Freelancing has become a viable career option for writers in 2021 thanks to the increasing number of brands seeking online content to engage audiences. Original stories are distributed through social media, owned assets like blogs, YouTube channels, and more.
Brands with limited internal resources naturally prefer the hassle-free solution of hiring freelancers for one-off projects. This can help offset a surplus of work needed for major projects.
An abundance of gigs is an opportunity for freelance writers to earn extra income and expose themselves to new challenges that can sharpen their skills. It can also help them pad out their portfolios.
What is the best app for freelance writers?
Well, there isn't one app to rule them all. Freelance writers should use various apps to get different things done.
The good news is that working freelance has never been easier. Plenty of app makers have released content creation tools and other resources that simplify or automate different phases of the writing process.
Some apps help curate ideas from the internet, while others keep invoices neatly filed so that the freelancer can be paid as soon as possible. For writers toiling single-handedly, several of these tools -- some powered by artificial intelligence -- can even act as a second pair of eyes for quality control on your content.
So, in no particular order, here's a list of apps for freelance writers that may prove useful at various project stages, from ideation to invoicing.
Recommended apps for freelance writers
How do freelance writers find work?
Word-of-mouth only goes so far in helping writers find clients and projects. Online job boards end up cluttered with requests from unverified clients, some of whom may not treat freelance writers fairly. Smart freelancers head to content platforms that filter both clients and writers to ensure both sides find the right match.
ContentGrow is APAC’s top talent network and workflow app for brands to engage professional freelance writers and journalists. Here, writers can create a profile and wait for inbound gigs.
After accepting project invites, freelance writers can view briefs, submit drafts and topic ideas, chat with clients directly, and receive payments inside the app. Clients on the platform come from around the world, and range from finance brands to major media outlets and more.
Currently, ContentGrow operates on an invite-only basis for writers. Writers can apply by filling out this form.
Writing starts with an idea. But because ideas are fleeting, it's best to quickly write them down before they float away. Plenty of apps exist for writers to jot down ideas and iron out concepts until they ultimately make sense. Best of all, most of these apps are free.
Evernote is a tool that lets writers clip content from the web (such as online links and photos) and move it onto the app's notepad for annotation. With this tool, writers can also set tasks and deadlines related to ongoing projects and upcoming deadlines.
When you’re having an outpouring of ideas, scribbling them on a piece of paper might take too long or end up as illegible handwriting later on. Dragon Dictation is an AI-powered speech recognition software that lets writers dictate their stream of thought before it inevitably evaporates. Dragon Dictation also touts itself as highly customizable, allowing writers to adapt the solution to their specific needs.
Imindmap merged with Ayoa to blend a fully online whiteboard with a mind mapping app. Writers can kick off a project with a mind map that lays out the concept and logic, then transpose it as workflow plans such as Kanban boards or Gantt charts. They can also post project to-do's on the whiteboard for different team members to work on simultaneously.
Now comes the most challenging part of the project: the actual writing. Thankfully, tech comes to the rescue again for the more technical side of writing, such as editing and proofreading.
Freelance writers working solo are all-too-familiar with the challenges of being a one-person show. They have to write, edit, and proofread by themselves. Here's where Grammarly comes to the rescue. Grammarly checks spelling and provides advanced suggestions on tone and clarity. In effect, it serves as a virtual editor and proofreader for freelancers in need of an extra eye.
Hemingway App is a text editor that remedies errors and bulky sentences. It leaves paragraphs crisp and pithy. For quick sentence checkups and fixes, writers have to copy and paste the text into the website or app, which then immediately returns editing suggestions.
For freelance writers who often find themselves working on the go, the SwiftKey mobile app comes in handy. This app integrates itself into your mobile phone's keyboard to support a more intuitive typing experience. Writers can customize SwiftKey to cut down typing errors and even make it possible to craft long documents on the phone.
These days, clients are increasingly expecting their freelance writers to deliver unique images along with text. Here are a few apps that can help.
Great visuals are worth a thousand words. Canva is an image-based content creation tool and template resource for writers to craft eye-catching text and visual content, such as presentations, brochures, and booklets. Canva also helps writers create video and social media content effortlessly, which is a plus for writers new to the multimedia game.
Most writers don’t want to install the full version of Adobe Photoshop on their computers, especially for only occasional photo editing. For quick image crops and retouches, however, writers have at their disposal the Photoshop Express app, which is a condensed version of the original software. With its simple user interface, Photoshop Express is the right app for those seeking a lightweight tool for minor image touch-ups.
Lightroom Mobile is another image editing app offered by Adobe. Compared to Photoshop Express, Lightroom leans more toward bigger projects, in which users have to manage heavier image editing duties. Lightroom's added advantage is its cloud-based image organization and saving feature. This allows writers to access their image databases anytime and anywhere.
Organization and collaboration
On large projects, freelance writers often find themselves working with other freelancers or having to team up with the client's in-house crew. This translates to coordinating tasks and documents across multiple people simultaneously.
Emails limit the size of attachments, making them cumbersome for projects involving sharing and collaborating on large files. Online cloud storage app Dropbox saves the day by providing a space for writers to easily upload files and folders for collaborators to easily access, no matter what device or email service they use.
Slack has become a staple comms tool for startups. It is a preferable alternative to email and regular chat apps in many scenarios. Slack makes it easy to form work groups, share files, and organize procedures. This is a definite plus for remote teams. In the context of freelancing, writers familiar with Slack will find it easy to run projects with clients that are already hooked into the app.
As a project management tool, Trello powers productivity by being fully customizable, allowing users to divide tasks and share resources with no fuss. Its user-friendly interface of boards, lists, and cards eliminates confusion on how the app should be used, making it easy to assign tasks to each team member.
For creatives, administrative tasks like preparing invoices and building financial reports are tedious. Fortunately, accounting apps are now offering effortless billing and tracking of both invoices and receipts, ensuring that freelance writers process their payments efficiently.
Wave is an accounting software that promises painless management of income and expenses. Freelance writers can automate some repetitive tasks such as payroll and invoicing with this app. Specifically for invoicing, Wave offers customizable forms and lets users automatically set recurring billings.
A freelance writer may rack up receipts for work-related expenses, such as stock photos or transportation costs. Shoebox collects these receipts, extracts key data, and then organizes them for expense reports. For freelance writers who have to pay US taxes, Shoebox offers tax season services as well.
Freelance writers with large client lists will find Quickbooks helpful. It’s an accounting app built for small businesses. Quickbooks features include invoicing, expense tracking by filing receipts, and finance reporting.
ContentGrow is a freelance writer's secret weapon for landing vetted inbound clients. The platform matches each client with niche-appropriate writers at preferred rates. Sign up to get your invite here.