The Top 5 Essential Apps for Freelance Writers in 2021

October 8, 2021

As a freelance writer, you know there’s a lot more to your work than writing. We’ve put together a list of the 5 most essential apps that will help you run your freelance writing business, from brainstorming your content to filing your quarterly taxes.

Being a successful freelance writer means wearing many hats. Beyond the actual writing part of your profession, you also have to keep track of your expenses and income, coordinate with editors and marketing managers, and keep your portfolio up to date. You might find that you spend just as much time on administrative things as you do putting words on the screen.

Freelancer’s have a secret weapon, though: they’re a tech-savvy bunch. Over the years, dozens of apps have hit the market that can help you streamline your freelance workflow. The right mix of apps can cut down on your busy time so you can spend more of that mental energy honing your craft.

We know there are countless apps out there marketed toward freelance writers, so we polled our readers to find out which were the best of the best. From brainstorming to invoicing, these are the essential apps to have in your freelance writing toolbox.

And if you lean strongly toward one of these apps, be sure to vote for your favorite at the end!

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Technically a collection of web-based apps, Google Workspace (formerly GSuite) is a set of essential tools for any freelance writer. Whether it’s writing (Docs), creating invoices (Sheets), communicating with clients and editors (Gmail), organizing your workflow (Calendar), sharing your portfolio (Drive), or doing deep research (Scholar), Google has a free, high-quality solution for you. Most of Google’s various apps have mobile counterparts that offer varying degrees of useability. Overall, if there’s one thing on this list you absolutely must have, it’s the Google toolbox.

Pros:

  • Free-to-use software
  • Industry-wide recognition and trust
  • Supports countless useful plugins
  • Responsive and helpful 24/7 support

Cons:

  • Some of Google’s apps don’t stack up to their competitors. Prime example: Google Meet vs. Microsoft Zoom
  • Certain apps (Docs, Sheets) can be difficult to use for anything beyond reading files on mobile

Price: Free

App Store rating: Various

While being a freelance writer means you get to work independently, being part of remote teams is also a big part of the job. Being a part of a team means communication, and it doesn’t take long to realize that sending emails back and forth 15 times per day just isn’t sustainable. With Slack, you can join workspaces for each client or agency you work with, create separate channels for specific projects, and best of all, quickly communicate with your team.

Pros:

  • Wonderful user interface
  • Easily integrates with other apps like Zoom and Google Calendar
  • Customizable notification system

Cons:

  • Audio and video call features have quality issues
  • App can have performance issues after heavy use
  • Poor search functionality

Price: Free

App Store rating: 3.9

If Slack is the answer to staying in touch with your team, Asana is the key to keeping your team organized and accountable. It’s a project management platform that’s all about breaking down large projects into small, manageable chunks. Each project can have an extensive number of subtasks, each with an assigned person and due date. Projects have space for direct messaging and file sharing. Zoom out to the calendar view and you can see all upcoming tasks on the horizon.

Pros:

  • Incredible tool for organizing projects and tasks for small to medium-sized teams
  • Creating and updating tasks is simple to learn
  • Easy one-click checking off of tasks

Cons:

  • Upgrading from the free version may be too expensive for some teams (though as a freelancer you likely won’t have to worry about this)
  • Platform can go overboard with email notifications
  • Lacks a time-tracking function

Price: Free (Basic), $10.99/month (Premium), $24.99/month (Business)

App Store rating: 4.7

As every writer knows, you do some of your best writing when you’re not sitting in front of your computer. Sometimes you get that jolt of inspiration when you’re out walking the dog or scrolling on your phone. Evernote is a notes organizer app that makes it easy to capture ideas, inspiration and snippets wherever you are, save them, and sync them to any device. You can jot down notes and to-do lists, clip articles from the web, or scan documents with your phone’s camera. In addition to being able to capture anything and everything, Evernote also functions as an organizational tool with to-do lists, calendars, reminders and digital notebooks.

Pros:

  • Fast and accurate search function
  • Syncing and accessing notes across all devices is a game-changer
  • Ability to create sketches and handwritten notes
  • Useful collaboration options

Cons:

  • Premium plans are expensive
  • Doesn’t integrate well with other apps
  • Sharing information with non-Evernote users is difficult

Price: Free, $7.99/month (Personal), $9.99/month (Professional)

App Store rating: 4.4

Let’s face it: as a freelance writer, getting paid isn’t as simple as collecting a paycheck every two weeks. You have to invoice your clients, track your income and pay quarterly estimated taxes. QuickBooks Self-Employed is there to make the financial side of freelancing a breeze. You can create and send invoices via the app and track all your business expenses. The app calculates all your income and expense entries to make tax filing a quick and easy process.

Pros:

  • Easy to create, send and track client invoices
  • Provides in-depth tax details
  • Can automatically organize your expenses into separate categories
  • User friendly interface helps take the stress out of income and expense tracking

Cons:

  • Invoice creation could use more customization options
  • Connecting app to your bank accounts can be troublesome
  • Users report some minor mobile app bugs

Price: $7.50/month

App Store rating: 4.7

Our readers have picked Google Workspace as their number one app for freelance writers, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t open to second opinions. Which app is your personal favorite?

  1. What’s your favorite app?

    • Google Workspace
    • Slack
    • Asana
    • Evernote
    • Quickbooks Self-Employed
    • Other
    • Vote

Written on October 8, 2021

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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