The digital age poses great challenges for people without communication skills. Due to the rise of social networks, flexible business methods (e.g. remote working), and more competitive employment environments (with plenty of opportunities for writers), everyone is expected to be both able and willing to capably express their thoughts in writing.
In addition, every business with online ambitions must invest in content marketing — and optimal results require everyone to get involved. Consequently, even if you don’t enjoy writing in the slightest, it’s important that you’re able to do it to a reasonable standard.
Thankfully, the internet provides a near-endless pool of tools and guides on almost any topic you care to mention, and writing is no exception. If you like writing, they’ll help you reach the next level — and if you don’t, they’ll help you get it done with less effort. Here are 8 writing resources worth checking out for anyone looking to improve their writing:
Hubspot Blog Topic Generator
Content marketers in particular often struggle with their content calendars. When you’re looking to schedule roughly 100 articles to be produced and released throughout the next year, you can quickly run out of viable titles, which really slows things down. Here’s the bind: you don’t need a super-specific title to start writing, but you do need a title. Any title.
When your creative juices aren’t flowing, and you run aground after sailing through 20 viable contenders, you can turn to Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator to spool out enough titles for a week. This will help you become a better writer in two ways: firstly, it will prevent excessive prevarication, allowing you to get on with the actual writing… and secondly, it will train you in the art of title-creation, eventually making you better at whipping them up.
The Hemingway App
Copy for the web in particular generally needs to be simple. You’re more likely to get complaints about your paragraphs being too dense than you are about your vocabulary is too limited. I have my personal objections (what can I say, I enjoy long sentences), but I still recognize the importance of catering to readers of all kinds.
The Hemingway App was created to give writers feedback on the accessibility and readability of their content. You paste your text into it, and it offers up scathing comments about the quality of your prose. If you’re trying to make your writing more succinct, this is a fantastic way to drill the basic demands of digital copy into your mind.
Now, there’s nothing innately wrong with using cliches, but it’s not advisable to use them too frequently. Why is this? There are two reasons: it produces copy that feels stale and uninspired, and it allows writers to get lazy. If you reach too persistently into your bag of cliches, you’ll stop thinking about what you’re pulling out.
But fear not, for you need never again rest on your lexical laurels. The Cliche Finder is a tool for doing just that: finding the cliches in your text, and pointing them out so you can prune them accordingly. It will slow you down in the short term, but you’ll be grateful in the end because your writing will have become significantly more original.
Whether you work in an office, from home, or in a trendy coffee shop, you’re beset with distractions through the ever-tempting internet. You can dodge those distractions by writing using pen and paper, but that sounds slow and exhausting. Isn’t there an alternative that doesn’t require you to disable your internet connection entirely? As it happens, yes, there is.
Cold Turkey is a free application you can install and configure to disable functions and features and tend to get in the way of your productivity. Keep feeling the urge to visit a particular site? Just block it so you can’t visit it until you’re done with your work.
Getting better at writing isn’t fundamentally different from getting better at anything else: it’s all about putting in the reps. Consistent effort will yield rewards, and that means preventing procrastination to whatever extent possible. But overcoming distraction doesn’t necessarily mean you get anything done. In fact, you can end up glaring at the screen for hours while you make zero progress.
Enter the Marinara Timer, a tweakable implementation of the popular Pomodoro timer. Instead of working in set 25-minute periods, you get to define custom timers, so you can work in 35-minute bursts if you know it suits your style. Use your timers well, and you’ll keep your writing productivity high throughout the day.
Buffer Power Words
Writing may be intensely creative, but it has plenty of little cheats for those who know to use them. Cheats like power words and phrases: chunks of language that are simply more impactful than others, and can be added to pieces of content to supercharge their potency (think of them as industrial-strength herbs and spices).
The boffins at Buffer know a thing or twenty about writing hard-hitting digital copy, and they felt inclined to share their knowledge through this list of 189 powerful words. What’s more, the words are meaningfully segmented so you can find something suitable for any type of occasion. Check it out, and give some of them a try.
Jericho Writers Editing Services
Writers can learn a lot from other writers, obviously, because they’ve done it all before — made all the mistakes, and learned from them. This is particularly the case for something in-depth like writing a novel. The editing phase is absolutely vital for trimming the fat and leaving behind only the highest-quality parts, so it’s a bad idea to try to do it yourself.
As such, if you’re looking to become the next big novelist, you might want to consider reaching out to editorial services, like Jericho Writers. They’ll actually help you with every part of the process of turning a draft into a finished novel. The value of professional mentorship isn’t something to be underestimated, after all.
There’s no shortage of free support out there for writers, and while Copyblogger may sell training courses and work as a marketing agency, it also provides a spectacular free learning experience for writers through its informative blog and free email training materials.
The About page describes it as “the most popular content marketing and writing blog on the planet”, and that’s a perfectly reasonable assessment of the reality. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the greater digital marketing world is quite important, as you’re no doubt aware, so setting aside some time every day to check the latest updates is definitely a worthwhile move.
These 8 writing resources, ranging from tools to services, can be hugely valuable to any fledgling writer with the drive to improve. Check them out to see how they work for you.