I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page for all of your writing needs. All of these are tools that I use and recommend. They help me work more efficiently and share my writing with the world.
This page will evolve over time as I discover new resources so I’d recommend bookmarking it!
Please Note: Several of the links below are affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you buy the item at no extra cost to you. These small sales are how I keep the site up and running. Thanks for your support!
Every writer should have a blog. It’s one of the best ways to share your writing with a wider audience. Read my how-to guide on setting up a blog here.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. You can set up a free blog at WordPress.com, but if you’re serious about building a professional web presence and having full control of the website’s design, I recommend buying your own domain and a hosting package through a company like Hostgator.
Hostgator – This is an affordable hosting service when you’re first getting started. They offer easy WordPress installs and 24/7 tech support (both by phone & online chat). I’ve hosted several of my websites at HostGator.
WPX Hosting – My current hosting service for this website. Highly recommend them. I love how fast my website loads. 🙂 Their support is incredible, and they will quickly answer any WordPress questions you have (and fix any problems for you). Free SSL certificates, free security protection and support if your website ever gets hacked, and free website migrations.
Blog Design & WordPress Plugins
There are many free WordPress templates to choose from in the WordPress library and, if you’re brand new to creating websites and navigating the WordPress framework, you might just want to try your hand at customizing those.
However, if you want a professional looking website, I recommend investing in a premium theme. Premium themes come with excellent customer support and are far more secure than free templates.
Here are my two favorite theme libraries:
Elegant Themes – Elegant Themes has developed the Divi Theme, an incredibly versatile WordPress theme with a drag & drop page builder that makes it easier than ever to build beautiful websites. (They also have a plugin that lets you use their drag & drop builder with other WordPress themes. I use this on my websites to create sales pages and landing pages.)
Studio Press – Another fantastic provider of WordPress themes. These themes work on the Genesis Framework that is SEO optimized and has rock-solid security. This website is running on the Genesis framework.
Lifestyle Pro Theme – This is the Studio Press theme I am running on this blog.
WordPress Plugins & Website Tools
WordPress can be heavily customized with a special feature called plugins. Here are some of the plugins I recommend:
Akismet (free) – an anti-spam plugin that helps block spam comments.
Yoast SEO (free) – This plugin helps you optimize your content for search engines. I also love that it evaluates each post you write against the Flesch–Kincaid readability test.
Securi Security (free) – A plugin to strengthen your WordPress site’s security.
W3 Total Cache (free) – A plugin that will help you improve your site’s speed so it loads faster for visitors.
MailerLite (free) – Not a plugin. 🙂 This is the email marketing service I use to send my weekly email newsletter (subscribe here!). They’ve created a WordPress plugin so you can embed their email sign-up forms on your site.
I’ll continue to add more plugins & tools here!
Royalty Free Photos
Here are several free photo libraries you can use to find stock photos for your blog posts and other writing needs:
Pixabay – All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons.
StockSnap.io – Another big library of high quality, free photos.
Unsplash – A slightly smaller website but an excellent free collection of stunning, high-resolution photos.
eBook & Graphic Design Tools
Canva (free) – Canva is a user-friendly graphic design software with a wide range of drag and drop templates. Excellent for designing an eBook or a social media graphic.
Writing and Editing Tools
Scrivener – A word-processing program for authors that is a must for organizing, structuring, composing, and formatting long documents. (I particularly recommend it if you are working on self-publishing a novel or eBook.)
Pro Writing Aid – An editing tool for professional authors who want to improve their manuscript before sending it to their editors.
Draftin (free) – An easy to use and distraction-free web-based writing interface.
Day One – A simple and elegant journaling app for Macbook and iPhone. It has helped me implement a daily journaling habit.
Evernote (free) – My go-to app for creating quick to-do lists, jotting down notes, and writing up blog post ideas.
Grammarly (free) – A proofreading tool that helps you spot grammatical errors, typos, and awkward sentences.
Hemingway Editor (free) – A web application that evaluates a piece of writing for clarity and simplicity.
Readability Score (free) – A web application that helps you improve your writing by measuring the readability of your text.
Cliche Finder (free) – The Cliche Finder highlights cliches in your text so you can avoid trite, overused expressions in your writing.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer (free) – The CoSchedule headline analyzer app evaluates how well your blog post’s headline will rank in search engines. It also scores how effectively your headline will result in social shares and click-throughs.
Writing Productivity Tools
Todoist (free) – A task management web application that lets you create to-do lists with recurring dates and times. Use it to remind yourself of your daily writing goals.
Trello (free) – A fantastic web application for organizing and planning writing projects and working collaboratively.
Marinara Timer (free) – A web-based productivity timer modeled after the Pomodoro technique.
You can find more free web apps for writers in my post here.
Books & Essays on Writing Well
The Elements of Style – This classic writing guide by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White includes sections on grammar, commonly misused words and phrases, principles of composition when writing an essay, as well as stylistic techniques.
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – This book will teach you how to market your work more effectively and write compelling copy for your website that connects with visitors. A must-read if you’re a copywriter.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – The title says it all. This is an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to sharpen their nonfiction writing and editing skills.
Storycraft – A must-read for any writer. Using examples from books and newspaper articles, journalist Jack Hart deconstructs how to tell a captivating story. He covers everything from how to develop characters to choosing point of view to bringing scenes to life.
The Memoir Project – An inspiring little guide by Marion Roach-Smith, a former staff writer at The New York Times, all about how to write what you know. This is a must-read for anyone interested in writing a memoir or a personal essay.
Story – One of my favorites! Robert McKee’s screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation, and in this book, he lays out everything that you need to know to write powerful stories. An in-depth and fascinating read.
The Story Grid – Shawn Coyne, an editor with 25+ years experience, shows you how to use the Story Grid layout to write a successful novel (or nonfiction book) by telling a compelling story. If you don’t want to purchase the book, you can find all of the information from the book along with free resources at the website Storygrid.com. Make sure to check out the podcast. It’s one of my favorites!
Creating Short Fiction – Damon Knight shares clear, no-nonsense fiction writing advice on everything from structure to pacing to how to get ideas. There are also lots of excellent exercises to put that advice into practice.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – If you’re writing any kind of fiction, you need this book. Helpful for nonfiction as well.
Politics and the English Language – George Orwell’s classic essay on how to write well. Orwell’s essay on why he writes is also worth a read as a nice dose of inspiration: read it here.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Lecture – A profound essay on the role of the writer in society and how we can change the world.
Mystery and Manners – A collection of insightful essays by Flannery O’Connor about the craft of writing and the unique mission of Christian writers.
A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of his early years as a writer in the Paris of the 1920s. This book is a fascinating peek into the writing process of a famous author.
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