I have a confession: Despite having written 192 books, including 21 New York Times bestsellers, I’ve never loved writing. Oh, I love everything else about the profession:
- Being a writer
- Being known as a writer
- And especially having written
But the actual writing itself is far too grueling to love. I’m guessing you know exactly what I mean. Writing can be:
- Even discouraging
The rewards come when the writing is finished:
- That feeling of accomplishment
- Getting published
- Impacting readers
The good news is that the right tools make writing easier. And with over 40 years as an author, I’ve had plenty of time to find my favorites.
Writer Tools I Recommend
Some of these are free—some cost. If you purchase a tool through this page, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. But rest assured, I’d never promote a writer tool my team and I don’t believe in.
Cost: Free with premium upgrades available at $29.95 per month, $59.95 per quarter, and $139.95 per year
Notes: Grammarly’s Google Chrome plugin helps catch grammatical errors in nearly everything you write online. The premium plans also offer vocabulary and sentence structure suggestions.
Pro Writing Aid
Cost: Free with premium upgrades available at $40 per year, $60 per 2 years, $80 per 3 years, or a one-time lifetime subscription fee of $140
Notes: Pro Writing Aid is a desktop app you can use with programs like Scrivener, Word, and Google Docs. It catches grammar errors, suggests style changes, and even checks for plagiarism.
Trying to organize a massive project like a nonfiction book or novel can be overwhelming.
Writing tools to help you keep track of your plot, characters, and overall progress:
Notes: Scrivener users call this the ultimate organization tool for writers. It allows you to view your notes, research, outline, and writing all in one place. It comes with several helpful tutorials.
Notes: Google Docs is great for collaboration. It allows you to invite others to make suggestions and comment on your work. My team and I use it for nearly everything we write.
Notes: Evernote helps organize your ideas, notes, research, or any other important information you want to quickly store as you find it so you can easily access it later.
The Novel Factory
Windows desktop version: $39.99 one-time charge
Online version: $7.50 per month, $20 per month, or $60 per month (discounts for paying annually)
Notes: The Novel Factory is an online app that helps new writers complete their manuscripts and experienced writers become more productive. It contains dedicated tools to aid with plotting, character development, and drafting.
If you’ve ever found yourself distracted by everything on your computer except what you should be working on, here’s a way to shut them out while you’re writing:
Cost: $6.99 per month, $29 per year, or a one-time charge of $119.99
Notes: Freedom allows you to block apps, social media, email, and whatever websites you choose — and on your own schedule.
Cost: $249.99 - $299.00
Notes: I LOVE my Qwerkywriter keyboard! It reminds me of the manual typewriter (remember those?) I learned on back when the earth’s crust was cooling. Yet the Qwerkywriter has all the modern conveniences upon which we so depend. It has the feel and sound of the classics but does all the work of the moderns. I wouldn’t trade mine for anything. In fact, I have one for each of my computers.
Published or not, you need your own website to build a following and increase your visibility. A well thought-out website is the most effective marketing tool you can have.
Setting up a website or blog seems daunting, but even if you aren’t technically savvy, you can easily set up one with these resources:
Cost: $2.95 per month for basic hosting (exclusive deal)
Notes: Bluehost provides hosting, domain names, and other tools to help you easily create your author website.
If you need help setting up your author website, I created a simple, start-to-finish guide to creating your very own within 30 minutes. Click here to check it out for free.
Cost: Free with paid options
Notes: Mailchimp is easy-to-use email marketing software that helps you turn website visitors into customers and subscribers — a must for growing your audience.
Cost: Starts at $25 per month
Notes: Leadpages allows you to easily create landing pages (webpages where you can offer free stuff — like a story, a guide, or a free chapter of your book in exchange for a visitor’s email address). My team has used this to grow my email list to over 50,000 subscribers.
Interested in having me mentor you while you write?
As a member of my exclusive online Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, you get:
- Intensive live online writing workshops with tips you can immediately apply to your writing
- Interviews with top writing and publishing experts who reveal inside information
- Live Q&A with me where you can ask me anything
- A private community where you can connect and interact with fellow writers
- And so much more!
Registration opens only a few times per year.
Helpful Guides, Articles, and Writing Sites
From some of the brightest minds in writing and publishing:
20 Things That Can Help You Find Inspiration for Writing – Live Write Thrive
Top 50 Writing Blogs of 2018 – Positive Writer
How to Write a Book Proposal – Jane Friedman
Advice for First-Time Authors – Michael Hyatt
What To Write Next? The Dilemma Du Jour – Marion Roach Smith
How to Structure Your Story – K.M. Weiland
Daily Writing Tips – Great grammar resource.
My Own In-Depth Guides and Blog Posts
How to Write a Book: The Ultimate Start-to-Finish Guide
How to Write a Novel: A 12-Step Guide
How to Publish a Book: My Ultimate Guide from 40+ Years of Experience
Your Ultimate Guide to Writing Contests in 2019
How to Overcome Writer’s Block Once and for All: My Surprising Solution
The Ultimate Guide to Character Development: 10 Steps to Creating Memorable Heroes
How to Write a Short Story in 9 Simple Steps
How to Write Your Memoir: A 3-Step Guide
How to Write Dialogue That Captivates Your Reader
Unique Gifts for Writers