Just about every writer out there has several go-to websites that they use when it comes to their writing. Be it for creativity, writer’s block, to put you in the mood or general writing help. These are mine and I listed them in hopes that you’ll find something that you’ll like or find something useful. I’ve also included some websites that sounded interesting, but I haven’t tried out yet.
Spelling & Grammar
- Grammar Girl – Grammar Girl’s famous Quick and Dirty Tips (delivered via blog or podcast) will help you keep your creative writing error free.
- The Owl – is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), an
academic source from Purdue University (which is in West Lafayette, Indiana,
U.S.). It’s contains plenty of grammar guides, style tips and other information that can help with your writing, it’s especially great for academics.
- Tip of My Tongue — have you ever had trouble of thinking of a specific word that you can’t remember what it is? Well, this site will help you narrow down your thoughts and find that word you’ve been looking for. It can be extremely frustrating when you have to stop writing because you get a stuck on a word, so this should help cut that down.
- Free Rice – is a great way to test your vocabulary knowledge. What’s even better about this site is that with every correct answer, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. So, please disable your adblock since they use the ads on the site to generate the money to buy the rice.
- HyperGrammar – is from the University of Ottawa (a bilingual public research university in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) that offers up a one-stop guide for proper spelling, structure, and punctuation. Being that this comes from a Canadian university, that means that they use standard
Oxford English Dictionary spelling. Basically that means you’ll get British English, which differs slightly from formal American English.
- AutoCrit – the AutoCrit Editing Wizard analyzes your manuscript to identify areas for improvement, including pacing and momentum, dialogue, strong writing, word choice and repetition.
It also provides a number of other writing resources as well. It’s not free, but they do offer 200 characters for analysis at no charge. It’s $29.97 per month or $359.64 for an annual membership.
- ProWritingAid – is another automatic editing tool that analyzes your writing and produces reports on areas such as overused words, writing style, sentence length, grammar and repeated words and phrases. They offer a free sample, but you have to make an account to try it out. It’s $3.33 per month ($40 annually, or less if you purchase a longer license).
- Writer’s Digest – learn how to improve your writing, find an agent, and even get published with the help of the varied blogs on this site.
- Paper Rater – uses Artificial Intelligence to improve your writing. It includes grammar, plagiarism, and spelling check, along with word choice analysis. The basic version is completely free, but they do offer
premium subscription for people seeking more advanced features. If you’re interested it’s $14.95 per month or $95.40 per year if you decide to get it.
- Syntaxis – it allows you to test your knowledge of grammar with a ten-question quiz. The questions change every time you take the quiz so users are sure to be challenged each time around. It definitely helps writers know if there’s something that they need to brush up on.
- Word Frequency Counter – this counter allows you to count the frequency usage of each word in your text.
- EditMinion – is a free robotic copy editor that helps you to refine your writing by finding common mistakes.
- Proofreading for Common Errors – this is a simple tutorial on proofreading your writing by Indiana University.
- BBC – has a section for helping you with your skills, especially in writing, from grammar to spelling, to reading, to listening and to speaking.
- Copyscape – is a free service that you can use to learn if anyone has plagiarized your work. It’s pretty useful for those that want to check for fanfiction plagiarism.
- Plagium – is another a copy detection system, that provides a very similar service to Copyscape and uses Yahoo! rather than Google to perform its searches. Just keep in mind that searches for simple text up to 25,000 characters remains free of charge, but any larger requires credits to be purchase.
- Write or Die – is an web application for Windows, Mac and Linux which aims to eliminate writer’s block by providing consequences for procrastination. It lets you try it for free, but the desktop version is
- Written? Kitten! – is similar to Write or Die, but it’s a kinder version and it’s completely free. They use positive reinforcement, so every time you reach a goal they reward you with an adorable picture of a kitten.
- Fast Fingers – offers you an easy way to improve your typing skills. It’s puts you through a quick typing game that tests your typing speed and improves it at the same time. It’s also a great way for writers to warm up.
Information & Data
- RefDesk – it has an enormous collection of reference materials, searchable databases and other great resources that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s great to use when you need to find something and/or check your facts.
- Bib Me – it makes it easy to create citations, build bibliographies and acknowledge other people’s work. This is definitely something that academics will love. It’s basically a bibliography generator that automatically fills in a works cited page in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turbian formats.
- Internet Public Library – is a non-profit, largely student-run website managed by a consortium, headed by Drexel University. Currently this online library is inactive, but it’s still full of resources that are free for anyone to use, from newspaper and magazine articles to special collections. Just keep in mind that it’s not up to date, since they stopped maintaining it on June 30, 2015.
- The Library of Congress – if you’re looking for primary documents and information, the Library of Congress is a great place to start. It has millions of items in its archives, many of which are accessible right from the website.
- Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names – is the most accurate list of popular names from 1879 to the present. If your character is from America and you need a name for them, this gives you a accurate list of names, just pick the state or decade that your character is from.
- WebMD – is a handy medical database loaded with information. It’s not a substitute for a doctor, but can give you a lot of good information on diseases, symptoms, treatments, etc.
MedlinePlus– is the National Institutes of Health’s web site that contains information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. It also offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free. You can use the site to learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. You can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition.
- Mayo Clinic – is a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group.
- World Health Organization (WHO) – is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
Its current priorities include communicable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, Ebola, malaria and tuberculosis; the mitigation of the effects of non-communicable diseases; sexual and reproductive health, development, and ageing; nutrition, food security and healthy eating; occupational health; substance abuse; and driving the development of reporting, publications, and networking.
- Google Scholar – is an online, freely accessible search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. It searches a wide variety of sources, including academic publishers, universities, and preprint depositories and so on. While Google Scholar does search for print and online scholarly information, it is important to understand that the resource is not a database.
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac – this classic almanac offers yearly information on astronomical events, weather conditions and forecasts, recipes, and gardening tips.
- State Health Facts – Kaiser Family Foundation provides this database, full of health facts on a state-by-state basis that address everything from medicare to women’s health.
- U.S. Census Bureau – you can learn more about the trends and demographics of America with information drawn from the Census Bureau’s online site.
- Wikipedia – this shouldn’t be used as your sole source, but it can be a great way to get basic information and find out where to look for additional references.
- Finding Data on the Internet – a great website that list links that can tell you where you can find the inflation rate, crime statistics, and other data.
- RhymeZone – whether you’re writing poetry, songs, or something else entirely, you can get help rhyming words with this site.
- Acronym Finder – with more than 565,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initials.
- Symbols.com – is a unique online encyclopedia that contains everything about symbols, signs, flags and glyphs arranged by categories such as culture, country, religion, and more.
- OneLook Reverse Dictionary – is a dictionary that lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word.
- The Alternative Dictionaries – is a PDF, that contains a list of slang words in all types of languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Norwegian and many, many others. There use to be a website, but it’s not there anymore and this is the next best thing I could find.
- Online Etymology Dictionary – it gives you the history and derivation of any word. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.
- MediLexicon – is a comprehensive dictionary of medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and health care abbreviations and acronyms.
- Merriam Webster Online – the online version of the classic dictionary also provides a thesaurus and a medical dictionary.
- Multilingual Dictionary – it translate whatever you need from 30 different languages with this easy-to-use site.
- Open Office – why pay for Microsoft products when you can create free documents with Open Office? This open source software provides similar tools to the Microsoft Office Suite, including spreadsheets, a word processor, the ability to create multimedia presentations, and more.
- LibreOffice – is a free and open source office suite. It was forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010, which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. The LibreOffice suite comprises programs to do word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, maintain databases, and compose math formula.
- Scrivener – is not a free program, but it’s certainly a very popular one. It’s great for organizing research, planning drafts, and writing novels, articles, short stories, and even screenplays.
- OmmWriter – is for Mac OS X, a free simple text processor that gives you a distraction free environment. So you can focus only on your writing without being tempted or distracted by other programs on your computer. They are currently working on a Windows version of their software as well, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.
- FocusWriter –
is a completely free full-screen
designed to immerse you in your writing. It keeps your writing space simple and clean without sacrificing functionality. It includes a daily goal tracker, work count and time spent writing. There’s also spell checking, real-time feedback on variables like word and page count, and tabbed document browsing. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Q10 – is a free portable distraction-free writing tool for Windows. The interface includes nothing but a tiny bar at the bottom that displays the character, word, and page count—you can toggle the bar off for a totally distraction free workspace.
- Evernote – is a free app for your smartphone and computer that stores everything you could possibly imagine losing track of, like a boarding pass, receipt, article you want to read, to do list, or even a simple typed note. The app works brilliantly, keeping everything in sync between your computer, smartphone, or tablet. It’s definitely a useful app for writers when you have ideas on the go.
- ScriptBuddy – is a full-fledged screenplay software program. It handles the proper screenplay format automatically, so you can concentrate on your story. It is easy to use and the basic version is free.
- TheSage – is a free application, which is a comprehensive English dictionary and thesaurus that provides a number of useful and in some cases unusual search tools.
- Sigil – is ideal for e-book authors because it’s a free EPUB editor with a stack of essential features.
- WriterDuet – is a collaborative screenwriting app for working with writing partners in real-time. It also lets you copy text written in Fountain, or other screenwriting programs (Final Draft, Celtx, etc.) and paste it directly into WriterDuet with the correct formatting most of the time. They offer the basic version for free, WriterDuet Pro ($9.00 monthly, $79 yearly and $199 lifetime) and WriterDuet Premium ($299 yearly). WriterDuet works on Mac, Windows, Linux, Chromebooks, iOS, and Android. It gives identical page counts on all devices, and PDFs.
- ZenWriter – is a program that gives you an open, peaceful place for composing your thoughts without any distractions. It’s a fullscreen text editor that offers
customizable backgrounds, music, and a nifty word count at the bottom of the window. It’s not free, but it does offer a free trial for 15 days. It is available for Windows, and after the 15-day trial period you can choose to purchase it for
$17.50 if you want.
- WriteMonkey – is a Windows writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. It’s also an portable app, so you can stick it on a USB drive and use in on whatever computer you happen to find yourself at.
- YWriter5 – is a free word processor and is designed for Windows XP, Vista and beyond. It’s a small but very comprehensive tool which helps you to plan your story. It breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you to keep track of your work while leaving your mind free to create. You can set up deadlines, for instance, and the program’s Work Schedule report will let you know how much you’ll have to do, each day, to finish on time. You can even enter your characters, locations and items and freely organize them into scenes. This definitely sounds like it’ll be useful for NaNoWriMo writers.
- Kingsoft Office (WPS Office) – is an office suite for Microsoft Windows, Linux, iOS and Android OS. The basic version is free to use, but a fully featured professional-grade version is also available. This software allows users to view, create and share office documents that are fully compatible with dozens of document formats, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel. In other words, the format is similar to a Microsoft Word document (.DOC or .DOCX file) and supports formatted text, images, and advanced page formatting. Kingsoft Writer documents can be converted to Microsoft Word *.doc files in the software.
Creativity, Fun & Miscellaneous
- National Novel Writing Month – is one of the most well-known writing challenges in the writing community. National Novel Writing Month pushes you to write 50,000 words in 30 days (for the whole month of November).
- WritingFix – a fun site that creates writing prompts on the spot. The site currently has several options—prompts for right-brained people, for left-brained people, for kids—and is working to add prompts on classic literature, music and more.
- Creative Writing Prompts – the site is exactly what it says. They have 100+ and more, of prompts that you can choose from.
- My Fonts – is the world’s largest collection of fonts. You can even upload an image containing a font that you like, and this tells you what it is. Just keep in mind that not all of the fonts are free.
- DaFont – has lot of fonts as well, most of them are completely free to download. However, some are demo versions or are only free if you used it for personal use and not commercial use.
- Story Starters – this website offers over one trillion randomly generated story starters for creative writers.
- The Gutenberg Project – this site is perfect for those who like to read and/or have an e-reader. There’s over 33,000 ebooks you can download for free.
- The Imagination Prompt Generator – click through the prompts to generate different ideas in response to questions like “Is there a God?” and “If your tears could speak to you, what would they say?”
- The Phrase Finder – this handy site helps you hunt down famous phrases, along with their origins. It also offers a phrase thesaurus that can help you create headlines, lyrics, and much more.
- Storybird – this site allows you to write a picture book. They provided the gorgeous artwork and you create the story for it, or just read the stories that others have created.
- Language Is a Virus – the automatic prompt generator on this site can provide writers with an endless number of creative writing prompts. Other resources include writing exercises and information on dozens of different authors.
- SimplyNoise – a free white noise sounds that you can use to drown out everything around you and help you focus on your writing.
- Rainy Mood – from the same founders of Simply Noise, this website offers the pleasant sound of rain and thunderstorms. There’s a slide volume control, which you can increase the intensity of the noise (gentle shower to heavy storm), thunder mode (often, few, rare), oscillation button, and a sleep timer.
- Coffitivity – a site that provides three background noises: Morning Murmur (a gentle hum), Lunchtime Lounge (bustling chatter), and University Undertones (campus cafe). A pause button is provided whenever you need a bladder break, and a sliding volume control to give you the freedom to find the perfect level for your needs and moods. It’s also available as an android app, iOS app, and for Mac desktop. If you go
Premium it’s $9 and you’ll get 1 year of unlimited listening to their audio tracks and access to three more sounds: Paris Paradise, Brazil Bistro and Texas Teahouse.
- Rainy Cafe – it provides background chatter in coffee shops (similar to Coffitivity) AND the sound of rain (similar to Simply Rain). There’s also individual volume and on/off control for each sound category.
- Forest Mood – is background noise of the forest.
- MyNoise – is a website with multi-purpose noise generator that is completely free.
It helps you to focus while working in a noisy environment or to help settle your anxiety and it’s also useful in cases of insomnia or tinnitus. It has so many sounds to choose from: Fish Tank, Clockwork, Gregorian Chants, Traffic Noise, and so on.
- MyNoise: Online Fire Noise Generator – is also from NyNoise, but it’s a short-cut link for those that only want to hear the sound of fire crackling in a fireplace.
- Snowy Mood – is a noise generator that plays sounds of boots walking through snow on an endless loop. It’s simple and straightforward, and perfect for those days when you feel like being snowed in.
- Noisli – is a
background noise generator that helps you to drown out annoying noises in order to create your perfect environment for working and relaxing. You can mix different sounds together, such as rain and a train or fire and the night sound of crickets or with the waves at a beach.
- Purrli –
is a white noise generator that recreates the sound and the presence of a cat purring next to you.
- Ambient Mixer – is a free online audio mixing tool in which you can create and edit your own ambient music or background sounds. You can even listen to other people’s mixes such as Gryffindor Common Room, Riding with the Winchesters, Mr. Tumnus’ House, A Day in Camp Half-Blood, and so on.
- 8tracks – is an internet radio website and everyone can listen for
free, well it use to be completely free. Unlike other music oriented social network such as Pandora or Spotify, 8tracks doesn’t have commercial interruption (that’s if you get 8tracks Plus). Users can create free accounts and can either browse the site and listen to other user-created mixes for as long as they like, and/or they can create their own mixes. It’s a perfect place to listen to other writer’s playlist, share yours or find music for specific characters or moods. Note: Joining is still free, however you’re now limited to 1 hour of free listening for each week (or more depending on how much people like your mixes, but I’ve been told the limitation is for those in the US only). If you want unlimited access it’s $30 per year or $5.00 a month.
- Playmoss – with 8tracks no longer having free unlimited listening and no commercial interruptions many people looked for an alternative and Playmoss is what 8tracks use to be. Playmoss is free to join and it has all the same basic features that 8tracks has, only with extra goodies like unlimited skips, able to see the entire tracklist before playing, start at any point in the playlist, see how many playlists contain a certain song and even collaborate playlists with other people.
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