When you’re a writer one of the first things you learn how to do is adopt various ‘voices’. Depending on the day, I switch from the cold technical voice I use to write user manuals to the creative voice I use to write fiction to the personable voice I use to write blog posts and newsletters. It’s about being adaptable. Today I want to focus on blogging. As a blogger, it’s important to identify your voice and learn how to use it to relate to your audience. Relating to your audience is one clear advantage that video has over writing. When you’re on video it’s easy for your viewers to pick up on when you’re cracking a joke or using sarcasm. That doesn’t always translate well in written content. Sometimes sarcastic humor comes across as rude, condescending, or judgmental. If only there was a tool to help identify your tone before you press publish…….
Anyway, I wish I could say that the reason I’m able to switch styles and voices as I hop from job to job to job is because I’m the greatest writer of all time but, sadly, that’s not even close to true. In fact, I rely heavily on tools of the trade. I’m sharing my two favorite writing resources with you today because let’s face it, the spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word only gets you so far (and it’s not very far).
If you want to become a better writer, and you want to do it without being publicly crucified by social media grammar Nazis, then I recommend these two easy-to-use sites:
I like to refer to Grammarly as “the best writing website ever.” Seriously, I just love it that much. It catches far more than Microsoft Word and I don’t take it as personally as I would if it was a live person making the edits. What does it do, exactly?
- It catches spelling and grammar errors, then suggests corrections.
- It recognizes ambiguity in your writing and offers suggestions for clarity.
- It calls out over-used words and recommends synonyms.
- It identifies contextual errors (such as confusing affect and effect) and offers assistance.
If you use Chrome (as I do) there is even a browser extension so it works as you write, eliminating the need for you to open another window or program. You can sign up here for free!
If you’ve ever had your humor perceived as rude, your bluntness perceived as harsh, or your kindness perceived as patronizing, then Tone Analyzer is a site you want to begin using for your writing.
It uses linguistic analysis to detect the emotional tones of your writing, then it offers synonyms to either soften or strengthen your tone, depending on your preference. It’s crazy easy, and extremely helpful. I initially used the Tone Analyzer when I was writing welcome e-mails, business proposals, and notices of late payment for an invoice; I gradually began using it for e-mails and blog posts as well. It’s a fantastic tool and it is so simple. I know you’re going to love it. Once you try it once you’re going to be tone analyzing everything, just you wait and see.
What are your favorite writing resources? Do you use Grammarly or Tone Analyzer? Tweet me @ashleyfromhp or drop your resources in the comments below.