06.09.2021 07:00 AM Want to Write Better? Here Are Some Tools to Help You Improve
Whether you’re drafting a memo or promoting a book, technology can make the task easier than ever. Photograph: Maskot/Getty Images It doesn’t matter whether you’re drafting a company-wide memo, struggling through a school assignment, or working on your first novel. Writing is never effortless. It takes work. If you’re here, you already know this. Luckily, there are a few hacks to improve the writing (or post-writing) process.
I have spent much of the past decade as a freelance writer. In doing so, I’ve had to come up with tricks and ways to use technology to assist me along the way. This includes things like learning how to better edit myself to finding who has shared my published work later on. Writing may not be easy, but it doesn’t need to be impossible either.
Use Tech to Catch Typos and Mistakes
Did you know spellcheck was once a benchmark used to measure how speedy a computer could run? Its utility was groundbreaking. Now red lines grace every text box and computational overhead is a distant memory. Tech tools for writing abound. If you write in Google Docs, you know the assistance it can provide. Its grammar and spell checking can also burn you.
To avoid missing mistakes, don’t rely on a single writing tool. Instead, combine multiple ones to better edit yourself on a first or second pass. As good as Google Docs is at finding contradicting tenses or trending proper nouns, I’ve also seen it miss plenty of obvious errors.
Similarly, Grammarly is an amazing writing assistant that can have your back in web forms or nearly anywhere you find yourself typing.
Combining multiple tools helps narrow down the mistakes. It’s like putting your writing through different size strainers. This is time-consuming to do for every writing assignment, but may be worth it for the important ones.
Beyond Google Docs or Grammarly, Hemingway App is a neat resource that will grade a piece of text and point out passive voice, hard-to-read sentences, and other ways your writing could be improved improve.
Improve Your Writing on Your Own
Editing your own writing is a superpower. Few people are born with the skill. But it’s also not manageable if a writer comes to a standstill every time an editor isn’t available. I try to get my wife to read my writing when I can, but often the timing isn’t practical. So a few years ago I started using text-to-speech tech to help me proofread and improve my own writing. Hearing the words out loud, in a different voice, is game changing.There are plenty of ways to do this. The capability is native on iOS, macOS, and Windows. If you highlight a selection of text on an iPhone, one of the options to the right is “Speak.” It will start reading the selected text. On a Mac, the option lives under the menu item Edit, Speech. This feature is Narrator on Windows. […]