Writing is a craft, and as a craftsman (or woman), you need tools. What are the essential tools that you need for writing? And what are the best versions of those tools currently available to you?
These are pressing questions, and as such there will always be a large degree of opinion used in recommending the answers. After all, joyfully we are all different. But at the same time, there are tools that many writers can agree on that truly facilitate the craft. Here are five such examples, including why they are so useful:
Hardly surprising, and hardly revolutionary, but year after year, for writer after writer, Microsoft Word continues to deliver for its audience.
There are negatives, of course. Despite all its updated versions, Word can still be incredibly frustrating to format, although at the same time, this word processing tool also contains an incredible array of options to do just that (too many, perhaps!).
But at the same time, it still remains the go-to for many writers. The reasons? Perhaps because it is so ubiquitous, but is that really enough? It’s uncluttered functionality, and widespread familiarity and compatibility make it still, perhaps, the number one word-processing tool for wordsmiths. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.
You may have heard of Grammarly, for example – a writing tool which assists you in the correction of spelling and grammatical construction – but there is a new kid on the block which promises just as much.
Linguix has many of the same AI-powered features as Grammarly, such as built-in spell checking and grammar recommendations, but also gives you content templates, content-creation features and added security over editing sensitive documents. Available as a web application, and as an extension on both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, this writing assistant is a highly regarded tool for writers of all abilities and types of content.
Google Docs is another high-quality word-processing tool, and it’s editing and suggesting features, along with its compatibility with Google Drive make it attractive as a live document that can be shared, added to and evolved as needed. Documents are also, therefore, accessible from any machine or device.
Is organization a bit of a challenge for you? You would hardly be alone there, but fortunately there are great tools available, such as Evernote, which exist to help writers develop their ideas, no matter how they come to you.
So, for example, you can write down your ideas on the go, or get them down using the audio notes feature. Or you may stumble across articles online which you would love to reference or draw inspiration from. Evernote allows all of this, and then the best part is that the software synchronises everything across your multitude of devices. You can also create team accounts where ideas can be shared. This is one tool that spontaneous writers can’t afford to miss!
Ernest Hemmingway was famous for his concise sentences which have the magical ability to reveal more than at first can be seen. Of course, we are not suggesting for a minute that this great app will help you mimic the writing of the literary genius, but it does state that it will help make your writing ‘bold and clear’.
That’s not a bad place to start. This style tool contains all manner of interesting and useful features such as the easy ability to count words and makes recommendations to your style of prose. In particular, it highlights your use of repetitive words, words that add little value (such as adverbs) and points out sentences that meander for too long. In short, you get a readability score that you can use to maximize the impact of your writing. Or channel your inner Hemmingway.