There are numerous professions where the ability to write is absolutely essential. Novelists, journalists, lawyers, freelance writers, managers, teachers, college students, you name it. It is fair to say that writing, and writing well, requires at least a modicum of talent. But writing, just like any other skills, can be improved and polished until it has reached a certain level of quality.
In the past, an individual needed to put in a lot of time and effort to perfect their writing skills, but today, there is a whole myriad of different tools, techniques and apps which can improve your writing almost instantly.
The writing process can be divided into 5 different stages, or elements. We have provided you with a list of all the best writing tools and resources for each of the 5 stages. Keep on reading.
The first stage of every writing process involves digging through the chaos inside your mind and finding an idea which has some value. You can do it the old-fashioned way, by using just a pen and some paper, or you can rely on one of the following tools:
MindNode. This online resource relies on the mind mapping technique in order to help the writer come up with useful ideas and concepts. The entire process is represented graphically, which makes it really easy to get a hang of.
FreeMind. FreeMind is somewhat similar to MindNode, because it relies on the use graphics for mind mapping, but it can also be used to keep track of all your projects, as well as all your research data, bookmarks and notes. You can use the notes to create your own knowledge database which you can dip into whenever you need an idea.
The Story Starter. Sometimes, the only thing you need to get your creative juices flowing is that first sentence, and this is exactly what The Story Starter does. It generates a random starter sentence which you need to get the ball rolling.
Writing.com. This location is one of the top online communities which gathers thousands of writers into one place, and offers a whole multitude of different tool, tips and techniques to improve your writing, as well as a creative environment which is guaranteed to kick-start your inspiration.
Once you have your ideas and your topics figured out, before you can start writing, you need to start doing research on the subject. Unless the topic you are writing about just happens to be your field of expertise, you will have to dedicate some time to research different sources and gather all the necessary data. For instance, even if you are writing your autobiography, you still need to consult people that are close to you that were there when certain events occurred in your life.
If you are looking for online resources, check out the following locations:
LibrarySpot. LibrarySpot is a free online data resource center which lets you search libraries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, research studies, paper, and so on. If you are looking for information on just about anything, we advise you to start here.
Google Scholar. If Google isn’t turning up any useful results, try Google Scholar, which is Google’s search engine designed to index and search scholarly content based on both metadata and full texts. Its database contains around 160 million documents!
Encyclopaedia Britannica. One of the largest encyclopedias in history needs no special introduction. With Nobel Prize winners among its contributors, it’s hard to beat in terms of quality.
Project Gutenberg. What started off as a volunteer project back in 1971 become one of the largest digital libraries in the world, with almost 50,000 public domain titles available for reading and downloading in popular formats.
In order to enhance your writing, you are going to need a good text editor, and several reputable resources which can help both with practical advice on how to improve your writing, as well as high quality work by the best writers online:
Write My Essay. If are looking for practical advice on how to write papers and essays, you can find plenty of it on this website. Furthermore, you can get in touch with professional writers and ask for custom guidance, or even commission an essay and see how it should be done.
yWriter. If you are using a standard text editor like Microsoft Word and you’re writing a novel, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed because you won’t be able to keep track of all the notes, footnotes, and chapters. yWriter, on the other hand, was conceived with that in mind. The best thing about it is that it was designed by an author, and it definitely shows.
Google Docs. For those who prefer to write using different platforms, without having to carry their work around with them, Google Docs is probably the best solution, because you can synchronize all your work and access it from anywhere, using anything. Those that are familiar with Microsoft Office or OpenOffice will feel right at home here.
No written work is complete before it’s properly formatted, checked for spelling errors, and proofread for other mistakes. Luckily, this particular segment of the writing process is rich with high-quality tools and services that will assist you in proofreading your documents and check them for plagiarism:
Hemingway App. Ernest Hemingway was a master of saying a lot with as very few words as possible. This app won’t help you write like Hemingway, but it will improve the readability of your work, by breaking down overly long and complex sentences.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you are not sure about how some word is spelled, or if you don’t like to rely on your text editor to find spelling errors, Merriam-Webster Dictionary is your go-to destination, not just because it’s owned by Britannica, but because it is one of the best online dictionaries out there, hands down.
Grammarly. Hunting for spelling errors is relatively easy with the help of dictionary, but finding grammar mistakes in your work and correcting them is a lot more complex issue, and that’s why recommend you check out Grammarly. It is a powerful online tool which will analyze the structure of your sentences, detect plagiarism and provide suggestion on how to improve your texts, among other things.
Unless you have a book deal signed with a publisher, chances are you will be publishing your work online, on a blog, or a website. There are several excellent blogging platforms on the web, but the following two are the most popular:
WordPress. Want a professional-looking blog or a website created in a matter of hours? Go with this one. WordPress has so many features it’s impossible to name them all in a single article.
Blogger. Does pretty much what WordPress does, so if you don’t like WordPress, give Blogger a shot, and vice versa.
If you work hard enough and dedicate yourself, with the help of these tools, you will be able to elevate your writing skills within a relatively short time frame.
Remember that the best tool in your toolbox is your own talent, and these apps are just here to shine a spotlight on it. Start becoming a better writer today.
Author: Kenneth Waldman, a freelance writer and English tutor. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.