I love writing. Or at least for the most part, I do. But words are hard and refining my words is even harder.
Trust me when I say this — Almost all blogposts out there that give you the Blogpost goals, go through so many rounds of spell checks, grammar checks, this-and-that check. In fact, my theory is that — the time taken for a blog post to go from ‘now editing’ to ‘published’ is probably longer than it took to actually write that post!
Writing a perfect blogpost is a daunting task but nobody said it was easy (Coldplay reference anyone?). I’ve now realised that I don’t have to do it alone.
Over months and months of writing, I’ve found a few tools that I absolutely swear by, which have helped improve my writing so much! Now I’m no writing expert but I sure have learned a thing or two (or five) over these months. So, this is me compiling my notes over the months into this post. So gather around you guys, some good bits coming right up .
Tenses, Conjunctions, Punctuation. Advise or Advice. Co-operate or Cooperate.These are the problems that have always haunted me as a blogger ( new post ideas, WordPress vs Medium, hitting the publish button and getting readers have also haunted me but that’s for another day)
Proof reading is essential, but it sure is painful
Enter Grammarly. This nifty tool helps me proofread my work of creation to make sure there are no speling mistkes, no commas missing and that my end result reads well. I just have to copy and paste my text into Grammarly’s Editor and see it work its magic! I still remember the first time I used it. It made my unrefined blog post light up like a Christmas tree with all the grammatical errors .
What’s even better is that it not only highlights the mistakes in my text but it also gives me actionable solutions to those mistakes. Ain’t nobody got time for running around trying to figure out what’s wrong with the post! Wrong spellings, missing punctuations and unhyphenated words will soon be a thing of the past my friend.
This tool is like my own personal English professor. Minus the ear twisting and reprimanding 👴🏻
Pssst! Want to know something I love even more than the Grammarly Online Editor? It’s the Grammarly browser extension. You can download the free Grammarly extension for your browser and it will automagically start flagging the errors wherever you start typing. Like an angel watching over you I love this extension and it’s something that I can’t live without (I really can’t. I suck at tenses)
Alternatives: Correctica, Your English professor, Your sibling*
*my sibling will never help me with this
2. Power Thesaurus
I overuse words by the dozen. And then overuse them some more. And if you’re reading them aloud, your tongue could be in knots! (Knot kidding)
Don’t want to be like me? Use Power Thesaurus
Power Thesaurus makes me sound less irksome (I hope you noticed how I replaced annoying with irksome there) and sound fancy at the same time .
It’s an easy to use thesaurus that’s been crowdsourced and built by writers like you and me. I know that there a lot of similar tools out there. But I’m a sucker for all things Community. I just need to enter my word of choice in the search box and the tool will suggest a list of alternatives I can use in place of my word along with a list of antonyms for it. These alternatives are also rated by the Community and the words with the best ranks are suggested at the top, followed by lesser ranks. This tool makes sure I never run out of words. Ever. Abnormality can become Anomaly, Excitement can become Exhilaration, Untidy to Unkempt, Indirect to Vicarious …. the possibilities are endless!
Tip : Download their Free Chrome Extension and get the most out of it. Just double tap on a word you want to find an alternative for and click on the Power Thesaurus icon for more suggestions .
I tend to get distracted easily, especially when I’m trying to avoid writing. I find myself experimenting with all of those little editing/(formatting?) tools available at the side while writing, before I even have the first sentence ready.
Which is how ZenPen becomes my saviour. I absolutely love this tool for it’s no nonsense attitude. It gives me a minimalist writing space to write my blogposts without any distractions. Think Horse Blinders .
But want to know my most favourite feature on here? It lets you set a… wait for it… target Word Count goal! This feature activates a small word count meter at the right of the page which turns green when you hit your count target. Nothing beats that moment of happiness when that meter turns green!
You can even save and download your work to view later. Or you can do what I do. Simply copy and paste your text to your blog when you’re done typing!That’s it. This tool doesn’t promise to do much but delivers on what it actually claims to do 🙂
P.S. This piece is being written on ZenPen!
TIP– Maximize your writing screen on ZenPen (from the features tab at the left) and turn your screen to dark. It makes for a fun — distraction free writing experience!
Alternative– Dropbox’s Paper (another favourite), those ancient little things called books and diaries and journals.
“Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can.”
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
No, this tool won’t transform you into Ernest Hemingway or your laptop into a typewriter. But what it does, is no less cooler than that. This is personally my most favourite of the lot. My one stop tool to refine my blog post and make it publish ready! It does everything-
- Highlights grammatical errors,
- Points out complex words and suggests alternatives,
- Flags passive voices, and,
- Highlights sentences which are difficult to read and could do with breaking lines.
I just have to copy and paste my text into their Online Editor and it immediately points out the grey areas in the text and which need improvements. By now, you all know there’s at least one feature within these tools that’s my favourite. This tools has one too. What is it? Glad you asked. It grades your work on the basis of readability! For example, my last blog post got Grade 5. Smaller the number, the better the grade #️⃣
It’s almost like having an examiner grade your paper. Except, that there’s no one to give you judgemental looks if you score less or go complaining to your parents about the low score.
Fun Fact : The best Grade I’ve scored on this platform is 2. Can you do better than me and get that Grade 1? Give it a spin!
Tip : Make maximum use of those extra features available on the editor as well- Bold, Italicise, Bullet, Heading styles, Word Counts are just some of the features available .
Alternative : I couldn’t find an alternative tool for this. It’s the best in my opinion. What’s a girl gotta do?
A wise man once said, “A blog post is only as good as the notes it’s made of.” That wise man was my team lead and he just made that ish up.
This holds true for me though. I NEED to take down notes of ideas for blogposts as and when I think of it because I suck at remembering things later. And Evernote is that super handy tool that helps me take the right notes, so I can bring them all together when I put pen to paper on my next blog post.
Since I can’t always be on my laptop when that next blog post idea strikes or, when I discover a fancy figure of speech I could use in my next blog post, Evernote lets me note down things on the go wherever I am. I can note down Texts, Images and even Audios for when I want to revisit them later.
The best way I’ve used it though? I have it installed on ALL my devices and I no longer have to worry about arranging my thoughts or syncing my notes across accounts. I can now dump all my ideas in one place. And when I’m ready with enough notes, I get those notes, gather my thoughts and start writing.
It can be as simple a tool as you want it to be or equally powerful if need be. These notes can also be categorised into different files called Notebooks. I think of it as my own filing system.
Some of my notebooks are- Blog Post Ideas, Good reads, Home To Do list (mostly empty), My favourite dessert recipes (over flowing) and hence also a Workout Regime list (also empty) .
The best part about this tool is that your notes are backed up automatically. So no more fear of losing those pesky little post-its anymore (RIP you beautiful little colourful papers I’ve lost by the hundreds) And, you’re saving paper. Extra points for the environmentalist in you! .
Tip: Download the Evernote web extension and note down everything you want to save by simply copying and pasting it into your Notebooks!
Alternative : Microsoft OneNote, Simplenote. Your pen and paper (yes, the physical kinds). You know what? Throw those notes wherever possible. Your Telegram, Slack, WhatsApp, your toilet paper (no judgements), your hand, your best friend’s hand. No matter what, write down those notes wherever possible!
So there you have it, folks. 5 writing tools that a blogger shouldn’t live without (I certainly can’t)