site will send you email or text reminders.
- Toodledo: This helpful to-do list system will ensure you never forget what you need to do again.
- ClientScribe: Using this application you can track contacts, personal notes, emails and much more.
- Project Stat.us: Let friends and publishers see where you’re at with a particular writing project using this application. Knowing you’re accountable to others watching could help you keep on task.
- GTDTiddlyWiki: This simple tool can help you organize your information and your tasks and can be brought with you anywhere on a flash drive.
- Vizual Einstein: Those writing books or papers with a large amount of research involved would be well-served by this program designed to help you organize it all.
- NetVibes: Instead of logging into all of your online accounts separately, why not use this home page to log in to all of them at once?
Get your ideas out of your head and into visual form with these helpful mind-mapping tools.
- Mindomo: Jot down your story ideas on this application and you’ll be able to see visually where you need to help them to go.
- Bubbl.us: This free mind-mapping software will let you get your thoughts out and share them with others for feedback.
- Mapul: If you’re looking for a more organic mindmap, then this application is your perfect match, with tree-like graphics to help you track your ideas.
- Wisemapping: With this free tool you’ll be able to help yourself plot out stories and develop your thoughts more completely.
- Wridea: This tool will help you to manage all of your great story ideas so you can expand on them or reference them later.
- FreeMind: Create a database of all your greatest writing ideas using this free software.
- ThinkGraph: Try out this application to quickly and easily draw out your mind map the way you want it.
- View Your Mind: This application is a great way to make your thoughts clearer, easy to annotate and simple to reference later on.
- Drill Down: With this simple guideline you can easily follow and complete the different aspects of any writing project.
- XMind: Use this mind-mapping tool to easily store, share and modify your ideas.
Suffering from a lack of inspiration? A lapse in creativity? Use these tools to get back on track.
- The Imagination Prompt Generator: Get helpful prompts to get your creative juices flowing from this site.
- The Story Starter: Can’t find a place to start your story? Try this site for inspiration.
- WritingFix: The Daily Prompt Generator: Whether you’re writing a story or just in your own personal journal this site can help you get started right.
- Creative Writing Prompts: If you’re having a creatively drained day try out one or many of these writing prompts.
- Portrait of Words: Writing Challenge Photo Prompts: This site asks you to look at photos as a way to prompt your creativity, something you could carry over on your own as well.
- Writing.com: Here you can find all kinds of help for getting creative and getting your writing out there.
- EyeWire Creativity Cards: If you’re facing a writing block, print out these cards and use them as inspiration to help you beat it.
- Creative Aerobics: Go through these exercises to help get your brain in shape to write better and faster.
If you need a better or just different word processor, try out these free options.
- yWriter5: This software is designed with writers in mind, so it is loaded with features to make your novel writing easier.
- StoryBook: Check out this tool to get help organizing your writing project.
- Lyx: Here you’ll find a great application that will force you to focus on structure and keep your writing professional and high quality.
- Google Docs: If you need a program that will let you take your writing anywhere, this is one of the best online word processors.
- Jott: If you’re out and about and you come up with a great idea, this application will let you simply speak it into the phone and send it to yourself for later.
- Zoho Writer: Use this free online word processor to write your work and share it with others.
- iNetWord: Sign up for a free account with this site for an online word processor with loads of great features.
- picoWrite: This lightweight word processor is the ideal place to jot down all of your best work.
- AjaxWrite: Designed to look like Word, this program is easy-to-use and can go anywhere.
- gOffice: On this site you’ll find web-based applications to write and share your work with anyone.
Once you’ve finished your work, consider these tools during the publishing process.
- Sonar: Track where and when you’ve submitted your work to publishers with this application.
- SAMM: This tool works similarly, letting you keep tabs on what you’ve sent out and heard back.
- Self-Pub.net: On this site you will find a wide range of resources that can help you learn how to publish your work on your own.
- Fast Pencil: While not everything on this site is free, you will find a range of helpful layout and writing tools to help you out.
- Cafe Press: Here you’ll find a range of options for publishing your book online and having it printed. While printing isn’t free, it’s a pretty good bargain.
- WeBook: Write, share and publish your work on this community site.
- XLibris: Actually printing a book isn’t free, but there is a whole lot of other resources on this site that are.
- HTML Book Maker: Use this tool to create an ebook you can print or share with others.
- Blurb: Check out this site for some great free bookmaking software. What you choose to do with it after that is up to you.
Those who simply want to work as freelancers or want to earn some extra cash will find these applications especially helpful.
- Emurse: Use this great online site to create, store and share your resume so you can get jobs.
- Slim Timer: Track your tasks to make sure you’re getting paid for the time you’re putting in with this app.
- Zoho Invoice: Send your clients bills with this incredibly easy-to-use software.
- FreshBooks: With this site you’ll be able to track what you’re owed, send invoices and manage your work finances.
- Plaxo: Keep the addresses of all your past clients in this tool so you can contact them again if you’re looking for work.
- Tabber: This site makes it easy to track businesses, clients and friends through social networking.
- SimplyBill: Try out this online software for billing and account management anyone can figure out.
- Basecamp: Keep track of your projects and let clients know where you’re at with this great tool.
- Elance: This site is an excellent place to go if you’re looking for freelance work.
- Side Job Track: If writing freelance is merely your side job, this tool can help you manage it with ease.
- InstaCalc: Do the math for just about anything you’d need on the job using this application.
Keep in touch with publishers, friends, sources and collaborators with these tools.
- WordPress: Start your own blog with this free site and let everyone know what you’re working on.
- Blogger: If you don’t like WordPress, Blogger also offers a range of free blogging services.
- eFax: Don’t have a fax machine? No problem. This site lets you send an email right to a fax.
- Highrise: Keep your contacts and information organized and easily accessible with this great online site.
- Meebo: Combine all of your instant messaging services into one with this tool.
- K7: This application lets you get faxes and voicemails no matter where you are.
- GotoMeeting: Get a free trial of this application to talk with clients through web conferencing.
- FaxZERO: Here you’ll find a tool that lets you send a fax to anyone, anywhere for free.
- eBuddy: If you use more than one instant messaging system, pare it down to one with this application.
- LogMeIn: Using this site you’ll be able to access your home computer, and your writing, from anywhere.
Sometimes working together can be better and these applications make that a cinch.
- Stixy: If you need feedback early in the writing process this brainstorming collaboration tool is ideal.
- WriteWith: This site makes it simple to work on writing projects with a collaborator or editor.
- Campfire: Work with just about anyone on this site that offers document sharing, chat and more.
- Loose Stitch: Create and share online documents, get feedback and work together using this writing focused site.
- TeamSpinner: With this this site you can create a project and add as many team members as you want to work on it.
- Thinkature: Try out this app for some real-time collaboration on your writing projects.
- Writeboard: This site lets you create a sharable and editable online whiteboard.
- Portrayl: On this site you can share and showcase all of your writing work, even letting others contribute and help.
- Novlet: If you want to get truly collaborative, use this site to write together about whatever you’d like.
Marketing and Networking
Promote yourself and your writing with these resources.
- Twitter: Twitter can be a great place to share your thoughts as well as promote your new work.
- Facebook: Create a professional page on Facebook and let friends and others become fans of your work.
- LinkedIn: Make it easy for potential clients to find you by creating a professional profile on this networking site.
- Professional on the Web: Use this site to create and share your personal portfolio of work.
- Edit Red: Publish your writing to this site and get reader feedback, fans and more.
- NetRead: This site is full of great resources and information on marketing your work.
- Mail Chimp: Send out emails to promote your work using this online tool.
- Business Paper: Try out this application to get a cheap and easy way to make your own business cards and professional materials.
- PBWiki: Create your own personal wiki about you and your work using this site.
- Mailman: Manage a mailing list about your writing using this free software.
These tools will help you get paid, have fun, run a business and more.
- Word Count Plus: Use this Firefox extension to easily keep track of your word count.
- Pandora: If you need a little inspiration or just some help keeping from being distracted, this free music streaming site can help.
- Work.com: No clue how to run a business or protect your intellectual property? This site can help.
- KTouch: Learn to type faster and more accurately on this site.
- Joomla: If you know little to nothing about building a website, you can get the help you need through this resource.
- PayPal: Make sure you get paid for your work by using this online payment system.
- Dictionary.com: This site will help you to make sure you’re spelling and using words correctly.
- Urban Dictionary: Don’t look tragically unhip by not knowing what the latest slang means. Instead, look it up in this dictionary.
- StoryMash: This site offers a fun chance to play with other writers and build your own stories about whatever you want.
- Character Questionnaire: Try out this tool to create fun and original characters which you can use or discard at your will.
- AutoCrit Editing Wizard: If you want a helpful first edit, why not let this program do the work?