Freelance writer and blogger, Yohana Petrovic contacted me with an idea for a post describing four tools that can help you become a better writer. Enjoy!
The best free tools to improve your writing skills!
The art of writing is a combination of language, technical skills and creativity. The language and technical aspects of your writing include elements such as grammar and proofreading. However, grammar is an area from which you can learn every day. The command over grammar is like the electricity powering your computer: you will need that power every day to create polished content.
The creativity aspect of your writing includes the major element, which is your uniqueness – ‘your style of writing’. Hence, there are categories such as fiction writer, resume writer, copywriter, content writer and so on.
If you have just begun your writing career, then give it a minimum of 3-6 months to understand your expertise or preferred genre of writing. Mind you, I am not suggesting that you should try everything in this time-line of 3-6 months.
For example: You may have lots of hidden creativity, but don’t know it yet. You decide to try technical writing rather than content writing. And at the end of 3-6 months, you realize that you can write good blog posts, and that this is of more interest to you. Perhaps, you could then start blogging for your own interest, while pursuing your full-time job.
This way, at the end of one year, you may have established your own blog, while also continuing your technical writing job. Hence, rather than quitting one thing for another, you will attend to your creative side and start doing ‘what you are good at’.
The great thing about the writing field is that you can always choose an overlapping field, such as writing invitations, writing short stories for children and so on. For instance: if you are a good e-learning writer, then you could also become a good academic writer. Or, if you are good with Technical writing, then you could also be a good resume writer.
Four tools which can help you become a better writer
Regardless of the path you choose, it is nice to know there’s help available, should you need it. Here are four tools that I have found useful to my writing career.
Our first tool is the website Visuwords.com. As the name suggests, it focuses on visual words. This website is an online dictionary, with a twist: in addition to increasing your word power it also boosts creativity because, when you type a difficult word, it gives you a visual depiction of its use. For example, say you type the word ‘Cognitive’. Visuwords then gives you a visual depiction of how the word ‘cognitive’ can be used. A comprehensive usage of words and their meaning are two powerful features of this tool.
Furthermore, Visuwords does not just give the meaning, but also illustrates an alternative form of the word. Besides the visually colored and appealing graphics, it allows the user to memorize the word, its meaning, and the different forms in which it can be used.
This kind of comprehensive usage of a single word ‘cognitive’ is depicted in the image below:
- Cognitive means to know
- Cognitive can be used as cognize and cognize in a sentence (UK & US English)
- Another word for cognitive is noesis or knowledge
- The meaning is mentioned: the psychological result of perception, and learning and reasoning.
Daily Writing Tips
Our second tool is an awesome website known as Daily Writing Tips. This website will not only eliminate your fear about writing grammatically correct English, but also offer you a new tip every day. This is awesome, because you can rely on it as a student relies on the English teacher for guidance. The only difference is that ‘daily writing tips’ is completely free. All you have to do is sign up for their tips, and you will receive a daily tip in your inbox, starting from the very next day.
The website hosts posts on various topics such as Vocabulary, Writing Basics, Freelance Writing, Business Writing, Expressions, Fiction Writing, Grammar 101 and many more topics that will boost your writing skills.
Yourdictionary is another fascinating resource to improve your English writing skills. The fascinating part is that it works more like an encyclopedia for every word, complete with photos. Thanks to its Word Finder Tool, it even allows you to find a word that you have forgotten. All you have to do is choose the number of letters and write the letters which make the complete word.
For example, In the above instance: The letters typed are A B Y S S E – In this case the user knows the word sounds something like abyss or abyes, but does not know the exact word. The word finder tool gives seven five-letter answers, including abysm, abyss, abyes, bassy and brays. The perfect help for Scrabble!
There is more fun to be had on yourdictionary.com. The games continue with options like ‘see in a sentence’, meaning that a sentence using the word abyss is constructed automatically. Besides, you can also refer to example articles about the word abyss. In addition, there are other resources such as WORD GAME DICTIONARY, SCRABBLE WORD LISTS and some more fascinating tools that can be readily accessed.
Our last contender is a website known as Lit Reactor. Yes, it sounds like a scientific name but no, Lit Reactor is also a great tool about improving your writing skills. Firstly, the unique point about Lit Reactor is that it contains a lot of practical advice about various topics from the writing and publishing industry – and it comes straight from the experts. The advice comes in more than one format: Blogs, Podcast, Featured Stories, Interviews and more.
The Lit Reactor contains thoughtful posts about topics such as ‘How to React When Someone Says They Don’t Read’. In addition, the website also contains a category known as – Craft Essays. By clicking on this feature, you can find notes, lessons and other valuable information about writing essays and other creative writing categories such as ‘how to write a Novel’.
Let me end by saying this: We writers want to give our best, but sometimes get stuck in the endeavor to do so. At times, we also get stuck due to the apprehension that we might do better tomorrow, than today. But all these are myths. Just remember that writing may be an art, but every art works on the back of a science.
Now, that we have learnt a little more about the science through the above tools, let us begin to apply it to our art. The creative ‘You’ inside of you is eager to express in the form of Blogs, Podcasts, Articles and much more!
About Yohana Petrovic
Yohana Petrovic is a writer and blogger. She has 10 years’ experience in educating and is currently a proofreader at Global Essays.