4 Tools for Freelance Writers (You Might Not Have Heard Of)

Being a freelancer is tough enough without having to worry about every single detail in your life. You would think with all the apps available you could find something to handle all the nitpicky stuff you hate to do.

Well, all your dreams have come true! With the following tools you should be able to increase the time you have to run your business.

1. OpenOffice (Mac or PC)

You don’t have the money for Microsoft Office, and Google’s options just aren’t cutting the mustard. What are you supposed to do, especially now that your client list is expanding and they want more and more complicated materials?

OpenOffice is a great alternative to the bloated costs of MS Office. It’s completely free and developed 100% by volunteers who simply want to bring a great product to everyone who needs it. Even better, OpenOffice can work with your old MS Office files you have moldering on your hard drive.

2. TeuxDeux (Cloud)

Even if you’re a freelance writer who stays in their home office all day you can get overwhelmed with how much you have to do in the day. Between writing posts, invoicing clients, promoting yourself online…it can be a bit much. TeuxDue has you stay organized by creating custom lists and recurring to-dos that you can access online and on your mobile phone. With TeuxDeux, you’ll have your entire day/week/month/year/life planned way ahead of schedule. As their slogan says, “What deux yeux have teux deux texuday?”

3. TextExpander (Mac)

You do a lot of typing. As a freelance writer, that’s a good thing! However, you’ve probably noticed you do a lot of the SAME typing every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could program some shortcuts so you didn’t waste so much time?

With Smile Software’s TextExpander you can do exactly that. Type more with less effort by assigning shortcuts for everything from emails to blog posts. Plus, it will identify typos you make the most and autocorrect them so your backspace key doesn’t get worn out. This little app starts at $34.95 for one license, but it has a free trial, and if you’re like me, you’ll find that it’s well worth the small up-front cost.

4. Docracy (Cloud)

You know about freelance writing enough to know you need contracts and other business and legal documents. You may not be a legal expert, though, so you have no idea what to do when it comes to these things – you just know you need them!

That’s why you need Docracy, the web’s only open collection of legal contracts. Not only does it contain hundreds of documents, you can even sign them online instead of printing them out. To further help you out they’ve included several “bundles” including a freelance writer bundle.

What’s your little known go-to application?

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9 thoughts on “4 Tools for Freelance Writers (You Might Not Have Heard Of)”

  1. Brilliant, Jennifer. Thanks for these. Docracy is completely new to me, and will be useful.

    Re TextExpander, it’s my favorite time management tool. I love it.

    It takes care of all the repetitive stuff. I have abbreviations for boilerplate documents (invoices, templates for various kinds of writing, email addresses, and much more). It’s a gem. Totally unobtrusive, and always here.

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    This is a great list, thanks for sharing!

    I had a one year love-hate relationship with OpenOffice (great software, but large documents and heavy formatting for eBooks is impossible) – haven’t used any of the rest of these, though.

    I’m particularly interested in Docracy and TextExpander. I write a LOT every day, so anything that streamlines even a small percentage of that typing would be incredible. I’d heard of text expanders and macro-building for the Mac before, but haven’t gotten to that point. I am a big fan of the Dictation tool in Mountain Lion too – with the headphone microphone, it’s been incredible accurate for me.


  3. I love Open Office!

    My publisher in Detroit uses Open Office and refuses to use Word. Thanks to him, I now have a great writing tool to add to my arsenal.

  4. I have never heard of Text Expander, and it sounds like it could be really helpful. I tried Dragon Naturally Speaking a few years back, and just could not come to grips with talking to type— but now that I have a little granddaughter that hangs out with me while her Momma works, both it and Text Expander might allow me to be productive during her nap times. Thanks for sharing these tools with us….I am going to share a link to your post on my writing blog.

    • Out of curiosity, was it just talk-to-text in general that was a problem in the past, or did you have problems with that specific software? I’ve used a couple of versions of Dragon, and I’ve always had issues with accuracy. Now I use the Swype app (beta version) for Android devices, and it’s near-perfect. The funny thing? It’s also from Nuance, and involves no voice training like the larger software. I think they have an iPhone app too, although I believe it’s called Dragon dictation. Ultra-portable options, and the accuracy has been great so far. It might be something to try. 🙂

  5. Open Office isn’t quite as user friendly as Word, but is still a godsend. Thank you for Docracy!! This looks great.


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