The Tools

BeFunky

Do you need to make a poster of your next book signing? Or maybe a cover image for your author page on Facebook?

For any of your marketing needs BeFunky is your all-around graphic design answer! With photo editor, collage maker, and graphic designer apps, they sport an intuitive interface with tons of tips and explanations to walk you through your creative process. Plus they stock a robust library of royalty free photos for your use and tutorials to help you along the way!

Check them out at www.befunky.com!

Buffer

Trying to expand your social media presence while juggling logins and passwords and posts across multiple platforms? Today, we recommend Buffer, a social media scheduling service that will help you easily engage your readers across various social media channels!

Buffer's free plan allows you to connect up to three social media channels and includes all of the major social media platforms,(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). They also provide a helpful calendar view to plan out your posts as far down the road as you want to go! Plus, if you're word count is a little too long or your picture is mis-sized, Buffer notify you of a platform's requirements are before proceeding!

Want to give Buffer a try? Check them out at www.buffer.com!

Canva

Need help designing your next business card or book event flyer? Look no further than Canva, a free online graphic design application that can help you in your next creative endeavor!

 

If you don't have much design experience, never fear! Canva has hundreds of templates for everything from business cards to posters to social media graphics to get you started! They also host a broad range of free stock photos and design elements and allow you to upload your own images to incorporate into your design!

Canva's interface is simple and intuitive, and their process for creating, saving, and downloading your projects for print one of the simplest we've seen!

 

Want to see if Canva can help you on your next project? Check them out at www.canva.com!

Cold Turkey

Facebook, news sites, and online shopping stealing your attention away from your writing goals? This month, we would like to recommend Cold Turkey's "Writer," a simple desktop application that will allow you to stay focused on your writing goals!

 

Cold Turkey's free version of "Writer" blocks everything on your computer until you reach your writing goal. Your goal can either be a duration of time or number of words typed. Once you click start, you can't go back! The fullscreen block provides a distraction free environment and motivates you to finish, so you can use your computer again!

Try it out with a smaller goal to get you going! You will be amazed at how quickly you will hit your writing goals!

Check it out at www.getcoldturkey.com/writer!

Focus Writer

Looking for a way to grow your consistency and focus during your writing sessions? This week, we recommend Focus Writer!

Focus Writer is a lightweight basic text writer, designed to be free of the distractions of complex word processing applications. In full screen mode, there are no toolbars of windows, just a background and your text - so that you are free to concentrate!

Focus Writer’s basic features include a “find” tool to search for and replace words, as well as auto-save and goal setting functions. A pop up will show you the title, word count, percentage of daily goal and the time. Plus, you can create your own custom theme for the background!

Want to see if Focus Writer can help your next writing session? Check them out at www.focuswriter.en.softonic.com/!

Free Images

Looking for the right picture, illustrations, icons, or clipart for your website, Facebook page or promotional materials? Choose the kind of free image you need at FreeImages.com!

FreeImages is a community of creators who share their photography for people all around the world to use and bring to life. They have millions of photos, illustrations, vector graphics, clipart, icons, and Photoshop files that you can download for free for personal or commercial use, no attribution required.

Looking for a product mockup to promote your next book? They also have Photoshop templates to make your book look its best!

You can check them out at www.freeimages.com!

Freedom

"Have you ever set aside time to work on a writing project, and then found yourself scrolling through social media instead?

If you’re easily distracted, like us, the Freedom app is a must-have. This tool lets you block social media, email, or whatever apps and websites you choose.

Freedom is the perfect tool for distraction free writing. You can even schedule recurring focus mode sessions in advance." - ProWritingAid

The Freedom app enables you to break bad habits, eliminate distractions and focus on a single task, be more productive, and establish new habits.

Interested in seeing if Freedom is for you? Check out their free trial at www.freedom.to

Google Docs

"Google Docs allows real-time collaboration with editors, beta readers, and fellow writers

If you’re working on a collaboration, Google Docs is one of the best… Multiple writers can work on the same document at the same time.

Let’s say you want to get feedback on your writing from a critique partner or a beta reader. If you invite them to your Google Docs file, you can watch as they leave comments, in-line edit suggestions, and even emoji reactions on specific passages of your work." - ProWritingAid

Google Docs also lets you set the permission level of every person you grant access to! Best of all, it's totally free.

Try out Google Docs at docs https://docs.google.com!

Grammar Girl

If you are looking for the difference between “backward” and “backwards” or how to use reflexive pronouns, Grammar Girl's YouTube channel is for you!

New York Times bestselling author Mignon Fogarty shares her weekly Grammar Girl podcast and video tips about English, grammar, and writing. Her website has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times, she is on the Writers Board for NaNoWriMo, and she is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame.

Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/c/grammargirl/search!

Hemingway Editor

Need to cut down your word count? Shrink your manuscript? Strengthen your message?

Hemingway editor is an excellent free app that will help you do just that. Hemingway will highlight complicated sentences, passive voice, adverbs, and more so that you can write tighter, bolder copy!

Check it out at https://hemingwayapp.com/.

Hubspot’s Free Website Grader

Wondering how your author site ranks compared to industry standards for performance? Curious about the experience your readers have when they visit?

We recommend Hubspot's Website Grader as the perfect tool to help you analyze and improve your reader's experience on your author site!

Getting your report couldn't be easier. Simply copy and paste the web address of your site into the "website" field, enter your email address, and click "Get your score." In a few minutes, the grader will give you a full report of your website's performance, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), mobile compatibility, and overall security along with helpful tips to help you improve the areas that are weak!

Want to see how your website stacks up? Check them out at https://website.grader.com/!

Joplin

Looking for a way to capture all those thoughts, pictures, and moments of inspiration for your next book?

This week, we recommend Joplin, a free note-taking app that allows you to capture your thoughts and securely access them from any device! Joplin's notes are searchable and can be copied, tagged, and modified either from the applications directly or from your own text editor!

Joplin also allows you to collect images, videos, PDFs and audio files and even has a web-clipper function to save related web pages. If you're collaborating, you can easily share your notes with others and synchronize with other services such as Dropbox.

Want to see if Joplin can help you? Check them out at www.joplinapp.org/!

LibreOffice

Looking for a rock-solid word processor without the hefty price tag? We recommend Libre Office, the most versatile free office suite on the market! Its powerful and feature-rich word processor (Writer) is clean and easy to navigate and will be familiar to Microsoft users.

LibreOffice's other applications include Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing)and more…and did we mention it’s all totally free?

Check it out at www.libreoffice.org!

MarinaraTimer

Looking for a way to increase productivity and focus? The Marinara Timer is a perfect go-to productivity timer with three options to choose from based on your personal work style!

Their Traditional Pomodoro Timer focuses your work into a 25-minute cycle followed by a 5-minute break. After four of these “Pomodoros,” you’ll get a 15-minute break!

The Custom Timer allows you to set time segments that fit your workflow and reduce distractions. Best of all, you can share this timer with teammates.

If you want to go basic, then you'll love their Kitchen Timer. Simply tell it how long to go, and get working!

Check it out at www.marinaratimer.com!

Writing Community

National Novel Writing Month

If you're looking to jump-start your novel, one of our favorite tools is National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo)

"NaNoWriMo helps you track your progress, set milestones, connect with other writers in a vast community, and participate in events that are designed to make sure you finish your novel. Oh, and best of all, it’s free!" - NaNoWriMo

Check it out at www.nanowrimo.org!

Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo.

NaturalReader

Need a little help proofing your latest copy? One of the best ways to review your work is to read it out loud. If that seems like a daunting task, we recommend NaturalReader!

NaturalReader is a fantastic text-to-speech reading app to help you review your work. It couldn't be easier to use, and it's totally free!

“To use [NaturalReader], simply copy/paste your writing into the text box, choose a voice and reading speed, and follow along with the magnified text at the bottom. You can pause, rewind, fast-forward, and change the other settings at any time; it’s all incredibly easy and conducive to comprehension.” - blog.reedsy.com/writing-apps/

Want to see if NaturalReader can help you? Check it out here!

Noisli

Looking for a way to maintain your writing focus in an increasingly noisy world? Noisli's high-quality white noise app is an excellent option that helps you write distraction-free!

Create a personal environment that fuels creativity and reduces stress by mixing and matching sounds from Noisli’s library or by trying out their curated playlists. Their free version also offers Timer and Text Editor tools that are the perfect additions to set your next writing session up for success.

Check them out at www.noisli.com!
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OldMapsOnline

Researching topography or the layout of city streets for your work of modern or historical fiction? Or maybe you want a bit more information to fill in the finer points of your memoir or auto-biography?

Whether fictional or factual, Old Maps Online indexes over 400,000 maps from all over the world—some dating back to the mid 1800’s. Its database serves as an excellent resource to search out the details that capture your readers imagination and bring your story to life.

Check it out at www.oldmapsonline.org!

One Tab

Has research for your next book got you slogging through dozens of open internet tabs? This week, we recommend the OneTab web browser add-on as a handy tool to help you streamline your internet research!

Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs, OneTab can convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually or all at once. Drag and drop tabs in your OneTab list to reorder them. Export and import lists of tabs as URLs. Or create a webpage from your list to share with other people!

Best of all, OneTab makes sure all of your browsing information is kept entirely private, and it is totally free! OneTab works on Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari!

Check them out at www.one-tab.com!

Pacemaker Planner

Pacemaker is a playful way of making peace with your writing goals. You set a word count goal, chip away at it day by day and finish on time! Plus, they’ve designed different plans so you can approach your writing target in various ways to suit your style.

Once you’ve chosen your strategy, simply tell Pacemaker when you can commit more or less time to your work and how you want to approach the workload, and Pacemaker will calculate a schedule that will help you finish on time! No need to wrestle with spreadsheets or do manual calculations!

Want to try it out? Their basic plan is free! You can check out pacemaker at www.pacemaker.press/home!

Pexels

Looking for some stock photography that will knock it out of the ballpark for your author site, blog, or book cover?

This week we recommend Pexels, a unique community of contributors that have created a vast library of compelling and distinctive free photos. Whether you're looking for more traditional images or something more conceptual, the Pexels library offers a plethora of beautiful and emotive options to choose from. Let's put it this way, if you are looking for it, it's probably on Pexels!

Want to explore their library? Check them out at www.pexels.com!

Power Thesaurus

Looking for that one word that captures the heart of what you’re really trying to say? If you are, this week we recommend Power Thesaurus, a community-driven thesaurus that gathers words and sentences from multiple sources online to expand your word choices as you search for the perfect word!

For example, a search of “curious” brings up 394 synonymous words and phrases to help spark your creativity, along with antonyms, word definitions, and example sentences!
The best thing? The basic version of Power Thesaurus is completely free.

Check them out at www.powerthesaurus.org!

Read-O-Meter

Wondering how long it actually takes your readers to enjoy your most recent blog post, newsletter, or article?

If you are, this week we recommend Read-o-Meter, a simple online app that estimates the "read" time of your work to help you gauge whether your content matches your audience's needs. If you have busy readers, sometimes sharing estimated reading times can help them make the decision to click!

How does it work? Simply copy and paste your text into the Read-o-Meter text editor to calculate your work's estimated reading time based on the average reading speed of 200 words per minute!

Try them out at www.niram.org/read/!

Reedsy Prompts

Looking for a way to get your creative juices flowing? Check out Reedsy’s writing prompts! Reedsy releases five new prompts every week and has an archive of past prompts that you can search by genre.

Want weekly inspiration delivered to your inbox? Reedsy has a weekly newsletter just for prompts. And if you feel ready for a little competition, submit a short story using the weekly theme for a chance to win a $250 prize in their weekly contest! (Yes, they run this contest every single week!)

Check it out at blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/!

Scrivener

Looking for a way to write, organize, and format your next manuscript? This week, we want to recommend Scrivener as an excellent and affordable option for your next book!

Tailor-made for long writing projects, Scrivener banishes page fright by allowing you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like. Got a great idea but don't know where it fits? Write when inspiration strikes and find its place later. Grow your manuscript organically, idea by idea.

Once you're ready to share your work with the world, compile everything into a single document for printing, self-publishing, or exporting to popular formats. You can even share using different formatting, so that you can write in your favorite font and still satisfy those submission guidelines.

Wonder if Scrivener can help you? Check them out at www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview!

Simplenote

Looking for a simple way to keep track of you research notes and more as you prepare to write your next book? This week, we recommend Simplenote!

 

Simplenote is a minimalistic but powerful app that allows you to make notes, tag notes, view note history, share notes, create checklists, voice dictate, and so much more!

A few examples of what Simplenote can do for writers:

  • Create outlines
  • Organize basic research notes and references
  • Catalog characters information and backstories
  • Store ideas for future projects
  • Take notes and record ideas on the go
  • Supplement other writing applications and software

Check them out at www.simplenote.com!

The Free Dictionary

Most writers have a favorite dictionary. But if you’re in the market, we’d love to suggest www.thefreedictionary.com.

It boasts a Dictionary; Thesaurus; Medical, Legal and Financial Dictionaries; Acronyms; Idioms; Encyclopedia; and Wikipedia Encyclopedia entries all available, as applicable, for every word you search. In short, this dictionary is one of the quickest ways to jump-start your writing research!

"TheFreeDictionary.com now allows you to create your own personal homepage …you can add your own bookmarks, weather information, and RSS feeds from anywhere on the web."

Check it out at www.thefreedictionary.com.

Unsplash

If you are looking for excellent imagery for your book cover, blog post, or article, look no further than Unsplash.

With 1,000,000+ free images, Unsplash boasts “the world's premier collection of high-quality pictures—submitted by our community of talented contributors and completely free to use for any purpose.”

Check it out at www.unsplash.com and “Make something awesome!"

Wikimedia Commons

Looking for a place to dive in and research that story on your heart? Today, we’re recommending Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.

Wikipedia hosts millions of articles in multiple languages on everything from history to botany to space travel. And for those researching for biographies and historical fiction, their sister site—Wikimedia Commons—also boasts a fantastic array of public domain photographs, paintings, audio recordings, and books that are free for use! (Just be sure to review the terms of the post author at the bottom of the entry.)

Start exploring at www.wikipedia.org or

www.commons.wikimedia.org!

Word Count

Most word processors will display your word count for you, but if you are looking for a little extra help, we suggest Word Count!

Word Count is a simple and free text and webpage word counter. Simply copy and paste your text or your webpage url, and Word Count will give you a rundown that lists your “top” (aka repeated and overused) words and phrases. It also provides a helpful rubric outlining typical word counts for different mediums and platforms. If you’re trying to hit or fit a specific goal for that article, devotion, or essay, Word Count will give you an instant confirmation that you’re on the right track! (Or maybe still have a little work to do…)

Check it out at www.wordcount.com!

Worksheet Works

There are thousands apps to help you organize your time to maximize your creativity. But if you are a pen-and-paper kind of writer, who finds technology a bit overwhelming, I have good news...

"Worksheet Works" is an excellent resource for customizable printable calendar and planner pages that will give you the simple tools you need to plan what you the way you want! From hourly day planners and hourly week planners for scheduling your writing times to multi-month and annual calendars for planning your long term goals (and all kinds of sheets in between!), these simple worksheets are easy to set up, print and use. Best of all, they are completely free!

You can check them out at www.worksheetworks.com/miscellanea/calendars.html!

YouTube

If you are looking for some music to set the tone for your next writing session, YouTube has a nearly infinite selection of hour-long (or more!) mood music to choose from! From smooth jazz to Italian to Asian and beyond, simply type the nation, region, style, decade, or artist you want into the search bar and add the words “soundtrack” and/or “instrumental" to your search. YouTube will pull a host of options to fit your style!

And if you're looking for modern music or a certain artist's work, simply type their name or band into the search bar and add the word “playlist.” You'll be ready and rarin' to go within moments!

Check it out at www.youtube.com!

etherpad

Need to collaborate on your next book? This week, we recommend Etherpad, an online editor that allows you and your co-author to write and edit together in real time!

Etherpad's distraction-free interface and unique color coding for each contributing writer enables you to easily keep track of who's doing what as you and your writing partner work. And if you're looking for some more advanced options, Etherpad boasts 200+ plugins to customize the app with exactly the features you need!

Want to see if Etherpad could work for you? Check them out at www.etherpad.org!

yWriter

Want to know how to organize your writing project like the pros without paying the fee?

This week, we recommend yWriter! This free novel writing program is a powerful piece of software, allowing you to break your book into chapters and scenes. Tracking progress is easy with the 'status' flags to mark each scene: outline, draft, 1st edit, 2nd edit or done.

yWriter also creates auto backups of your work, making it easy to revert to an earlier version, and includes helpful tools like a word count, timeline, story outline, and scene summaries. Best of all, the application is completely free!

Check it out at www.ywriter.en.softonic.com/!

“Journaling with Jesus”

As writers we all need encouragement and direction for our journey. One wonderful way to receive that is by developing our connection to our King through the habit of prayer journaling. Journaling is simply taking time to have an intentional conversation with the Lord, by asking questions and then listening for and writing what you feel He’s showing you.

If this idea is new to you, Carol Round's beautiful book “Journaling with Jesus” well help you get started!

To learn more from Carol Round on Journaling and other topics visit www.carolaround.com!

best-hashtags.com

Wondering which hashtags to use for your next social media post? This week, we recommend best-hashtags.com as an excellent resource to research trending hashtags on a variety of topics across the mainstream social media platforms!

Best-hashtags.com allows you to enter the hashtag you are considering, and its search engines scour social media platforms to find the related hashtags that are currently popular! Each search pulls up a handy report ranking the trending hashtags by their popularity and relevance.

Want to see which hashtags might suit your next post? Check them out at www.best-hashtags.com!

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