Writing can be a tricky exercise for a lot of people. Maybe you’re aces at face-to-face communication but struggle to find your voice when it comes to the written word. Or perhaps you enjoy writing but can’t seem to self-edit very well, so you regularly end up with work that is dense and difficult to read. Don’t worry—there’s an app for that!
In a world where anyone and everyone can—with a simple keystroke—self-publish their work for millions to see, it’s easy for your content to get lost. It’s all the more important, then, that you pay special attention to the details of what separates good writing from great writing. There are a few tech tools for beefing up your compositions that we’re really digging on lately.
Move over, spell check! This service offers both an online text-editor and a free browser extension (compatible with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge). It detects errors in your writing including grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style. Grammarly will also alert you if it sees anything that could possibly count as plagiarism.
The paid premium version (which Grammarly offers in monthly, quarterly, and annual payment options) conducts even more in-depth checks, as well as providing citation suggestions to help support any claims made in your piece. If you’re looking to put a clean polish on your work—blogs, social media posts, marketing material, etc.—Grammarly is a great tool to help you do that.
This app goes a bit further into finessing your writing. Beyond basic grammar and spelling fixes, the Hemingway app focuses on making your writing both bolder and more readable. It flags things such as passive voice and overly-complex sentence structure, providing suggestions for ways to communicate more effectively and concisely.
While they do provide a free online text-editor, for $19.99 you can purchase the desktop app (for PC or Mac). The paid version of Hemingway includes one-click integrations with WordPress and Medium as well as the ability to export from other text editors and send PDFs to colleagues that include the app’s notes and suggestions. If you’re looking for next-level writing improvement tools, this is a great place to start.
Blogging ain’t easy. We’ve all experienced the deflating feeling of staring at a blinking cursor, gripped with writer’s block and completely incapable of deciding how to start composing something. The folks at BlogAbout feel your pain. That’s why they created their nifty free tool to help get the creative juices flowing.
While it’s marketed as a “blog title generator,” it does so much more than that. It starts you off with a list of common business blog ideas and allows you to tailor titles granularly before landing on an option (or options) that speak to you. Tweaking titles may feel like a small thing, but it’s a great way to ignite the little spark that leads to your next big brainstorm.
While we love that there are so many amazing bits of tech out there to help writers improve their art, there are some classic writing tips we’d be remiss not to mention in a blog post about writing and editing. You’ve probably heard them before, but they’ve stuck around for good reason!
4. Read Your Work Aloud
This is a biggie. You’d be surprised how many errors you’ll spot when you read what you’ve written aloud.
Sometimes we look at our own writing so long that we read it the way we imagine it reads, even if that’s not the way we actually wrote it! Reading your work out loud can help you catch things like a missing comma where you would naturally take a breath or simple errors like having written “life” when you meant “live.” This trick works even better if you have a spouse, partner, or roommate who is willing to read it aloud to you.
It can be hard to come up with snappy copy when you’re generating a ton of content, but make it a priority to diversify your vocabulary. The thesaurus is your friend!
You don’t have to go putting in “fancy” words just for the sake of it, but do try to avoid describing something the same way over and over again. Avoid using clichéd phrases, as well. It cheapens your work and leaves it feeling generic and flat. The English language is rife with powerful verbiage—make good use of it!
6. Get Prolific
The absolute best thing you can do to improve your writing output is to keep writing. Write every single day. Whether it’s something front-facing like social media or your blog, or something more personal such as a journal, you’ll be sharpening your skills every time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as it may be).
The more you write, the more comfortable you’ll become. You’ll find with time that a unique voice emerges and with it, the confidence that only comes with relentless practice.
Old-fashioned or new-fangled, there are tons of ways you can work on refining your writing skills. These are just a few of our favorites. What tools and tricks have you deployed to level up your content?
If writing’s still not your thing, even with the help of these tools, we have a team of content writers who can take care of that for you. Don’t panic, we can help!
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A textbook Capricorn and a daughter of the Deep South, Erin honed her instinctual love of organization and high-level strategy by watching and dissecting SEC football every autumn Saturday since birth. She thrives on finding the perfect balance between artistry and efficiency to deliver a copy that is both compelling and tight. Her writing and editorial experience span fields ranging from marketing to arts & entertainment, and from animal rescue to fashion design. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, volunteering with animal advocacy organizations, and spending time with her husband John, their two sons Emmett and Vincent, and their faithful hound, Lyra.
Work superpower: I'm a chameleon with a pen. If I get to know someone well enough, I can write fluently in their voice!
Favorite cheese: Cave-Aged Gruyere
Go-to karaoke song: Jolene by Dolly Parton
Beverage of choice: Iced Coffee.
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