August 16, 2019 |

7 tools for smarter writing

7 tools for smarter writing

Want to write smarter? 

With the volume of resources out there for helping write and publish impactful content, it should almost be a crime to push out lackluster stories with poor grammar. In fact, my latest Google Search for “simple text editor” yielded 345,000,000 results in 0.50 seconds. 

Consequently, it can be overwhelming to sift through and find the websites that offer the greatest value for the least time investment.

So we’ve done the work for you. Inspired by Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, we’ve foraged the web for our favorite tools. I can’t promise this list will solve every writing challenge you have, but I can say these sites have gotten me through some tricky times. Here are our top sites for helping create, edit and visualize stories—specifically for people in the business of business writing. 

1. Create

DIY MFA

If you’ve found yourself in a writing role, but, like most of us, you didn’t actually go to school for writing, this site is your Holy Grail. It’s a Do-It-Yourself Master of Fine Arts for aspiring professional writers, connecting you with classes, articles, podcasts, events and communities to hone your writing skills. The content skews toward creative writers and novelists, but if you can write like Stephen King, you can probably draft a good press release, too. 

Six-Word Memoirs

Working on your succinctness? “Brevity is the soul of wit” is one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes (and has even been the topic of an entire blog post). While their wittiness is up for debate, the ultra-short stories on this website at least push forward the argument for brevity. The site hosts scores of user-generated stories that create memorable literary journeys in six words. If you’re looking for inspiration how to tell your brand story as concisely as possible, this site will ignite your creative side. 

Journalist’s Resource

https://journalistsresource.org/

Bolster your mass media communication skills with Journalist’s Resource. Run by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, this site features articles that expose how leading journalists approached tough assignments to produce groundbreaking pieces. It’ll inspire you to think differently about how you write that case study or client’s blog post. The site is also a database of write-ups on the latest scholarly studies, reports and data so you can find reliable research for your writing. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all had enough #fakenews.

2. Edit

Grammarly 

https://www.grammarly.com

I recommend getting the browser plug-in for this one. It may feel intrusive at first, but as soon as the tool catches that “who’s vs. whose” mistake you almost published in your weekly newsletter, you’ll be bowing down to it. Grammarly scans your writing in real-time to catch and fix spelling, grammar, and usage errors. If you’re not ready for round-the-clock monitoring, you can upload your text to Grammarly.com’s online editor.

Hemingway 

http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

This free site is fantastic for SEO. Once you upload your text, the Hemingway App will scan for readability. It notifies you when sentences are too long and chunky and when verbiage is too verbose, bloviating, or exhaustive (kind of like this sentence). Ideally, the easier your text is to read, and the shorter your sentences, the better for SEO. However, what’s most important is connecting with your audience. The app helps with that by giving you reading level score that you can benchmark against that of your target consumer. 

3. Visualize

Storybird 

https://storybird.com/

Need graphics for your story? This site lets you search through thousands of digital images by professional illustrators to go with your writing. Though the platform is geared toward helping students complete writing assignments, professionals can use it to create drafts of books and e-books before hiring a designer to recreate the work with proprietary content. 

Canva

https://www.canva.com/

A long-time favorite of mine, Canva helps anyone create compelling visual content for the web. Use its easy drag-and-drop editor, templates and tutorials to create professional-looking text-based designed in minutes. Use it to brighten up your newsfeed, e-blasts, and Annual Reports. But a word of warning: while it’s easy to get carried away with the stunning templated designs, remember that all published content should remain within the confines of your brand identity. Use Canva for Work to save your brand’s color palette, fonts, graphics and images on the site for quick reference. 

Give these sites a try and let us know if they’re as up to snuff as we think they are. If you have other favorites, tweet me with the link! 

Happy writing. 

Credits: Alexis Anthony, writer; Pixabay, image

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