One of my aims this year with my blog (along with photos and another few things), is to improve my writing and content. Instead of relying on just ‘trying a bit harder’, I wanted to see if there were any good writing tools on the web – tools which would help me reflect on the copy which I was producing, help me refine my ideas and, therefore, help me improve my writing overall! It could be like Effortless English for those who are non-English speakers. Through my web browsing over the past couple of months, here are the 5 writing tools you need to use.
Hemingway has completely changed my writing style. You simply copy your text into the editor, and it highlights for you:
- Sentences which are hard to read (such as if they are too long)
- Where you have used too many verbs
- Where you have used complicated language
- Passive and active tone
It is just really easy to use and allows you to see patterns in your copy. For example, when I first started blogging I would always write in run on sentences. I was quite the fan of the comma and not the full stop! Now when I am writing, I always keep that in mind. I don’t use this for everything I write, nor do I take all of the suggestions (we still want the ‘voice’ to come through), but it is a really great app to help you review and think about your writing.
Grammarly is one of the best writing apps for bloggers, writers, students, etc. because it catches the smallest of mistakes. Spelling and grammar are some of the easiest things to improve upon which make a huge impact on your writing. Although a whole lot of word editing software have a spell check built in, they don’t often have a grammar check as well. Grammarly is a browser plugin which checks all writing fields for both spelling and grammar mistakes. It works not only on wordpress where you type up your blog post, but also when you are commenting on other blogs! A lot of people use wordpress to create and design their website and therefore using Grammarly can make a huge difference to the quality of your content. You can learn more about how to create a wordpress website using the YouTube tutorial I have linked for you.
It is simple to use and when you hover over something which it has identified, it gives some options to quickly and easily edit it. The best bit is that in the bottom right-hand corner it has a G symbol which turns green once all the errors in the text have been addressed. This is a great checkpoint before you submit anything!
Something a little different, but sometimes it is hard to come up with blog post ideas or things to focus on. This is a prompt generator, but the prompts it throws out are all really thought provoking, and I haven’t seen one which wouldn’t make a great blog post if you are a personal or lifestyle writer. Examples include: 10 people no longer living who I would like to meet (and why), What four or five relationships have had the greatest impact on your life?, Describe the perfect Autumn Day and why…
Aspiring novelists or screenwriters may want to turn their hand to blogging as a way of keeping their writing skills sharp and prompts may be a great place to begin. Receiving some writing instruction from the likes of Roger Wolfson could prove to be beneficial to your writing, both in finding an authentic voice and teaching you how you can pitch your work for commercial success.
This is in a similar vein to ‘imagination prompt’ but you put in topics and it throws out blog ideas. I find this useful as it shows great ways to structure your titles. Titles are actually more important than I thought, as really in a feed, most people will only see your title and picture, so I am trying to focus on making them both engaging! With this hubspot tool, you enter in three topics and it throws out engaging titles and ideas. So I usually already know what I’m going to write about (such as writing tools) and it pops out some title ideas for me to adapt and use.
5. Distraction Free Writing
This is an important one – sometimes when I write, I don’t sit down to just write. I am distracted by half the options on the screen, formatting, other tabs open and whole host of things. Having an app which provides a completely plain screen to write is ideal. The one I have been using is ZenPen which I really like. However, WordPress now has its own distraction free feature as well! Just click the little square in the top right-hand corner.
There you have it! 5 writing tools which you need to use, and tools which have really helped me focus on and start improving my own writing! I have also found a whole heap of photo and general blogging tools which I will be sharing soon too.
Do you use any writing tools?
PS Make sure you enter my Too Faced giveaway before it closes soon!