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I spend a lot of time writing, and I’m not complaining. I love to write! But, creative writing can be daunting. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of ten free online tools for creative writers. These are all apps and websites that I use almost daily. I don’t know where I’d be without them, and I know they will help you with your creative writing journey!
Let’s get started.
Starting with the basics- a word processor. There are a lot of fancy word processors out there. Some are marketed directly to fiction writers. But, Docs is my go-to for a few reasons- it’s free, it’s simple to use, and it makes collaboration easy.
We all have our most trusted editors. For me, that’s my wife. When I ask her to proofread a document I trust her to make any changes she sees fit. With the share function, Docs makes that easy. I share my document to her Gmail account and she can make changes from her phone or laptop at any time.
Overall, I prefer Google’s G Suite over pricier options like Office or Apple iWork. Why pay through the nose for a basic word processor and spreadsheet application? Hell, I run my entire blog off of a $200 dollar Asus Chromebook, believe it or not.
Pro tip- if you only use your computer to write, don’t buy an expensive computer.
No software or app can replace a human editor. But, if you want to sell your writing put it through as many filters as possible. The first filter I plug my text into is Grammarly. Here are a few things I like about the app-
It’s Google plugin provides a spell check in Google Docs as well as when you’re writing on any website. So, if you have to fill out a field in, let’s say, a job application you won’t need to copy and paste from a word processor. Grammarly spell checks right there on your browser.
Plus, Grammarly’s word processor is super robust. Before you start typing you can set specific parameters for your text. Tell Grammarly if you’d like to inform, convince, or entertain. Choose a tone you want to convey like ‘confident’ or ‘funny.’ Grammarly will grade your writing based on those predefined goals.
Lastly, Grammarly is invaluable to terrible spellers- like me. I’m serious, last month I misspelled the word “villain” on a Pinterest graphic. If only my graphic design app had a spell check…
The best part is you get most of the app’s features for FREE. Or, you can upgrade to premium if you really want to up your game. Check out Grammarly with the link below.
I use Evernote for all my research. And, I’ll be honest with y’all, I suck at productivity apps. Usually, there are way too many options and I get overwhelmed. After a thousand ignored push notifications, I eventually uninstall the app. Not Evernote, though.
No, Evernote is evergreen on my phone. Why? It’s great for taking notes. It’s that simple. See a passage in a book on creative writing that you know you’ll want to reference later? Just snap a picture and add a tag like, “fiction writing.”
If you’re reading a great article online but don’t have time to finish you can download the page to Evernote. The app will store the article offline for you. You can finally close all those open tabs!
And finally, if you’re standing in line at the grocery store and you come up with an idea for your next short story-
The FBI recruits a twenty-something bag boy to infiltrate a secretive cartel running drugs out of the store’s warehouse…
All you have to do is jot it down in Evernote, and it will be ready for you the next time you sit down to at your desk.
If you’re a writer, fiction or not, then you’re probably blogging. Blogging is a terrific tool for marketing. And, if your blogging you better be on Pinterest.
For most bloggers, Pinterest is a primary source of traffic.
But, who has time to consistently add pins to their account and gain followers to their profile? We all have day jobs, right?
That’s where Tailwind comes in. It’s one of the best scheduler apps I’ve ever used for any social platform. Tailwind allows you to schedule dozens of posts at a time and for weeks in advance.
And, then there’s Tailwind Tribes. With Tribes, Tailwind makes it easy for you to find other bloggers in your niche. You share their content, they share yours. Next thing you know, you’ve gone viral!
The best thing about Tailwind is that they’ve partnered with Pinterest every step of the way. So, they aren’t going anywhere. Tailwind has done wonders for my traffic and it can for you too.
Hemingway Editor is the second filter I put my writing through before handing it off to any beta readers. It’s a simple and free application that will rate your text based on readability.
Hemingway will also alert you when a sentence is hard to read, or when you’ve used too many adverbs. It even highlights when you use passive voice.
Hemingway is a useful way to make your writing as clear and concise as possible.
This site is a fantastic resource if you’re looking for an online community of beta readers. Here’s how it works- you make an account and start editing other members work. With every critique, you provide you earn a credit.
After you earn a certain amount of credits you will be able to upload your own work for critique.
I use Scribophile as a free editing resource on all my fiction. You can get in-depth critiques from talented beta readers. A lot of the writers on the site have published fiction and know what they’re talking about.
I also enjoy being part of a community of writers. Everyone on the site is helpful and supportive, and it’s nice to chat with like-minded creators.
But, they won’t pull punches, and that’s a good thing. Because, if your story sucks then that’s something you want to know.
Power Thesaurus is an awesome resource. No wait, it’s an amazing resource. It’s incredible, inspiring, breathtaking, magnificent! You get the idea.
With a simple interface Power Thesaurus is incredibly easy to use. It also offers a ton of options that other websites like it don’t have. Sure, it gives you synonyms and antonyms. But, it also provides expressions, idioms, adverbs, and adjectives that relate to your search term.
One Look works like a dictionary but in reverse. You put in a definition and it gives you the word you’re looking for. It’s amazing!
Let’s say you can’t remember the word for something. Like what’s a baby goat called? Search the definition “baby goat,” and One Look will give you a list of descriptor words.
It’s a kid, by the way, according to One Look.
You work in twenty-five-minute intervals that with five-minute breaks between. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the basic idea. Read more about it here.
Marinara Timer is an online timer designed for people using the Pomodoro Technique. It’s also useful as a basic, online timer.
Choose the Pomodoro option and the timer sets the work intervals and breaks so you don’t have to think about it. Set the timer and let it run. The site also features a customizable timer and a normal kitchen timer.
The Most Dangerous Writing Prompt Generator
Have you ever had writer’s block? Of course, you have, you’re a writer. Well, here’s your cure- The Most Dangerous Writing Prompt Generator. This generator creates unique prompts like-
“He hadn’t seen anything like this in his twenty years of teaching.”
Start typing your response, but don’t get distracted. If you take your hands off the keyboard the words on the screen will begin to fade. Wait a few seconds longer and the app permanently deletes your work.
It’s write or die, so make your decision. Oh, and it’s pretty damn fun too. Don’t believe me? Go check it out yourself!
So there are my ten free online tools for creative writers. Hopefully, these will help your online writer’s life. Plus, they’re free. You can’t beat that price anywhere in town.