Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Writing is traditionally a manual activity. In decades past, writers would spend hours hunched over a typewriter or computer to pound out words keystroke by keystroke.
That’s not the case in the 21st century.
If you’re still pounding out content keystroke by keystroke, you’re doing something wrong.
Writers need a tech stack in the modern age to maximize their capabilities — and their income.
What should be in your tech stack? As someone who’s been writing professionally since 2004, I’ve learned a thing or two about evaluating and incorporating software and other digital tools into the writing process.
Here’s a look at the six things you’ll need to make the most of your writing career.
1. Business Development Platform
Freelance writers need a business development platform where they can quickly find work. There are two types of platforms:
- Freelancers apply: On sites like Upwork, freelancers apply for jobs and clients evaluate those applications. On Upwork, clients sometimes invite certain freelancers to apply to jobs, and they even hire freelancers directly on occasion. But it’s more common for freelancers to apply for work.
- Clients buy: On sites like Fiverr, freelancers create “gigs,” and then clients buy those services directly. Freelancers can even run ads to promote their gigs to certain types of buyers.
Upwork and Fiverr aren’t the only platforms where freelancers can find work. There are myriad options when you’re searching for a business development tool for your business.
And, even if you work full-time as an in-house writer for a brand, you can also use these freelance sites to launch a lucrative side gig. Research indicates that more and more professionals are opting for the freelance lifestyle because of how flexible and profitable it can be.
2. Project Management Software
How do you keep track of multiple clients with different projects in-process? You start using project management software to stay organized.
I’ve tried using spreadsheets in the past to keep track of my clients and their various assignments. But project management software is much more effective for several reasons.
First, you get a direct view into all of the work going on at any given time. This makes managing days, weeks and months far easier. It also helps you avoid blowing deadlines.
Second, you can invite others to join you on any given project. For example, if you’re working with designers, editors or others, you can invite them to a project and assign specific responsibilities.
Finally, most project management software includes a free starter plan, which is more than enough for most writing businesses. There’s no upfront investment involved — just the benefits of project management waiting to be unlocked by writers.
3. AI Writing Platform
Artificial intelligence won’t replace writers. Not yet anyway. Look at AI writing tools as just that — tools to be leveraged by skilled writers.
I often make this illustration: If you were to get into an F1 race car, you might be able to make it around the track. (And I emphasize “might.”) But you wouldn’t stand a chance of beating Lewis Hamilton.
He’s an athlete. The car is just a tool.
You’re the writer. AI is just a tool.
4. Voice Typing Word Processor
I discovered voice typing a year ago, and I soon realized that it’s just one of several ways to write more efficiently.
How do you start voice typing? Open a Google Doc. Then navigate to the Tools menu and click on Voice Typing. Click the microphone icon and start talking.
It’s that easy.
You’ll have to edit at the end, for sure. But Voice Typing is a fantastic way to get a messy first draft down on digital paper so you don’t overthink things or get caught in a fit of writer’s block.
Try it. Over time, I think you’ll grow to appreciate voice typing more and more.
5. SEO Tool
There are manual workarounds to optimize a webpage or blog post on your own. But they are time-consuming and, ultimately, they are just guesswork.
Take the guessing out of it by using SEO tools to optimize your content. I use two of them:
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs helps me find keyword ideas, check backlink profiles and track progress on different projects. It’s a paid tool, but it’s worth the investment.
- SurferSEO: This word processing app makes optimization recommendations as you work. It supercharges the SEO process and helps you do more in less time.
Also, if you have a WordPress site that you own and/or manage, consider using the Yoast plugin to optimize your posts. It’s free — but it’s invaluable as you try to drive as much organic traffic as possible to your site.
6. Editing Plugin
I work alone for the most part. In a perfect world, I would have a second set of eyes to review my work before submitting to clients.
But I don’t have that luxury.
I have Grammarly instead.
Grammarly isn’t perfect, but it picks up on many of the mistakes that slip through a simple spelling-and-grammar check in a Word or Google Doc. It’s free as a browser plugin, so take advantage of Grammarly on your next project. It’s definitely cheaper than hiring an editor.
Keep an Eye Out for New Tools
I didn’t have or use all of these tools when I first started writing in 2004. Some of them didn’t even exist back then. Instead, I implemented and mastered them over time.
That’s why I always keep an eye out for new tools that might become available to streamline and accelerate my work. You never know when you’ll discover technology that helps you both save time and make more money.
When you piece together the proper writing stack for your business, you’ll be amazed how much easier it is to profit from your work.