Tools of the Trade: 5 Essential Tools This Freelancer Can’t Live Without

Writing ToolsWhen I began to do freelance writing and editing full-time, I thought all I’d need was my laptop and an Internet connection to do my work efficiently. The longer I have freelanced, the more tools I’ve discovered to help me be a more efficient and productive writer and editor.

Here are five of the tools I now can’t live without:

1. Evernote. I first heard about Evernote Web Clipper from a genealogy magazine I frequently write and edit articles for. The editors there loved this free tool, and now so do I. It provides a great way to save articles you see online and organize them. It helps me keep any info I use as source material in a safe place where I can find it again if editors need it for fact-checking. It also gives me a single place to put items I see that spark story ideas I want to pitch later.

2. My all-in-one printer. I didn’t realize how important an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier was to my business until my old all-in-one stopped working. All of a sudden one day, it wanted to eat the paper instead of print on it. After a few nights of online research, I ended up purchasing an Epson WorkForce WF-7520. It has an auto document feeder (great for scanning and copying), prints double-sided sheets of paper, and prints on 11×17 paper.

Even though I read the dimensions of the printer online, its large size still surprised me when I unpackaged it (my husband has nicknamed it Big Bertha), but despite the desktop space it hogs, I love it! It has made my life easier since I got it. Scanning is quicker. I save paper by printing on both sides of a sheet. And I don’t have to squint to read miniscule type when I need to print and proofread book or magazine spreads.

3. Google Drive. Early on as a freelancer, I had a computer crash scare. My motherboard had to be replaced, but luckily all the files on my hard drive were safe. Since then, I became more diligent about backing up my files. I put all current project files on the Google Drive, so I can access them anywhere. That way, if my computer crashes again, I won’t lose days of work and can continue working while my computer is in the repair shop (or while I shop around for a new computer.)

4. Dropbox. I use Dropbox often for getting large files (like photos for stories) to my editors. It’s way better than sending dozens of emails with super large attachments. And it’s free.

5. Pandora. Let’s face it: writing in a room by yourself can get very quiet, sometimes eerily quiet. When it gets too quiet or I need a little energy or creativity boost, I turn on a Pandora channel. The music provides good company, and helps the words flow from my fingertips to my Microsoft Word document.

Do you have any tools you use every day to help make you more productive? Post a comment or tweet me on Twitter @DanasCreative to share your favorite productivity tools.

Image credit: Image by aopsan/; alterations by Dana’s Creative Services

About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative