The best and worst thing about any kind of art is that you can always improve. This is the reason why artists can keep sketching the same thing over and over again, and still not be happy with it. Or why writers can sit and stare at a draft for days, and still not be pleased with the result. Although the desire to improve and create a perfect piece is certainly commendable, it is not always viable, especially if you are working on deadlines. Not only is it time-consuming, it also increases your stress level and decreases productivity.
However, there are plenty of tools available for a writer to both improve themselves and increase productivity. These will help you to improve your grammar and writing skills, overcome your writer’s block, and enhance efficiency. You can use these to create high-quality content and become a better writer.
It is important for a writer to not only produce creative content but also be grammatically correct. While most writers have good language skills and grammar, it is possible for even the best of them to make mistakes. To prevent those crafty and sneaky errors from being published, most writers use an editor to assist them. Grammarly is one such tool and corrects over 250 types of mistakes.
With a chrome extension, you can use Grammarly to write error-free content anywhere on the web including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn and your blog or website. Grammarly examines your text for both common and complex grammatical mistakes. This includes, but is not limited to, missing articles, misspelled words, repetitive words, subject-verb agreement and modifier placement. Another useful feature of Grammarly is its contextual spell-checker that prevents you from using the incorrect homophone. Some people, for instance, get confused between your and you’re, too and two, there and their, its and it’s. Grammarly will prevent you from mixing these words and will promptly suggest you the right word to be used instead.
Moreover, Grammarly isn’t just a safety net. While it does correct your mistakes, it offers a little more than just that. The tool also helps you to improve your grammar by providing you with detailed explanations for all your mistakes. This way, you not only have an error-free paper, blog, tweet or email, you also enhance your skills. Grammarly also sends you weekly progress reports where over time you can how far you have come along.
For those of you who have a problem with being interminable in your writing, Hemingway is the way to go. The app helps you become a more concise, clear and bold writer. While Grammarly focusses on grammar, Hemingway focusses on your sentence style and the words used in your write-up. It suggests the changes that you should make and leaves you to make them.
You can begin by writing your piece unimpeded in the ‘Write’ section. Thereafter, you can check the advice that Hemingway app offers in real time on your piece in the ‘Edit’ section. The app will highlight the hard-to-read sentences in red and yellow, depending on their readability. This will prevent your writing from being too dense. Furthermore, the app will also highlight the adverbs in blue colour and will suggest you alternatives, that have some force, to use. Hemingway app also discourages the use of passive voice, which it highlights in green. You can choose to change the sentence to active voice, or let it remain in passive.
Another useful function of the app is that it highlights words that have simpler alternatives in purple. This prevents your write-up from being too wordy. For instance, if you include the word ‘utilise’ in your text, the app will highlight it in purple and suggest that you use the word ‘use’ instead. Choosing simpler words in place of complicated ones makes it easier for your readers to understand your writing. In writing, less is always more.
Hemingway app also allows you to format your write-up on the app itself. With the new update, you can now directly publish on Medium and WordPress. The only drawback of the app is that it costs $20 which is considerably higher than its previous price of $5. however, the web app is still free to use.
Refly is an AI-powered smart editor for authors, bloggers, and content marketers. It helps you to proofread your content as you write, checking for grammatical and spelling errors. It also makes you competent by simplifying your process and improving your productivity. The tool gives you suggestions for better-suited words and synonyms. It also helps you by identifying words that would better resonate with your audience.
One of the most interesting features of the tool is hat Refly’s smart editor helps you in converting your writing to fit the localised English vernacular of your selected region. The importance of this feature is two-fold. One, it recognises the various nuances of the English Language and helps the writers to write in their version of the English language as opposed to the canonical or standard language. Two, it also helps writers from other places to engage their audiences better and to better understand them.
Refly’s most useful feature is its goal tracking tool that helps you, the writer, to develop a habit and stay on the course. Refly has inbuilt publishing and scheduling tools. For writers working on their blogs or social media, you will enjoy working with the SEO tool, which helps you in optimising your content by reminding you to add in important keywords. You also have the option to share your content on various social media platforms from the editor itself.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus
We have all experienced the frustration of not recalling a certain word. We know what it means, but we just can’t pin down the word. This is where OneLook comes to our rescue. With the help of OneLook, we don’t have to go through it ever again.
All you have to do is search the concept about which you are thinking, and Reverse Dictionary will come up with a list of words and phrases related to it. You are most likely to find the word that you were having trouble remembering. Not only that, since OneLook provides you with a list of similar words, you can choose the word that is the best fit.
In the demo above, the search for ‘remembering the past’ resulted in a hundred results from reminiscence to nostalgia.
No matter how strong your vocabulary is, you can always improve. This goes not just for writers, but for everyone. No matter how good you are at something, there is always scope for improvement.
Choosing words is central to writing. As a writer, you make conscious choices. You are aware that each word has a different meaning. Synonyms of a word have similar meaning, but each of them is essentially different. And while you can substitute one for the other (after all, they are synonyms), the word so chosen should be based on the context of the sentence.
Power Thesaurus does precisely this and helps you in bridging the gap in your vocabulary perfectly. It is a crowdsourced thesaurus dictionary that provides you with numerous alternatives. You can choose the word that fits the best.
Available as both an app and online, Power Thesaurus helps you find the exact word you are looking for. All you have to do is open the app and search the word and you will be presented with a list of suitable alternatives.
With Power Thesaurus by your side, you cannot go wrong.
Hubspot’s Topic Generator
There are times when we just run out of ideas and can’t think of anything to write about. Hubspot’s Topic Generator is the remedy for your writer’s block. In a single search, the tool pulls up over a week’s worth of relevant blog ideas. All you have to do is enter 3 keywords that you want to write about and within seconds, Hubspot’s Topic Generator will come up with a list of possible blog titles for you.
This tool helps you in producing high-quality content, consistently. Upon searching for an ideal title for your blog, you can choose that topic from the list which you think will resonate with your audience the most.
There are days when you cannot pen down even a single word. The best way to break writer’s block is to keep writing. It does not matter what topic you choose. It is important that you write. So instead of picking up a topic that you are supposed to write on, choose a completely different one. However, there are times when making any kind of decision seems impossible and choosing a topic seems impossible. This is where Daily Page comes in the picture.
This tool is perfect those uninspiring days and it does what it says: helps you in building a better writing habit. Daily Page removes the challenge that coming up with a topic is and sends you one instead. It sends you a writing reminder every day. The email from the tool contains a writing prompt that you can use to begin your writing for the day. This helps in getting those creative juices to flow.
They have also collaborated with writers and editors, and have come up with several courses that you can take to improve your writing skills or gain more insight into the profession. These courses are on blogging, screenwriting, storytelling, style, and critique writing amongst others.
Daily Page also gives you the freedom to choose whether or not you want to share your write-up with others on the tool. You have the choice to make your piece public or let it remain private.
Daily Page also gives you writing stats and personal writing score along with a distraction-free writing space. The tool works well because you do not have to spend up to an hour and a half to come up with a topic. You are simply given a topic which you can attack with all your creativity. Though it costs $4/month, Daily Page is worth the investment.
Another way of dealing with a writer’s block is FreeMind. It is a mind-mapping software that helps you in organising your thoughts and ideas. It allows you to edit a hierarchical set of concepts surrounding a primary notion or thought.
FreeMind has a non-linear approach where new outlines and project ideas can be added around the mind map. It is perfect for the brainstorming phase of a project, be it a research paper, a novel or a blog.
The Most Dangerous Writing App
As the name suggests, this is the most dangerous writing app and is not for the faint-hearted. The logic of the app is simple: you have to either choose the duration of time for which you wish to write or the number of words that you want to write and once the timer starts, you can not stop writing until you reach your goal. If, however, you do not succeed in achieving your goal, whatever it is, all your writing will be lost forever.
For instance, if you chose to write 500 words, but you stopped writing for more than 5 seconds before completing your goal, you will lose everything that you have written so far. There is no way of recovering the lost file.
This tool was designed to turn off the editor inside of you and get you in a state of flow. You can use this app to cure your writer’s block if you are up for a challenge.
Another way of coming up with a topic to write on is checking out Google Trends. It is a public web facility of Google that will help you in figuring out what is trending on your in your niche. It also helps in understanding what people are searching for online, the latest trends, and even how much a particular word was searched, when it was searched and in what language and region.
All you have to do to is open the tool and enter the keyword you want to search. Google Trends will then provide you with a list of topics relevant to your keyword that are trending at the moment. You can use this real-time search data to not only know what is going on in your niche, but also present your take on it.
It is not always easy for a writer to stay on schedule or meet the deadline. At times, despite the ticking clock, you are not able to produce anything at all. Staring at the black page only increases the frustration. With the deadline approaching, it is only human to stress over it. Twords can help you prevent this from happening. It will not only help you commit to your writing, but will also help you improve your writing skills.
For a writer, procrastination is one of the seven deadly sins. Even when you are being crushed by the pressure of the looming deadline, you still can’t make yourself work. You feel guilty and it eats away at you, but you can’t seem to do anything about it. Twords can help you avoid procrastinating and build better writing habits. It tracks your daily progress and lets other people keep you accountable by sharing your goals.
With the help of Twords, you can bid your writer’s block and procrastination goodbye. The tool not only tracks your writing and editing, it also tracks your missing days. It also helps you plan ahead by calculating how much you will need to write every day to easily meet the deadlines. Twords also sends you articles from across the internet about habit formation and successful author’s writing habits.
One of the best features Twords is that it allows you have accountability buddies. When you are swamped with work and are sure you will not be able to meet the deadline, you can make use of this feature. Your accountability buddies will be notified and will come to your rescue. They will help you when you go off track and assist you in getting back on your feet and finishing the work.
Twords also provides you with stats where you can track your writing regularly and over time, see some patterns emerge and act accordingly. With the passage of time, you will be able to see when you are and aren’t most likely to write, and your overall progress. It also has an extensive prompt library which you can use to spur creativity and build up experience. With Twords on your side, you will have no excuse left and will have no option other than to write.
A noisy place is not the best work environment for a writer. It becomes difficult to concentrate on your work when you are subjected to a constant commotion. This is where ZenPen comes in.
While there are a lot of distraction-free writing tools out there, ZenPen is a diamond among stones. This web software is a minimalist writing zone where you can block out all the distractions and converge your mind on writing instead. The tool offers you a blank writing space where you can start writing without any disturbance or noise.
To use the editor all you have to do is go on the ZenPen website. There you will find a starter text, which you can remove and begin to write. It has basic features like bold, italics and hyperlink. To use these features, you have highlighted the word or words, and select the feature you want to apply. You can also add quotes.
You can also set a word count target and save the article in either HTML or plain text when you are finished writing. In order to minimise distractions and make the most out of the app, you should press F11 to full screen your browser and begin your journey.
Another useful distraction-free writing tool is Quabel Writer. Just like ZenPen, it takes away the distractions leaving you to focus on your writing.
Other than the basic features that ZenPen has, Quabel offers some other interesting feature. The most important one is the type-writing sound. The sound of the typewriter takes you to a simpler time and you can use the tranquility that comes with delving into the past to concentrate on your writing. Quabel gives you the option to turn the sound off if you want.
Another useful feature is the goal which allows you to the set amount of time you want your readers to spend on your post. Quabel also has in night mode comes with a dark background and can be used if wanted. While you are working, Quabel automatically backs up your work so that you don’t lose you write-up under any circumstance. You can continue working without the fear of losing your work or having to save your work over and over again.
On social media, it is important to know how well your content performs and how well your competitor’s content performs. While it is critical to be original, it is always advised to keep tabs on others in your niche. With the help of Buzzsumo, you will be able to identify the best performing content in your niche.
All you have to do is search the keyword on Buzzsumo which will provide you with a list of blogs and articles that have been written on that keyword. The tool will present you with the highest performing content with maximum share counts on major social media platforms.
You can gather vital information from the search results and can use it to create content that is both unique and compelling. Information from Buzzsumo will help you in standing out from the crowd while remaining in your niche.
You can search on Buzzsumo across various segments like ‘Most Shared’, ‘Trending Now’, ‘Backlinks’, ‘Content Analysis’ and others. You also have the option to filter the search by date and time; ‘24 Hours’, ‘Past Week’, ‘Past Month’, ‘Past 6 Months’, ‘Past Year’. You can also search according to the ‘Language’, ‘Content Type’, ‘Country’, and ‘Word Count’.
It is important for freelancers (not just writers, but also software developers, content marketers, and graphic designers) to keep track of their time. In order to gain trust and credibility, they need to manage their time wisely. They also need to be swift and expeditious, and must always make timely deliveries. They also need to know how much time they are spending on each project. For this purpose, Toggl is a great tool to use. It is one of the best time-tracking software and has a powerful timesheet calculator.
Available as both an app (Android and iOS) and on the web as a Chrome plugin, Toggl lets you stay focussed by helping you track your time. It allows you to create a project and then setup tasks within that project. You can then use Toggl to keep track of the time you spend on each individual task. It, therefore, helps you in keeping track of your billable time.
Toggl sends you automated reminders to keep our work on track. It also creates reports that highlight how much time you spent on the task, which days you spent doing which task. You can send your clients the reports in order to not only show the time, effort and hard work you put into their work, but also to maintain transparency.
Toggl has all the qualities to help you complete your work on time, improve your writing skills and become a better and successful writer.
Social media has become more visual in the recent years. People who post visual content are more likely to captivate their audience’s attention and will, therefore, have a greater customer engagement. With platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest that draw user’s attention with attractive photos and videos, blog posts without them seem rather bland. Therefore, in order to draw your audience’s attention, you need to include relevant photos, videos, and GIFs in your blog posts.
Visual.ly is a tool that will help you in achieving this goal. It will help you in creating high-quality images for your blog posts that will lead to increased engagement and improved results. With over 30,000 ready-to-use Infographic templates, Visual.ly helps you in creating fascinating data visualisations for your blog post or content marketing needs.
The easy-to-use tool comes with over 1,000 specialised creative professionals. These artists will help you with any and all of your requirements. They will work on videos, infographics, ebooks, reports and presentations, photography, social media and even interactive microsites.
To reap the benefits of Visual.ly, all you have to do is fill out a simple creative brief regarding the kind of work you want to be done and the folks at Visual.ly will pair you up with the best talent they have.
A picture speaks a thousand words. This has never been truer than now, in the 21st century. While the written word still holds its ground, in this fast pacing world not everyone has the time to read long blog posts. While there are people who make time o read their favourite bloggers and writers, not everyone does. Especially when the social world is full of alluring photos and videos. Instead of losing your readership to people who post content in the form of photos and videos, you should incorporate the formats into your process. And Lumen5 is just the tool to do so.
Lumen5 is a tool that helps you in converting your blog posts into a high-quality video which you can then share on various social media platforms. It uses artificial intelligence system to convert your blog post or RSS feed into a video. All you have to do is enter the link to your post. Using Natural Learning Processing algorithms, Lumen5 will summarise the content and match each scene with relevant photos, videos, and music.
Lumen5’s has a vast media library with millions of free media files from the creative commons. The tool gives you access to all the resources and assets you need for creating an enchanting and captivating video for your target audience.
Lumen5 also gives you the option to personalise your content with your own brand colour, watermark, typeface and a call-to-action. The videos thus created are fully optimised for brand awareness and audience engagement.
You can check out what apps and tools you can use to create infographics and edit photos and videos on SmatSocial’s blog ‘Apps and Tools to Up Your Game on Social Media‘.
Producing quality content is not enough; optimisation of that content is required. On social media, content creation and content optimisation go hand in hand. Yoast can help you in achieving this goal. It comes with a variety of WordPress plugins that will help you in optimising your content and website for SEO and increased engagement.
Yoast SEO evaluates the SEO of your write-up in ways that are beneficial and novel. It also allows you to test focus keywords. When you enter a keyword, Yoast will analyse it across several sections. It will see whether or not you have used this keyword before. It will also check if the keyword appears in the SEO title and in any of the subsequent headings or subheadings. It will also check as to how many times it appears in the write-up as a whole. After analysing the keyword density, it will give you either a congratulatory statement or a recommendation.
With Yoast, you can your post’s SEO title and meta description on a per post basis. It also combines basic SEO practices with more complex ones and enables both novice and experienced writers to analyse their SEO performance.
Writing without any distractions is important. However, at times our minds tend to wander off and take an unspecified a journey of their own. While it may not be as potent as Walter Mitty’s, but they do waste time. To keep our minds from straying, we listen to music. Often times we get so engrossed in the music or the lyrics of the piece, we end up wasting time instead of being productive, as we had planned. To solve this problem, Hipster Sound has come up with an array of sounds that encourages productivity.
Hipster Sound is an ambient noise generator that recreates sounds of cafes and restaurants. These help you in staying focussed and improve your productivity. The folks at Hipster Sound state that these help you in channelling your creativity and help you relax by creating a unique environment. They have come up with sound mixes like ‘Buzz of a busy Texas cafe’, ‘Les charmants cafe de Paris’, and ‘Gentle hum of a quiet restaurant’ among others.
As mentioned before, all writers need an ambient environment to unleash their creative genius. If, however, you prefer nature sounds to the sound of a busy cafe while writing, then Noisli is the tool for you. It is your best productivity companion throughout the day.
You can use the tool to drown out any noises in order to better focus and increase productivity. Noisli gives you the option of customising the sounds according to your needs. You can use it to create your very own mix of perfect sound environment, tailored to your personal taste and needs. You can also use Noisli to create a relaxing environment with pleasant sounds for sleeping or unwinding. You can choose from amongst sounds like ‘Rain’, ‘Thunderstorm’, ‘Wind’, ‘Forest’, ‘Water Stream’, ‘Seaside’, ‘Summer Night’ and others.
You now have the option to not only create your own sounds, but also save them to replay whenever you want. You can also share your perfect combination with your friends on various social media websites. With Noisli’s Timer function, you can take advantage of efficient time management methods like the Pomodoro Technique. You can use these techniques to be more efficient and productive while cutting out distractions and preventing burnouts.
However, the cherry on the cake is the Text Editor function of Noisli that allows you to write in a minimal and distraction-free environment. You can either save your text locally on your browser, or you can export it as a file or to your Dropbox or Google Drive account.
There are a plethora of tools available on the internet to aid and assist you. The tools listed above are helpful and easy to use. If used consistently, they can help you become a better writer, increase your productivity and better manage your time. While you can manage everything on your own, there is no harm in using the tools available.
Increase your productivity with the SmatSocial. The AI-powered social media manager allows you to schedule, publish, and monitor conversations from anywhere.