Useful Things on the Internet for Writers

By Vanessa Jones


Scrivener is handy software for writers that is like a word processor, virtual pin up board and filing system all in one. Once you’ve completed your writing project, it will even compile your project into a file suitable for epublishing. It backs up automatically everytime you close the project, which is terrifically handy for someone so “unhandy” at backing up like myself. It’s helpful because I can see how many chapters/sections I’m working on in the display sidebar in each project.

Cost: $US45


This is an online project management tool. I was finding that I was accumulating a plethora of incomplete writing projects on my laptop (no surprises there) and I couldn’t remember the status of each project and where I’d saved it on my computer. Trello lets me coordinate the documents in sections, for example – short stories, then I can further subcategorise it by incomplete, needs editing, first draft etc. It’s also great for collaborative projects and works across smart phones, tablets and desktop computers.

Cost: starts at $US5 per month.


This is probably the sweetest invention to mankind. Have you ever noticed how much writing you get done when there’s no internet? This program is a temporary net blocker – simply type in the amount of time you want to have “freedom” from the internet for (forty five minutes is the default) and it won’t let you access the internet until the time is up. But don’t stress you can access the internet by restarting your computer if there’s a cyber emergency.

Cost: this was the best ten bucks I’ve ever spent.

Write or Die

This is a terrifying slash amazing program. As the name suggests, you have to keep writing otherwise consequences will be forced upon you. If you cease writing, alarming mechanisms may happen, for example digital spiders infest your screen, or sirens whir and colours flash. Such fun. If you ignore these first few gauntlet tests and choose kamikaze mode it will unashamedly delete everything you’ve just written, never to be retrieved. The pressure to write something or lose it forever is magnificent. And also quite damaging. The latest version has incorporated some experimental positive reinforcement options as well.

Cost: $US20 (free trial available)


SourceBottle is an online “call out” service where journalists, media professionals, bloggers and publicists post a short ad requesting sources to help with their stories. Whilst it is generally targeted more at the general public, if you keep your eye on it enough there just may be some very valuable PR or writing opportunities that are worth following up.

Cost: free to signup

Automatic Random Generators

Can’t come up with a character name? Here:

Need your next creative idea? Here:

Stuck on a book title? No stress:

Cost: free (how great is the internet?)


I’ve used seven adverbs ending in “ly” during this post. I certainly didn’t bother to tally that up because I used an automatic critiquing program. Autocrit is a nifty analysing wizard that will tell you how many clichés, redundancies, overused words you have incorporated into your text, plus many more handy editing nuances.

$US47 (minimum)

free trial


Share your tips below.


Vanessa Jones is the Marketing Manager for SA Writers Centre. This post was not sponsored and only represents her unbiased opinion as an avid internet user. Information is correct to the best of her knowledge at time of posting.

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