Tools & Resources

This page contains an overview of tools and apps I use daily as an online writer. You will notice the startup costs for an online writing business are close to zero. All of the tools below can be tested for free. Some contain affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase at no extra cost to you.

If anything is missing from this list, or you’re curious about a specific tool, ask away 📬

1. Reading

Medium: The platform showcases the work of thousands of independent writers, myself included. My writing career would not exist without it. For writers, it’s a great place to hone your craft and build up a content portfolio. Readers will find a wealth of stories on nearly any topic of their interest. If you’ve already blazed through your free three locked articles, consider becoming a Medium member for $5/month for unlimited access. If you sign up using my link, I'll get a small portion of your membership fee.

2. Newsletter

Upscribe: An easy-to-use newsletter builder that won’t overwhelm you with a million unnecessary features when you want to go beyond the “receive an email whenever I publish something” on Medium. Pricing starts at $5/month for 100 contacts.

3. Writing

Grammarly: Before I touch any publish button, I run a Grammarly check. This gem of a tool is especially helpful if you’re not a native English speaker. Over time, you’ll recognize common mistakes, make fewer of them and, as a result, improve your writing. So far, I’ve been cruising smoothly on the free plan. Will report back here once I’ve tested and tried the Premium plan.

4. Website

Journoportfolio: I was looking for an easy way to set up a writer’s website. I wanted to showcase my blogs here but send traffic to the original posts on Medium a la Rachel Yerks and Amardeep Parmar. Journoportolio makes all of this possible. Showcasing unlimited articles costs only $5/month on the Plus plan. The Pro plan costs $10/month, allowing for a custom domain and automatic article import.

5. Organizing/Planning

Google Calendar: My go-to calendar.

Plan: A free project management tool I use for time blocking. It imports from and syncs to your Gcal.

Google Sheets: Check out the Medium publication for free templates.

6. Design/Illustration

Design: Make a decent-looking graphic within minutes for your website, social media, or blog post with Canva, even if your design skills suck. Canva’s library holds thousands of templates and images for inspiration, and they’re customizable with a few clicks.

Illustration: I make all illustrations on the blog. I use a basic iPad, an Apple Pen, and the Procreate app.

7. Focus Apps/Productivity

Toggl Track: A free time tracker I’ve been using for years, together with the Chrome extension

Focusmate: 25 or 50-minute on-demand and around-the-clock virtual coworking sessions with strangers around the world. Sessions start every 15 minutes. You get three sessions per week for free. The Turbo plan grants you unlimited sessions for $5/month. It’s well worth it. I wrote a massive blog to celebrate hitting 1K sessions on Focusmate.

Session: A Pomodoro focus timer that lets you pick the duration of your session. The desktop app lets you jot down your thoughts during each session. It logs your sessions, and it gives you an overview of how yesterday went. I resort to this tool when I’m not in the right headspace to face humans on Focusmate and when I want to get started immediately.

Go F*cking Work: Another free Chrome extension that scolds you when you try to visit distracting websites.

Forest app: During my laptop screen breaks, I still reach for my phone too often, defeating the purpose of screen breaks. This mobile app prevents me from scrolling. If I stay inside the app for a preset duration, it plants cute trees. When I do leave the app, the trees wither. Pricing: $1.99.

8. Workflow Automation

Integromat: If you’re constantly repeating an action, it means it can be automated. Here’s an example of a use case.

9. Journaling

Notebook: When I need to clear my head, I tend to my brightly colored mini notebook and brain dump until I feel lighter.