Writing represents a means of communication. A good writer is effectively immortal, as his words will be read decades or hundreds of years after he is gone. Most people don’t win fortunes by working as writers, but it can be a decent and honorable living.
According to a review at Mercurynews, writing is also a craft, and every craft needs its tools. Much can be said about the meditative and beneficial practice of writing by hand. However, very few writers put pen to paper nowadays.
Most use electronic means of writing as it is much more convenient and easily distributed. Still, even this medium isn’t as cut and dry as we may want to be.
What are the tools that can be used to facilitate your process, and how much will they cost you overall?
1. Microsoft Word
If we were to conduct a poll across the planet, to see what word processing software is the most popular, Microsoft Word would win by a landslide. It is part of the MS Office suite, and it has become the golden standard for what a writing aid should be.
Even its competitors have no choice but to copy its button layout, settings ribbon, and general arrangement. To put them anywhere else would simply be inefficient. That is how well-tuned MS Word has become.
Recently, more and more features have been introduced, alongside a pretty decent spell checker.
For those who are not aware, Word also allows users to integrate images, graphs, signatures, and links in its virtual pages. Of course, you can also print the result of your word, via the “Print Function”.
So why would people use anything else?
2. Google Docs
What if we took Word, but we made it online? Even though you’ll never hear them say it out loud, this is what people at Google were thinking when coming up with Google Docs.
You have almost the same layout and capabilities. Even the spell checker works at a similar level of quality. However, what sets Google Docs aside is its level of accessibility. This is an online service that is tied to your Google account.
MS Word is a piece of software that you have to buy and install. There is something to be said about owning your tools, and not renting and using other people’s storage space for free. You have much more privacy than with Docs.
There is a golden rule on the internet: if you do not see a product being advertised, then you are the product. Companies like Facebook and Google and Facebook made billions of dollars with a free product. Don’t you find that strange? How do they make money if they don’t charge you?
Well, they sell your information to who will pay for it. Taking us back to Google Docs, yes, it is free, convenient, and you can get hundreds or thousands of dollars of free value from it. But if privacy is a concern, you’re better off writing in Notepad.
But most writers, even those working for the best writing service won’t be writing compromising or confidential info. They’ll be writing articles, reviews, essays, book drafts, scripts, and whatever else their client demands. In that case, you can use Docs without worry.
Unless you’re working for the government or are writing some highly classified info, privacy will not be an issue.
There are two types of people in the world: people who have an organized and structured mind, and then you have artists. It’s hard to define, but there is an inherent element of chaos to even the most organized artist.
Art is, by its nature, boundary-breaking and chaotic. So the type of person who wishes to become an artist rarely possesses that engineering-type mind that classifieds and organizes everything.
It’s a cliche at this point, that the writer or comedian rushes to write something down on his hand, or a napkin before the idea vanishes. Scapple seems made for writers who need to mark every point and visualize any concept.
It has a very flexible interface, almost like a digital drawing board or workbench. You can play around, rearrange, point arrows, color-code, and much more. For example, if you’re writing a novel set in medieval times, you can use Scapple to keep track of a noble family’s lineage. Also, you can arrange the events that preceded your story in chronological order, so you don’t get them mixed up.
In terms of price, users will benefit from a free 30-day trial, and afterward, they will have to pay a one-time fee. This software is definitely worth its asking price, especially if what you are writing has a lot of plates spinning in the air at the same time.
If you are a modern writer, then Grammarly is your best friend. At its core, it is a piece of software that verifies your spelling and grammar.
But should you bother with Grammarly when MS Word and Google docs already have built-in spell checkers? Well, you can install it as a browser extension. This means that it can be used not only to correct spelling mistakes in your official work but also in casual conversations, Youtube comments, and so on.
In addition, this software is much more than a simple spellchecker. It’s like having your English teacher move in with you. It corrects grammar, but it also monitors tone and the way you communicate.
It also finds things that are not literal mistakes, such as phrases or words that are used too much. In terms of price, the base version is free. You will get spell checking without paying anything.
However, if you want punctuation correction, passive voice monitoring, tone, and word choice options, you have to pay for a monthly subscription. And the price is pretty spicy.
I wouldn’t buy it for a single one-off task. But if you know that you need to write regularly, it is a worthwhile investment. You can type faster and finish articles sooner, relying on Grammarly to catch any mistakes along the way.
You really can’t go wrong with Grammarly.
Quality and output rate are very important. As a writer, you need to minimize any barrier between yourself and your work. You can’t afford to waste time fiddling with settings, finding lost notes, and editing and correcting.
The products mentioned today aim at cutting back all of that tedious work, giving you more time to focus on the creative process. Depending on your volume of work, you may want to consider investing in some of these programs.