Home » Uncategorized » 5 Necessary Online Tools For The Frugal Writer

5 Necessary Online Tools For The Frugal Writer

Photo by Kamil Dratwa

No one likes to be called cheap.

Except if you are starting out as a writer, then you are starting out with a shoestring budget.  How will you manage if you got to feed your family, car repairs, rent/mortgages, church tithes, love offerings and the like?

You could apply for a grant to help fund your dreams and there are plenty of resources available to do this.

As a frugal scribe, I would like to show you how to save money as a fledgling or seasoned writer.

Here are 5 tools frugal writers cannot live without (no particular order because frugal is what frugal does):

(Note: I will feature one affiliate link below.  I don’t get any payment from it.  The link is in the Dropbox commentary below.  Just to give you a head’s up.)

1) Dropbox:

Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Are you looking for a way to store your precious documents and WIPs?  Do you even have a backup plan?  What would you do if all of your WIPs were gone?  How would you recover them?

Dropbox comes to the rescue.

Dropbox is a free service that will store your files up to 2GB of information.  You can store vairous WIPs and in different locations to make sure maximum protection.  For example, I have some of my WIPs on Dropbox and some on a flash drive.  So I make sure that I will never be without a place to reach them.

Dropbox’s size limit can be expanded by having others join under your account and you can also gain more size by following easy tasks they set out.

If you are interested in signing up (hint, hint), please go HERE to see if this is something you may be interested in.

2) Linux:

Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing

Image via Wikipedia

Now there was a time I would have resisted change.  Me leaving Windows?  Ha!  Stifle thy heathen tongue!  I was somewhat satisfied with Windows and did not think there was anyway out of this box.

Until I read this post by Murray Lynn and the rest they say is history.

As a frugal writer though, I began to see the fallacy of paying for Windows upgrades along with a slew of issues (e.g. trojan horses, viruses, firewalls, blue screen of death, etc, etc, etc).

With a lump in my throat, I switched to Linux and haven’t looked back at all.  Yes, there was a few bumps in the road and learning curves yet the results have been money-saving success.

If you want more about Linux, check out the excellent article from Lifehacker: Getting Started with Linux: Pick the Right Linux Flavor for You

My Recommendations:

1. Linux Mint 11 for beginners

2. Fedora 15 for immediate /advanced

3) Zoho:

Image representing Zoho Office Suite as depict...

Image via CrunchBase

I do not have any love loss for Google at all.  The company has shown questionable ethics and this made me look for an alternative to all of their privacy shenanigans.  During my quest to exorcise the Google demons from my computer life, I found an alternative to Google apps in the form of Zoho.

From the company’s website:

Zoho.com offers a comprehensive suite of award-winning on-line business, productivity & collaboration applications. Customers use Zoho Applications to run their business processes, manage their information and be more productive while at the office or on the go, without having to worry about expensive or outdated hardware or software.

Zoho’s robust suite offers everything the frugal writer needs for success from a Writer to Spreadsheet.  Zoho is a refreshing breath of air from the polluted landscape of Google.

You can find out more about Zoho HERE.

4) Evernote:

Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

While I haven’t used this a lot, I think I will give this a closer look in June.  Evernote allows you to capture any ideas and store them.  As writers, we all know the importance of stealing like an artist and Evernote helps you to in your idea safari hunt.

Watch Evernote in action HERE.

5)Open Source Programs:

Open Source Logo

Image by phradaka via Flickr

Finally, the greatest money saver.  Open Source programs.  What is Open Source?

Glad you asked.

Since I am visual, we will look at what Open Source is through a video featuring the history of Linux (shameless plug).  Roll it!

*Wipes tears of joy from my eyes*

Okay, fine.  I’ll show an unbiased video.  Eeesh.  I leave for one weekend and now you are being bossy.  Picky, picky, picky.

That’s a wrap.  Did I leave anything out?  What frugal tools do you use as a writer?  Share your comments below.

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12 thoughts on “5 Necessary Online Tools For The Frugal Writer

  1. I’ve used DropBox before… That’s just about it, lol.

    And yWriter. That’s free and helps to keep track of the order of scenes in your story as well as scene decriptions, characters, locations and some other things, if you have the time/patience. Pretty nice.

    I’ll have to chek out some of those other ones you mentioned ’cause I’ve never heard of them before, heh.

  2. I love DropBox – it’s a lifesaver for having backups and also not having to cart your files around a flash drive everywhere. Having said that I recently moved to a similar service called SugarSync – purely because DropBox was annoying me because it insisted on launching itself twice at startup and SugarSync offered a better option for running on my Android.

    Surely you’ve missed an obvious choice up there though… Wikipedia? It has helped me so many times for when I’ve quickly wanted to do a bit of research or check my facts. It’s also a great source of inspiration – reality often being more bizarre than fiction!

    • Hey David,

      I haven’t seen you in this neck of the woods in awhile! Great to see you here.

      Hmmm…I haven’t heard of SugarSync…is it free?

      Wikipedia…hmmm…the verdict is still out on the reliability of the information. Do you think the information is trustworthy?

      • Yeah SugarSync’s free as well (or you can pay for more storage space) – it’s basically the same thing as DropBox, different company.

        I’ve never really had any issue with content of the Wikipedia, you can usually tell from the way something reads if someone’s got an agenda (usually promoting their product).

  3. So far I’ve been working primarily with MS word, and Excel documents, so I just use Google Docs for a quick backup system. I was surprised to find that they do have file versioning built in, so I can restore an old version of my files if I need to.

    I applaud your switch to linux 🙂 I’m a bit worried that if I do, some of my favorite software won’t work, so I haven’t switched.

    • *places the sign of the cross at the name of Microsoft and hisses*

      LOL…I can understand your concern about fav software not working, T. I did a listing of all of my fave windows programs and looked for linux ports. I was pleasantly surprised that there were. If there wasn’t any, there were open source that were either up to par or better than what I used. Change is scary yet everything we want is always on the other side of fear.

  4. I’m going to have to check out Dropbox for sure… I really ought to be backing up my docs.

    I tried Zoho a few years ago… and was soundly disappointed in it. It couldn’t do a lot of what I’d grown used to doing using Word and Excel… I’m sure they’ve come a long way since then… but so has Office. The thing is, I want to be able to use a free, open-source alternative so I’m not tied to an over-priced and generally unscrupulous overlord software provider… but I just can’t bring myself to use some of the, IMO, inferior free products out there… I guess that makes me a bit of a hypocrite.

    I’m also not sure what to do about Google… I find I like using some of their products, but I’ve grown increasingly alarmed at some of the tactics they’ve recently employed… and it’s worrisome, to say the least.

    I’ll second David’s point about Wikipedia: yes, it’s sometimes unreliable. But it’s usually easy to tell. Plus, you cna see the history of an article, so with a little digging you can spot when stuff that looks unreliable was added, and by whom. And the more well-sourced an article, the more reliable you can bet it is (and the more sources you’ll have to go look up and learn a lot more on a subject).

    • Hey Stephen, you’re back!

      Thanks for stopping by. I would suggest giving Zoho another go-around and if something there is not up to par, let them know so they can improve. This way you are not supporting The Man and helping smaller companies produce excellent products. 🙂

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