Five free tools to help you improve your writing
Because I write words for money, I really hope that machines don’t learn how to write well. I will, however, accept their help when I need to declutter my writing, eliminate needless jargon or format a title properly. These are five free online tools that can help you do exactly that.
Someone made a drawing about a space car using only the ten hundred most used words. Someone else saw it and then made a computer thing that tells you off for using words other than the ten hundred most used words. People use too many big words to talk about stuff. If you can explain a hard idea using small words it makes you better at writing, and people might like your writing more.
One of the biggest challenges when writing about technology is that it can be hard to explain how things work in a way that makes sense to most people. That’s why Jigsaw, in collaboration with The Washington Post, created the Sideways Dictionary. It defines complex pieces of technology – like Bitcoin or Open Source, for example – using fun, interesting analogies. It might help you to think about a piece of tech in a slightly different way, or give you a new idea for how to articulate your product.
If you’re aiming for clarity and brevity in your writing, you can do a lot worse than imitating Ernest Hemingway’s lean prose style. This text editor, like its namesake, encourages you to avoid complex sentences, adverbs and elaborate words, and employ the passive voice sparingly.
Possibly the most useful free tool on the internet. If, like me, you often get confused by which words you should and shouldn’t capitalise in a title, pop a sentence into this and it’ll do it for you. It’s even got a variety of style guides built in for when you’re working to different specifications.
Like any skill, you get better at writing the more you practice doing it. Which is why anyone looking to improve their writing should consider something like Daily Page ($4.99/month), a service that sends you daily writing prompts. For a free alternative, check out The Daily Post.
Hopefully you’ll find some of these tools useful for improving your writing. Or, you could speak to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do it for you!