Writing is a lonely job. Be it an essay, a novel, or a nonfiction gardening manual, it is generally one person and a keyboard, or pen and paper for those who prefer the old fashioned method. That’s why so many writers have struggled in the past because when they hit a wall in their writing, they don’t know where to turn. That’s why this age of technology has become the best thing for writers because they now have numerous online tools to help them improve their writing skills, no matter their experience level.
Anything can spark an idea for a story, but sometimes the world around you offers nothing in the way of a quality project. That’s where online writing prompts come in. There are numerous websites that offer prompts for all writers, no matter their age or skill level. Whether you prefer picture, objects, or even first line prompts, there is a site that can help get those creative juices flowing.
Grammar Tutorials and Paper Writing Guides
Whether you are just learning to write or just brushing up on the rules of grammar, online tutorials and paper writing guides are a great way to keep the rules of writing fresh in your head. This will improve your writing and make it easier to get those projects published, or give students the high grades they need to reach their educational goals. I would recommend EnglishGrammar101 as a great place for excellent grammar tutorials and SolidEssay if you are looking for “how-to” paper writing guides.
Apps for Tablets and Smartphones
When looking for writing tools, there’s an app for that. Jotterpad and Drafts both let writers quickly jot down their ideas wherever they are. iA Writer includes features that highlight any chosen part of grammar; from nouns to adverbs to conjunctions. It also comes with a document library, focus mode, and a few export features. Even Microsoft Word has now come out with an app to keep all writers doing what they love.
Online Dictionaries and Thesauruses
When writing in the park or on the subway, reference books are usually left at home. So, when stuck for a word, or unsure if you’re using the correct one, go online to the Oxford Dictionary website, and browse around for what you need. Not only is the correct spelling available, but they also offer synonyms, different meanings, and sample sentences. Alternate spellings for different countries are also given for those who need it.
Some people are better writers when they use pictures to keep their ideas straight. That’s where graphic organizers come in. There are a few different tools to do this, including concept maps that show relationships between multiple ideas, web maps that show how different sections of ideas relate to each other, and mind maps that contain a central idea with related topics that branch out to broaden the concepts.
Even the best editors miss a spelling mistake or misplaced comma. Proofreading software can find those hidden errors and ensure the finished product is as clean as possible. The best part is that many of them go beyond simple spelling errors. Some have features that correct grammar and usage, rephrase awkward sentences, read your text out loud, and even have translators for those who require another language in their text that they are not fluent in.
Speech Recognition Software
Every writer has the ability to speak much faster than they write. That’s why speech recognition software has become so popular for people in every field. From journalists to lawyers to students looking to update their status on social networks or send off quick emails to their friends, software like Dragon has become their most used tool. It not only records dictation for writing projects or outline ideas, it can also help to navigate your computer, create spreadsheets, and even do some editing.
Having outlines, stories, essays, or other writing projects saved on a home computer is great, but this means you can’t access them when you’re at work or travelling. That’s where Evernote comes in. This program allows anything that has been saved in the program to be accessed from any other personal device, no matter where you are. Pictures, notes, documents, even scanned handwritten pages are available. And Evernote even allows stored items to be shared as the user sees fit.
Having a community to discuss ideas, issues, or successes with is something everyone needs, and writers of any kind are no different. There are many forums for writers to visit online, to find like-minded individuals who understand every moment of fear, excitement, and even the hubris that comes along with creating something so unique. They can offer critiques, advice, and resources for any topic, and make the writer’s world a little less lonely.
Author Bio: David Mitchel is a freelance writer who has contributed to multiple websites in the education field. One of his recent publications is on how to write a psychology report.