Besides being a professional freelance writer, I have always been something of a computer nerd i.e., I love trying out new hardware and software programs. There are hundreds of programs available just for the writer-some of them are free shareware programs, while others come with a price attached-some of those programs I have found to be invaluable in my day to day life as a writer. Picking the top five programs was not an easy task for me. Nevertheless, here are five that I have found to be indispensable.
Grammarly is one of those programs that are free to try but not free to use. Grammarly is a subscription service that you can subscribe to monthly or annually. Monthly, it has a subscription fee of $16.99 that is charged to your credit card. If you choose to subscribe on an annual bases, you do save a few dollar.
English is my first language, but I find that using this program helps me speed up my self-editing process. Besides catching errors spelling and errors in grammar; Grammarly offers a list of synonyms for you to choose from for words that the program thinks would better express what you are trying to say. I do not always go with the recommended word changes, but often I find that the recommended words actually makes my writing stronger.
Like every writer, I have a copy of Roget's on my reference books book shelf, but I use the online version of the Visual Thesaurus most of the time. The Visual Thesaurus is not only quicker to use, it maps out the relationship between the word I used and each of the synonyms that it presents to me right on my computer screen. Try it, you will love it; I promise you that.
There are two versions of the online Visual Thesaurus-a free version and a paid subscription version. The free version may be all that you want or need, so give it a try. The subscription version does provide you with extra features, and you can upgrade at any time if you decide that you want the extra features that the subscription plan offers.
Like most writers, I have Microsoft Office on my computer, but I also have the free Open Office Suite on my computer. Microsoft Office is more of a status symbol for writers today than it is a necessity. The free to download and free to use Open Office Suite provides you with all the programs that Microsoft Office does and Open Office has a much gentler learning curve. I find that I use the Open Office Suite when I'm pressed for time, and I just want to get my work done. I use Microsoft Office when I feel the need to impress someone that I am sharing files with.
One of the most time consuming tasks for every writer is keeping accurate records. I use to use Microsoft Access to create relational data bases to track my clients, the articles I wrote, who I had submitted them to, what the disposition of those articles were, for my contacts and mailing lists, and so forth. Being a computer nerd, I enjoyed creating those relational data bases, but it was time consuming, and, for someone less computer savvy than me, constructing them could be quite difficult, as well. Today, there is a better, faster and easier way to accomplish all of this record keeping, using a superb freeware program called Sonar.
Sonar provides you with a relational data base that allows you track your submissions and the disposition of the submissions. Sonar provides you with a means to file market and contact information and to use that information to create mailing lists and mailing labels. It is the all in one record keeping program that every writer dreams of having and the best thing about it, it is totally free. It is free to download and free to use for as long as you desire.
If you use photos to illustrate what you write, you need this free program to resize picture files before up loading them. PIXresizer allows you to resize individual pictures or resize multiple pictures at the same time. PIXresizer has one of the easiest to learn GUIs (Graphic User Interfaces) that I have ever ran across. There are also extensive online helps, but you will not need them to master this program.
OK, these are my top five programs. There are many more programs that I consider of equal value to the writer, but these will get you started. I'm sure you will find many more equally useful programs as you continue on your journey to becoming a professional freelance writer.
select one here...