As I've heard through the grapevine that several friends and family members are involved in a variety of writing projects, I thought I'd share a few of the tools that have been super handy for me in the last year or so.
For freelance writing:
Hands down, OneNote, which is usually packaged with the Microsoft Office suite. I love the two-window view, allowing me to copy and paste and type while researching on the internet. It used to grab URLs when I slid images over and that seems to have changed since the last update, but even with the extra hassle of saving an address bar (if I want to quote the source or find the picture again), it's worth it. Searching is a breeze. It records audio too, if you're a verbal processor and need to keep track of your stream-of-consciousness chattering.
Right now, I'm using separate tabs to keep track of my individual poems for the Poetic Asides PAD challenge.
For research and freelancing:
Researching can be a bear. When I'm writing several articles and need good, reliable information and fast, I turn to this little Google trick: (query)+ site:edu
Generally, -edu and -gov extensions give decent results, bypassing the unnecessary and going straight to the good stuff.
For book-length works:
I found this software when I participated in NANOWRIMO. There may be some drawbacks to yWriter, but I haven't really discovered any. Not, at least, when compared to Word. I've been using this program for both short stories and a longer manuscript-in-progress. It's sort of a geek's way of simplifying the creative collection process and making it all accessible. I love that I'm no longer frantically scrambling for the right sheet of paper in the missing notebook that had an essential character sketch. I type it all into the program, it's filed away and yet ready whenever I need it. And being able to shuffle chapters at will is bliss, people, bliss. They have other programs as well for writers and readers, though I've yet to try them out. Let me know if you find something useful!
For procrastination and writer's block:
Write Or Die. It is amazing how much more productive I am when threatened with a bleeping red screen and a letter-eating cursor!