Writing well is an asset, if only with a bit of help from the tech gods
Not every person is a writer — not every person needs to be.
You may be an academic, a sales professional or a nurse trying to find your way through this wordy world! But, your ability to think & write in English is crucial to acing at work, and (sometimes) in life.
But here you are — your grammar makes you sweat, your clunky sentences give you nausea, and your brain explodes every time you need it to remember a word. The worst part? You know it’s far too late to revise your missed high-school grammar classes. Fret not, for there’s hope.
Here are 5 convenient & FREE writing tools that can help you lower the language barrier enough to step over it:
Trouble #1. You have lines, but not in English: Google Translate
Your ability to think in one language and write in another makes you special. So much so, there’s a word for it — Exophony. This is why Indian English authors are celebrated around the world — their mixed background allows them to explore diverse sources of information and bring unique perspectives to the table
If your writing suffers from translation glitches, i.e. when your thoughts lose meaning travelling from your mother-tongued mind onto an English paper, Google Translate is a god-send. Go through your initial draft and reintroduce your initial ideas using Google Translate.
Also, any person who writes anything must have a Thesaurus handy — it makes your writing richer, varied, and more interesting to read. Finding synonyms and related terms can help you kill it in topical relevance without repeating the same few words over and over.
You’ll see how these two tools bridge the gaps, and help keep your writing going.
Trouble #2: You tend to drone on: Hemingway
If you get your grammar on point, your writing is already above average. But we can do better, much much better. This doesn’t mean complex or jam-packed with snobbish jargon. Most people read to educate or entertain themselves — they don’t care so much about sentence construction or flaky ‘fancy’ words. They want easy breezy reads.
The Hemingway app is all about helping you write simpler. It will evaluate your writing based on how many adverbs, long complex sentences, and disposable words you are using. The lower the number, the better.
Even seasoned writers use this tool, as they realise that great literary work is not about showing off your vocabulary — it's about gaining simplicity & fluency.
Trouble #3: You’re conscious of making grammar errors: Grammarly
Have you ever sent a work email, only to realize just as you hit “Send” that you’d made a glaring typo? Well, no more.
Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant that is available while you write on Gmail, Twitter, Linked In, and most social media sites.
If you have it downloaded, every time you type something, you’ll see tiny icons appear at the bottom of your text window with suggestions. The free version of Grammarly does an excellent job of spotting spelling & punctuation errors.
Please note: Don’t go by Grammarly’s every recommendation. Once you use the app long enough, you’ll realise not every suggestion it throws up makes sense.
Unless you make money from writing or write consistently, you won’t need any of the paid features like word choice & tone adjustment.
Trouble #4: You Need Suggestions On Your Writing: Google Docs
Google Docs is a FREE alternative to Microsoft Word. It's somewhat of a hybrid between a Word Processor and a collaboration tool — you can simply share your document with other, savvier friends & family members for inputs on your writing.
Oh, the joy of seeing a cursor with their name browsing through your document, correcting errors in real-time! It's almost therapeutic.
Trouble #5: You’re struggling to organise your story outline
Milanote is a seamless creative writing app to organize your research, ideas, characters & outline in one place for free.
While most writing softwares are built based on a single linear structure, writing isn’t linear! Our heads throw up a volley of ideas, and writing becomes about untangling these jumbled up ideas into shape, and Milanote’s writing app matches the way noob writers think.
Now pick your laptop, tablet or notebook and scribble on. Some brilliant writing awaits you…