https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/improving-writing-skills-toolsThe 34 Best Tools for Improving Your Writing Skills
1) Daily Page"Writer's block is a comforting lie we tell ourselves so we can stop writing and go do other, more pleasurable things," said Beth Dunn, HubSpot's UX writer and editor. "If your fingers still work, you can write. Sit down at the same time every day and start typing."
Want to get into the habit of writing every day, but don't know what to write about? Daily Page emails you a writing prompt every morning, and you have the rest of the day to write your response. Once you've written your response to the prompt, you can either share it or keep it private.
2) 750 Words Another way to practice your writing is to do a "brain dump" exercise using a tool like 750 Words. "Brain dumping" means getting all that stuff in your head down on paper -- without having to worry about incomplete ideas, tangents, and private stuff.
It's not blogging or status updating -- it's just you, writing whatever you want on a totally private account, without ever having to title your content or tag topics or share with your friends.
What it does do is track your word count so you're sure to write 750 words (about three pages of writing). Plus, it's gamified, which makes it kind of fun: You get a point for writing anything at all, two points for writing 750 words or more, and more points if you write consistently. And every time you write, it'll give you some cool statistics on how much time you spent writing, the feelings and themes of your words, and so on.
Image Credit: 750 Words
3) Twords Publishing content on a consistent basis is crucial in the blogging world. Our own research concludes that companies that commit to regularly publishing quality content to their blogs tend get the most website traffic and leads -- and those results continue to pay out over time. Tools like Twords can help bloggers commit to writing consistently.
Twords calls itself "the app that nudges you to write." It notifies you when you haven't written in a while so you can keep yourself accountable -- and even gives you the option to connect with others who will help keep you accountable. It also tracks your writing so you can start to see patterns for the days you're blogging more versus less, and so on. Finally, it includes some cool resources like a prompt library and articles about habit formation, writing resources, and so on.
Image Credit: Twords
4) Your Own "Swipe File" I read about a "Swipe File" on the "Kopywriting Kourse" blog and loved the idea. Basically, a swipe file is just a folder where you can curate cool stuff you come across, like advertisements, copy, emails, etc. "Save things that make you click, sign up, laugh, or go 'whoa!'" says the post. The purpose? To flip through it for inspiration.
A swipe file can be physical or digital.
Image Credit: KopywritingKourse.com
5) Help me Write What better way to make sure you're writing about stuff your audience actually wants to read than by actually asking them? When you create a profile using Help me Write, you can post ideas of what you're thinking about writing about. Then, you can share those ideas with your network via Twitter, Facebook, email, and so on -- and ask your networks what they'd like to read most. They'll be able to vote on their favorites, and you'll be able to pick topics and better manage your time.
Image Credit: HelpmeWrite
6) Blog Topic Generator
6) Blog Topic GeneratorDo you have an overarching theme or keywords in mind for your next blog post, but you're not sure at which angle to tackle it? HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator could come in handy. Simply type in three keywords, and the tool will auto-generate five potential topics for your post. If you're not keen on the suggestions, you can always click "Try Again" and it'll give you five more topics.
7) TrelloWriting efficiently and organizing well is a part of writing well. Use a tool like Trello to collect content ideas, assign them to different members of your team, attach due dates, collaborate with other team members, track their progress, and move them from conception to completion.
Here at HubSpot, we add all our blog post ideas to Trello, turning each idea into a card that we can expand on with notes and move from list to list with a simple drag-and-drop.
8) Google DocsThere are many ways you can use Google Docs to improve your writing. For example, you can use the research tool to do online research on the topic you're writing about, find quotes or educational information, and so on (see #4 on this list). You can use it to request edits or comments from your peers. It even has a built-in dictionary.
One of my favorite ways to use Google Docs to improve my writing is by crowdsourcing ideas from my coworkers. Here at HubSpot, the blogging team uses this method all the time -- and it shaves off a significant portion of research time that goes into curated posts. The result? Better examples and more comprehensive posts with less effort.
9) Quora & 10) inbound.orgSpeaking of crowdsourcing, Quora is a great place to go for crowdsourced answers if you want to reach outside your network. Simply search for a keyword, follow topics related to the topics you're interested in, and/or post your own questions.
If you're looking for answers from inbound marketers specifically, inbound.org is a great place to source answers from professionals. Here's an example of a post where the author asked about people's productivity and time management habits.
11) Blog Post Templates & 12) Ebook TemplatesIf you're all set on a topic but need help with organizing your writing so it's interesting to read, you may want to check out our free, downloadable blog post templates or ebook templates, depending what you're writing.
Other team members can collaborate and share comments on documents in Composer so bloggers can get team feedback prior to publishing content on their blogs. Check it out in action below:
14) oTranscribe If you're writing something that includes an interview with someone else, oTranscribe is a great tool that'll make the transcription process much less painful -- allowing more time for your own writing and analysis.
There are a lot of transcription tools out there, but this one is one of my favorites. It's a web app for transcribing interviews created by Elliott Bentley, a graphics writer at Wall Street Journal. The audio player is integrated with the editor meaning you won't have to click back and forth. You can pause, play, rewind, and fast-forward using keyboard shortcuts. Every second, it automatically saves the transcription to your browser's storage. You can export it to plain text or Google Docs. Finally, it's open source under the MIT license.
CoffitivityReady to start writing? Here's a tool that'll boost your productivity. A study out of the University of Chicago found that a moderate level of ambient noise, or "white noise," helps people be more creative. While there are a lot of white noise generators out there, Cofftivity is my favorite. It offers non-stop café background sounds at varying intensities, from "Morning Murmur" and "University Undertones" to "Lunchtime Lounge" and "Brazil Bistro."
16) E.ggtimer.com & 17) Tomato TimerIf you like to write with a little pressure (or you're just on deadline), then tools like e.ggtimer.com and Tomato Timer are useful (and free). Both of these tools offer a "pomodoro" option, which refers to the Pomodoro technique: a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo based on periods of distraction-free work followed by short breaks -- which is supposed to be optimal for productivity.
18) ZenPen If you don't do well with distractions while you're writing on a computer, then use a tool like ZenPen to help block out all the distractions and focus on your writing. It's a web app that gives you a "minimalist writing zone." There are a few, minimalist features available to help you stylize the text, add hyperlinks, and block quotes. Once you're done, simply copy the text and paste it in your blog editor or wherever you'd like it to go.
19) Power Thesaurus & 20) Thesaurus.com Power Thesaurus isn't just any thesaurus: It's a crowdsourced thesaurus that provides alternative word choices from a community of writers. The word suggestions are totally original, and are based on the editorial work of a team of writers and years' worth of reviews visitors' suggestions.
But hey, when you want a good ol', regular Thesaurus, you can't beat Thesaurus.com.
21) OneLook ThesaurusIn addition to its thesaurus functions, OneLook Thesaurus also has a "reverse dictionary": users can type in a definition or group of words related to the word they're searching for and find the right word for their piece. Users can also type in a category of items, and OneLook will serve up multiple words that fall under that umbrella.
For example, here's what happens when you search for "study animals." OneLook then ranks synonyms according to how related or distance they are from the original search query. This is a great tool for when you have that "what's the word for this?" moment and can't bug your deskmate.
Image Credit: OneLook Thesaurus
22) Twinword Writer Here's another help that'll help you if you get stuck on a word and don't want to leave your browser or skim through synonyms. If you type using Twinword Writer, it'll automatically sense if you pause because you're stuck on a word. Then, it'll analyze the context of your writing and open a box suggesting alternate words you can use. You can also click any word to get suggestions.
23) Prompts If you like typing out posts or ideas using your iPhone and tend to hit a wall in the middle of a thought or idea, this $2.99 iOS app may be worth the investment. It uses an algorithm to make suggestions for what you should write next. It also tracks stats about your writing habits, can remind you to write regularly if you allow it, and lets you schedule the best day and time to write based on your writing history.
Image Credit: Prompts
24) BrainyQuote You may also find you want to include a quote from a famous author, politician, celebrity, or other public figure to strengthen your writing or inspire your readers. BrainyQuote is a library filled with millions of interesting quips that you can search by speaker (from Aristotle to Dr. Seuss to Audrey Hepburn) or by topic (like peace, success, leadership, and more).
25) Hemingway AppErnest Hemingway, admired for his succinct writing style, is the namesake for this handy editing app. Want to make your content more easily readable? Paste your text into this free web app and it'll assess your writing and identify opportunities to make it simpler. First, it sums up how readable your writing is with a grade. Then, it suggests how to improve readability. (Read this blog post for more tips on simplifying your writing.)
26) AtomicWriter Here's another tool that'll assess your writing -- but this time, it'll assess it depending on your specific target audience's reading level and which content they relate to the most. After all, writing for your target audienceis an important part of content marketing.
How? Simply hook up your Google Analytics and social media accounts to AtomicWriter, and then paste your content into the app. It'll analyze your historical data and engagement data from those accounts, and then tell you whether it's suitable for your target audience.
Image Credit: Jeff Bullas
27) ProWritingAidHere's another tool that evaluates your writing, but it boast