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 large 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 my favorite hosting service because of their easy WordPress installs and 24/7 tech support (both by phone & online chat). All of my websites are currently hosted at HostGator, and I’ve found their support to be excellent. They helped me when I was first learning how to set up WordPress and navigate the interface. They’ve also helped me rescue my site when I tweaked code that I shouldn’t have. I highly recommend them. Get 25% off by using the following code: alwayswriting
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 – I’ve used Elegant Themes for many of my websites and also love several of the plugins they have developed (I am using their Bloom email plugin and Monarch Social Media plugin on this website). Another thing that I love about Elegant Themes (besides their beautiful templates) is their support forums where you can ask about making customizations to themes. If your customization is possible, they’ll respond with the code that you can use and where to copy and paste it in the backend of your website.
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.
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.)
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
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.
The Art of Styling Sentences – Each chapter is a straightforward lesson that teaches you how to write clear, coherent, beautifully structured sentences.
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 Story Grid – Another must-read. 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I will be adding more recommended books soon. I also send out resources to email subscribers so make sure to sign up for the list by entering your info in the box below.