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Useful Online Resources All Writers Should Know About

Useful Online Resources All Writers Should Know About

There is a simple explanation for the fact that some writers claim to have never used modern writing tools: they are lying! With all those awesome technological inventions that make a writer’s work easier and more productive, it would be madness to remain stuck to the conventional typewriter.

If you don’t try out some of the most effective writing tools available today, you’ll never know how fast and constructive you can really be. Below you’ll find a list of some very cool tools that every contemporary writer should experiment with.

1. Writers Net

Writersnet

    Becoming part of a forum where writers gather to communicate and discuss each other’s work can be a turning point in your career. Don’t get overwhelmed by the critique though; all writers get a bit harsh when assessing another author’s work.

    2. NanoWriMo

    Nanowrimo

      This tool will help you track the progress you make and get you great support from the community of writers. If you want to meet fellow writers online or even in person, this is the right website to help you make contact.

      3. Ninja Essays

      Essay writer

        Ninja Essays’ blog provides easy-to-use advice on academic writing. Essay writers can also hire an expert to make sure that their story is supported by strong facts, and get their content edited by a professional editor for a surprisingly affordable price.

        4. OmniOutliner

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        Omni

          OmniOutliner provides all the features you need in order to start constructing a novel and get it written faster than you expected. You can use the tool for writing, as well as structuring information and creating a focused frame that will preserve the logical flow of your story.

          5. WritingHouse

          Citation generator

            This is the easiest way to implement a proper referencing style (be it APA, MLA, Chicago or Harvard) without having to learn the distracting details and rules required for writing them. All you need to do is choose a style and type of document, fill in the form, click ‘add,’ and download your properly formatted document.

            6. Nisus Writer (Pro)

            Nisus

              This tool holds a prestigious reputation within the writing community. Although it looks similar to the conventional MS Word on first sight, it provides a much prettier design and awesome features that make it one of the greatest word processors you could possibly use.

              7. PageFour

              PF

                This is another choice for creative writers and novelists who are looking for a simplistic interface that doesn’t complicate things with any unnecessary options, but still provides everything they could possibly need. PageFour provides outlining and processing features that will make the creation of your work easier.

                8. Daily Writing Tips

                DWT

                  Daily Writing Tips provides easy-to-use advice on writing, grammar, correct word usage and etymology. The archives and comments sections are great resources too.

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                  9. NewNovelist

                  NN

                    With the help of this writing software, you can take notes of your inspirational ideas whenever they hit you. There is no need to interrupt the process of writing in order to elaborate on a new idea and record it with another tool; NewNovelist will help you take notes within the same outline and make your writing smarter and faster.

                    10. BookBaby

                    BB

                      If you want to find a way to publish your books without much hassle and a huge investment, then you will love BookBaby – the eBook publishing and distribution website that enables you to get your eBooks to many readers and get paid for it. The service doesn’t take any percentage; you keep 100% of the payments.

                      11. WriteRoom

                      WR

                        Distractions are really bad for your daily goals and plans. If you are wondering what you have been doing with all that time without getting any pages completed, then WriteRoom is an essential tool for you. It will enable you to write in a distraction-free environment with simplicity that inspires your brain to stay absorbed by the current task.

                        12. Jer’s Novel Writer

                        Jer

                          This is one of the coolest writing programs available for Mac users. You can use margin notes to annotate text, and keep notes on the entire text in order to prevent your ideas from evaporating and add character information whenever a new concept hits you.

                          13. Padlet

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                          Padlet

                            You may have heard about this website under the name Wallwisher, but it changed its name recently after it underwent a makeover. This website is a virtual board that allows you to stick notes and easily share them with other users. The moderation and privacy settings enable students to become members of their teacher’s board, and have access to important updates about their schoolwork.

                            14. Celly

                            Celly

                              When it comes to posting quick thoughts, questions and comments, there isn’t a tool more effective than Celly. Its concept is similar to Twitter, but the updates are shared with a private group of people (a cell).

                              15. Pinterest

                              Pinterest

                                This is a great tool for writers – you can use it to pin ideas, favorite books, blogs, great websites, or anything else that interests you, and share it with the entire world. The best thing about Pinterest is that it doesn’t oblige its users to follow everything someone pins, so the writers can stay updated with content that truly interests them. The visual nature of Pinterest is a great way of making the writing process more effective.

                                16. TutorsClass

                                TutorsClass

                                  TutorsClass is a great way for writers to reach out to a greater number of readers and earn a rewarding payment during the process.

                                  17. Infogr.am

                                  Info

                                    If you are a blog writer Infogr.am is for you! This tool offers various templates that provide a quick way for writers to represent their information visually.

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                                    18. Easel.ly

                                    Ease

                                      This tool provides themes that blog writers can drag onto bank canvases and get an easy start to add, edit, and size icons to represent their information visually. The tool doesn’t require advanced computer knowledge, so anyone with basic tech skills can use it.

                                      19. Delivr

                                      delivr

                                        Share your links to your books with Delivr! This tool enables its users to create QR codes, which can be easily scanned by a mobile device and trigger a website or an image.

                                        20. Wiggio

                                        wig

                                          This tool is the easiest free way for writers to work in groups. There is a reason why over 100,000 groups are using Wiggio for different purposes: it offers a great deal of tools with no age restrictions (provided there is permission by a parent for young students).

                                          Get ready to explore a new world of opportunities

                                          As a creative writer, how could you not appreciate the new inventions that are meant to make your job easier? There are many tools, websites, and resources that turn you into a better, faster writer. You will fall in love with your profession all over again as soon as you start exploring the tools listed above.

                                          Featured photo credit: Jay via flickr.com

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                                          Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                                          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                                          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                                          At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                                          Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                                          One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                                          When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                                          So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                                          Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                                          This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                                          Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                                          When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                                          Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                                          One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                                          Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                                          An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                                          When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                                          Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                                          Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                                          We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                                          By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                                          Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                                          While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                                          I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                                          You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                                          Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                                          When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                                          Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                                          Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                                          Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                                          One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                                          Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                                          Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                                          This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                                          While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                                          Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                                          Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                                          This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                                          For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                                          Con #4: Unique Distractions

                                          Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                                          For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                                          To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                                          We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                                          More About Working From Home

                                          Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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