Blogging is, at its heart, writing- and the beauty of writing is that it can be done with the most basic of tools: a pen and a piece of paper- and having something to say in the first place, of course.
Thanks to the awesomeness of technology, however, we have a lot of writing tools- a lot of blogging tools- at our disposal these days. These are tools that make the business of blogging a bit easier, and maybe a little more enjoyable. Here are five of my favorites:
TextExpander (Mac OS X). Most bloggers spend a lot of time copying and pasting- and I used to, until I discovered this gem of an application. It’s basically a text replacement program, giving you customized abbreviations for bits of code and text- even images- that you use often. For Windows, try Lifehacker’s Texter.
Google Docs. Since discovering Google Documents, I use it for almost all my writing- and that includes blog post drafts. Yes, even this one. I was particularly grateful for this when my Macbook died last week, and I had to work on an old PC for a few days- all my documents were accessible, online, on Google Docs.
Twitter. That’s right, I consider Twitter one of my favorite blogging tools, because not only can I use Twitter to blog (with the excellent Twitter Tools WordPress Plugin), I get a lot of ideas for blog posts from the people I follow. I use Twhirl to keep updated.
Nisus Thesaurus (Mac OS X). Sometimes, the right word is on the tip of your tongue- and you need a good thesaurus to remember what it is. This nifty little application is free, and features over 120,000 words. For Windows, try WordWeb Free or the FreeThesaurus Firefox plugin.
MyMind (Mac OS X). As any writer knows, procrastination is one of our worst enemies. It’s like there are so many things to do instead of writing. The next time this happens to you, when you’re staring at a blank page, stumped on what to write, may I suggest you try some mind-mapping? Many times, I’ve found that it’s the only thing that will get my thoughts in order, and the writing just flows after that. I like MyMind, which is free for the Mac- but also check out FreeMind, which is multi-platform (and free as well).
What are your favorite blogging tools? Do you use any of my favorites?