Software to Make Writing, Editing, and Publishing Easier
The links in this post are to tools that I personally use. They are not affiliate links and I do not benefit if you click or sign up!
Have you seen images of The Watsons, an abandoned manuscript of Jane Austen’s, during the editing process? Fragile-looking pages with handwritten text, insertions and replacement paragraphs attached with straight pins. Can you even imagine? I certainly can’t.
Writing is hard enough: Putting your thoughts on paper. Trying to make it clear, accessible, interesting to your reader. Overcoming writer’s block, imposter syndrome, and any number of other mental hurdles.
Luckily, the mechanics of writing in the digital age are only getting easier and easier. Here are some of my favorite tools for writing, editing, and publishing content.
There’s no shortage of project management systems out there, and the very best way to choose the right one for you is just to give them a try. If you already know what features you’re looking for, that can help you narrow your focus. But everyone works a little differently, and you can’t go wrong with giving your shortlist choices a quick trial to see how it goes.
I like Trello because I can easily use it for personal and household to-do lists, as well as for client work and business administration tasks. It’s also useful for collaborating, whether that’s building a grocery list with my spouse, planning a trip with my sister, or drawing up an outline for a client project.
Ideas for our writing can come from all manner of places, of course, and we don’t always have a choice in the matter. But even if you’re working on an assignment for an employer or for a client, it helps to be able to supplement those topics with additional inspiration.
A great place to start is to find out what people are already searching for online. If you’re writing about laundry best practices and you learn that lots of people are going to search engines to compare soaps vs. detergents or to get information about water temperatures, that’s added value you can include to meet that need. Answer the Public is a fantastic way to do just that and find out what people are asking about.
The ease of managing so many aspects of our lives online has its drawbacks. I frequently find myself losing things, opening videos or articles or pages to look at later—and inadvertently leaving them there for days (or even longer). My default browser of choice, Google Chrome, is already pretty good at keeping a history for me if I accidentally close a window with 29 tabs. (It’s happened. More than once.)
But Workona has changed my life because it allows you to create separate workspaces, meaning I can have 29 tabs open for one client—and then quickly switch to my own administrative workspace, where my email, calendar, and invoicing system is waiting for me. I don’t lose tabs, and I don’t have to have everything open at once.
One of the surest ways to promote clarity is to pick a style guide and stick to it! This can help you both conform to standard language rules and ensure consistency in your writing. More “rules” than you probably realize are simply style preferences—whether that’s including a serial comma before “and” in lists, spelling out some numbers but not others, or capitalizing headings and subheadings.
There are plenty of style guides out there, and you can also create your own! AP (The Associated Press Stylebook) is most common in journalistic settings. MLA (Modern Language Association) is the standard for most academics. APA (American Psychological Association) is the go-to for many social sciences and business texts. I use The Chicago Manual of Style for most of my work, for instance. Even so, I will make exceptions for certain clients based on their audience needs.
Looking for additional help with your writing project? I offer editing, proofreading, and even ghostwriting services—and I’d love to talk to you about what you’re working on!