Let’s face it: Writing is hard.
Lots of people don’t feel confident about their writing abilities—so if you fall into this category, you’re not alone.
When I was in school, I felt this way about math. A teacher once told me I wasn’t good at it, and that message stuck with me. All throughout junior high and high school, I sweated (literally, sweated…a lot) over math tests and homework—all because I knew that when it came to this subject, I had been stamped “NO GOOD.”
So while you may not feel like you’ll ever be a writing whiz (much in the same way I’ll never be able to do mental math), there are some tools that truly can help you become a better writer—both instantly, and over time.
P.S. Whoever told you or made you feel like you’re a bad writer and didn’t offer any advice on how to improve set you up to fail. Forget them.
1. Hemingway App
Ernest Hemingway is one of the few writers upon which people generally agree was fantastic. He wrote short, no-nonsense paragraphs that got right to the point. Hemingway App lets you proof your writing so it’s just as solid as something Hemingway would’ve written. You can check for complex sentences, passive voice, adverbs (bad!), and more.
2. Daily Page
Practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, and Daily Page helps you remember to flex your creative writing skills. You get a new writing prompt in your inbox each morning, you have 24 hours to complete it, and then you can share or keep private whatever you’ve written. If you struggle to consistently practice, this tool is perfect.
3. Help Me Write
I’m someone who really struggles with what to write about sometimes. Help Me Write lets you throw a few ideas together and then your social media following votes on what they want to hear from you about. Nothing like asking the source, right?
Grammarly catches 10X more grammar mistakes than a normal word processor and makes simple suggestions for immediately improved writing. Bonus: It's totally free!
5. Atomic Writer
Atomic Writer helps you assess which pieces of writing your audience relates to the most by integrating with your Google Analytics and social media data. If you’re worried about writing things your audience really cares about, this tool helps you pinpoint if you’re hitting the mark (or not) based on real data. It also scores your content title, body copy, and more.
Sometimes built-in spellchecking software misses things—and then you end up looking stupid. Correctica analyzes your document to find any potential spelling or grammar errors and acts as that second pair of editing eyes you always need (but don’t always have.)
7. Cliché Finder
I have a bad habit of using clichés, but thankfully, Cliché Finder reminds me when I’m using run-of-the-mill phrases (see what I did there?) If you’re desperately trying to avoid overused phrases, this checker helps you spot places you need to swap out verbiage.
Before you ask, “Hey, what about Scrivener?!” I want you to look at Airstory. If you’re struggling to organize content or have a large piece you’re researching, this tool helps you create virtual note cards that you can drag and drop easily to plan out your content. This tool is getting ready to undergo some changes as it's still in beta, but keep an eye on it...it's going to be awesome.
No matter what tool you use, just remember: Practice makes perfect. Keep honing your craft!
What’s your favorite writing resource? Tweet me @kaleighf.
This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy.
P.S. Check out my new column in Inc. Magazine called "Write Wise."