Tools for Writers
Some of these are affiliate links, which means that if you buy a product through them, I’ll get a cut. (Thanks!) Most of these links are just regular old links. That said, there’s nothing on this page that I don’t use myself, and heartily recommend.
Tools and Software
Before I started using Freshbooks, I had a Word Doc template that I used to create PDF invoices for clients. Sometimes I would save them in the specific client folder. Sometimes I would save them in my “Billing” folder. Sometimes I would forget where I saved them and search through my inbox, trying desperately to figure out if I’d sent it at all, and if I’d been paid.
I entered all my expenses and income into a spreadsheet – when I remembered to do it – and manually tallied up the numbers because, well, I am not a spreadsheet wizard.
And then I finally decided to spring for Freshbooks, and my life is amazingly better. Seriously, Freshbooks has saved me countless hours and endless stress, and at tax time all I have to do is compile a report and print the thing out.
If you’re just billing one or two clients, or if you’re fabulous with spreadsheets and organizationing (yes it’s a word now) you probably don’t need Freshbooks. But if your billing system is like mine was, I guarantee you will Leap. With. Joy. when you hand out a measly $215 a year to take that mess off your hands.
You can always try it out for free.
I’m sure no one needs to hear yet another writer gush on and on about Scrivener, but let me just say that I do adore this program.
It’s billed as a tool for fiction writers, but it’s simply just amazing for any writer who references a bunch of research as he goes. Every blogging client, every content marketing client, and every trade magazine client gets a Scrivener file where I write each and every assignment for that client, and where I collect all my notes and research.
I use Scrivener for every novel. Every short story. Every personal blog post. It’s the only word processor I use, and it’s SO WORTH the $45 or whatever you’ll spend on it.
Sites and Courses
Freelance Writer’s Den
I’ve been a member of the Freelance Writer’s Den since the beginning of 2013. I joined when I took the Break into Freelance Writing bootcamp from Carol Tice and Linda Formichelli, and although I’m not normally much of a forums person, I’ve stuck around because I think the value ($25/month) is worth it. I’ve made some great friends and gotten some great advice on the forums, picked up some nice gigs from the job boards, and listened to countless hours of FANTASTIC advice in the resources section.
The weekly Den Meeting calls with experts always give me new ideas on marketing, and niches to tap. The focus of the Den is split fairly evenly between magazine writing (consumer and trade) and business writing. The Den only opens to new members on occasion, so if you’re interested, you should go get on the waiting list.
(This is essentially the book form of the bootcamp that I originally took – there’s a lot of good materials here if you’re looking to get into freelance writing.)
Websites for writers
These are the places I send people when they ask how to get into freelance writing, or writing fiction:
Freelance Writing Books
Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share How They Find Clients, Stay Motivated and Earn Well Today
Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share brings together the best success stories featured on the Make a Living Writing blog over the past three years – including one by yours truly!
This e-book brings you more than 150 pages of advice from over 40 freelance writers, most of whom are new to the field. It’s a compendium of practical tips on how to find those first gigs, move up to great-paying clients, negotiate a better deal, use social media to find clients, and much more.
P.S. When you purchase Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share, I’ll send you a bundle of all three popular e-book formats with your purchase — PDF, Mobi and ePub. Read, use, and enjoy on the device of your choice.
The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success, by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition, by Kelly James Enger
Fiction Writing Books
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, by Steven Pressfield
Self Publishing Books
Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success, by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt
Business For Authors. How To Be An Author Entrepreneur, by Joanna Penn
The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn
Rocking Self Publishing Podcast with Simon Whistler
High Income Business Writing with Ed Gandia
Self-Publishing Podcast with Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and Dave Wright
Freelance Writer’s Den (Members only – definitely worth the $25/month.)
Morning Coffee Newsletter, a daily email with a great roundup of good jobs.
Be A Freelance Blogger jobs board, good blogging jobs get posted here – nothing under $50/post.
Freelance Writing Gigs, can be hit or miss, but there are some gems.