The 3 Essential Apps I Use Everyday While Freelance Writing

Melinda J. Irvine -- my favourite apps for the business of writing ver2

I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now waiting for my adopted son to finish after-school tutorial. Every afternoon I lug my laptop and associated stuff about looking for a quiet place to write and keep working. Today it’s CoffeeBreak Atrium.

So I was in the middle of writing an article for a client — and just used my Oxford Deluxe Dictionary and Thesaurus App to find a better word for ‘overdrive‘ which was sounding a bit clichéd in my sentence. And after happily updating my blog’s first paragraph, I was feeling all full of technology love and wanted to shout out a few praises for the 3 x Apps that make my writing life not only easier, but possible. Here goes.

PS: this is NOT an affiliate blog, I just love these apps.

Oxford Deluxe Dictionary and Thesaurus

oxford deluxe dictionary App

This is one of the first Apps I bought when I got my first iPhone back in 2011. I’ve used it practically everyday since. Apart from being the FULL UNABRIDGED text of the current Oxford Dictionary of English and Thesaurus, here’s what I love about it:-

  • 70,000+ sound files — so you can listen to the correct pronunciations of a word (even if you’re offline). Try sitting on the train and have that fancy posh voice articulate your favourite swear words on full volume.
  • interlinking dictionary and thesaurus — so you can check the meaning of words, plus  synonyms from the same search. Toggle between the dictionary and thesaurus, copy words and paste into your blog post, or share your favourite new word on social media. Tweet tweet.
  • search history and bookmarks — I never really use the bookmarking feature because it has an automatic history (in case you forget your word). Some of my favourite words in my 7 months of search history: servomechanism, broccoli, gnostic, rapacious, disentanglement, lepidopterists, trill.
  • suggestive search — displays all possible combinations as you type in the search bar, so it’s great if you don’t know the correct spelling. Test it out by typing in the word fucoid.


At the end of last year I started using Scrivener for all my writing and I haven’t looked back. Scrivener is just excellent for client work because you can keep individual client projects together and have the brief/research/writing/edits/billing all displayed together as icons on screen. There is absolutely no more awkwardly searching for that blog you wrote them last month. Here’s a few cool things about Scrivener:-

  1. Create individual client files  and then keep an up-to-date client history all in one place.
  2. Import all your research as PDF files, videos, links or even zotero references. Search within files, copy text, or watch research videos all within the Scrivener App.
  3. Colour code project deliverables and keep running reports of client billing and SEO.
  4. Write all your client content within the Scrivener App and then either copy to WordPress/HTML editor or export as a Word/PDF document.

I love Scrivener so much I’m going to write some detailed blogs about how I use it for client work, to give you some ideas about how to get the most out of it. So consider this an introduction only.

Quickbooks Self Employed

quickbooks self employed

Quickbooks Self Employed is the bomb. First it’s only $4.99 per month and second it automatically hooks into all your money accounts. I completely love it and here’s why:-

  • Did I mention it’s only $4.99 per month. Compare this to MYOB and Xero which are really out of the price range for micro-businesses.
  • It automatically hooks into all your bank accounts (even PAYPAL) and brings in every transaction for you to either swipe left (personal) or swipe right and allocate as business income or expenditure. You absolutely cannot miss a payment and you can even scan/photograph your receipts and save with their transactions. It’s like you have an up-to-date bank reconciliation all the time.
  • Invoicing on the fly. When you are working on multiple projects across multiple clients I update my invoices as soon as I finish something. Once you create or save an invoice you can email direct to your client. Super cool

4 responses to “The 3 Essential Apps I Use Everyday While Freelance Writing”

  1. laurainlee Avatar

    i like the details of your blog although it doesn’t matches to me but i will in a mode to try the last app which you discussed regarding account transaction details on the fly… very understanding !

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar

      having an accounting program or app is important as you grow your writing ✍️ business. all the best xx mel.

  2. grumpytyke Avatar

    ‘Scrivener’ sounds interesting; I use neither dictionary nor thesaurus when I’m writing and now I no longer write professionally I have no need for the other apps. I write most of my stuff in ‘Pages’, including draft posts if I cannot write them directly in WordPress. For really short things I find ‘simplenote’, recently discovered, useful.

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar

      Scrivener is really cool and works perfectly with Mac. I was using Pages for all my stuff until I stumbled across Scrivener earlier this year. I’m finding it excellent to manage my client projects because I no longer have to keep stuff in messy folders and can see every piece of research and output on screen all the time. I can build and excellent client file containing all their info (especially SEO keywords and important product names). I don’t use a lot of external apps, I try to maximise my Apple products and use them the way they were designed. I love words so I use the dictionary EVERY day even when I’m not writing.

      Thanks for your message and my apologise for taking so long to reply.