Writer’s block is for people who have the luxury of time. ~ Jodi Picoult ~
Writing content requires focus, talent, and an ability to prove naysayers wrong. So, it’s a surprise for me to be alive and kicking this trade for this long without any of these qualities.
However – let me be honest – I won’t have survived the rough and tough of content creation if I hadn’t enjoyed using some of the best tools and apps that helped me hide my lack of skills from the prying eyes of my readers.
Here let me share some of these tools which I’m sure will assist you to overcome writers’ block and hopefully provoke you to create some of your best contents ever.
5 Tools to Pump Up Inspiration
If content ideas are eluding you, don’t worry. Here are 4 awesome tools that will push you on the track of discovering what you ought to write. Now!
For a beginning, head out to Google Trends and type in the main keyword for your next planned blog post. You’ll immediately get a glimpse of how the search term is trending over time, where it is more popular, what the related topics are, and related queries that are rising and trending right now.
As an example, for the term ‘marketing strategy’, the GIF illustration below gives you a perfect idea about the related queries that are RISING. I can select one or more of the rising search terms and start exploring what to write about them for my readers.
When you type your keyword into Soovle it automatically brings up the most popular variations across a wide variety of search engines. In the image below, the suggestive keywords are from Google, Yahoo, Bing, amazon, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Answers.com.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Let’s shift the gear a bit. From just keywords, let’s go find some kickass content headlines. You know, don’t you, that you need to obsess about headlines if you want your post to earn a second look from your readers!
Portent’s tool is the right one to find your inspiration. Enter your key terms, and keep clicking on the tool for fresh content ideas. I like the 2 shown below.
Blog Topic Generator from Hubspot
Nearly like Portent’s tool, enter a few nouns in Hubspot’s online tool as under, and get a list of 5 topics instantly generated for you. Don’t like them? No problem, try again for a fresh batch of 5 topics.
Auto-Generate Content Marketing Ideas
It’s a real-time online tool to help people during the ideas phase of a content marketing campaign. Based on what it says content marketing periodic table, the tool aims to give you an almost limitless stream of ideas for your content marketing plans.
Using the tool here are 20 content ideas I got for the audience ‘coaches’ and discipline ‘online course’.
3 Tools for Distraction-Free Writing
As a writer, you know you need to find a quiet place to work and find ways to temper the distractions. You must turn off the mobile phone, the email, and yes, the Internet too. And you must train others to respect your daily writing time.
Yet, for all that you do to avoid it, you can perhaps control only the external distractions.
What about internal distractions?
Like not knowing what to work on, worrying about imperfections, thinking how hard it is to write, feeling restless for no apparent reason, getting bored, and on and on.
For you, the easily distracted writers, let me offer solace in the form of some excellent online tools that make it easy for you to spin words effortlessly.
As the name suggests, Calmly Writer is a great tool that helps you focus on writing sans distractions.
Responsive design, dark mode, auto backup, text formatting, smart punctuation, HTML import-export, copy paste external image – you get these and much more!
The illustration below explains just a small part of the tool.
Similar to Calmly Writer, yet another excellent distraction-free online writing tool is ZenPen. Block out all distractions and concentrate on just one thing. The writing!
Though not exactly a distraction-free writing tool, RhymeZone easily scores high on usefulness because of a range of excellent assistance. For example, I find it very useful to find out all the phrases for my chosen word.
Of course, there is a lot more that the tool offers. Watch the illustration below.
3 Tools to Write Well
My friend once told me, some of the best writers, in fact, write so bad one can’t imagine.
It’s difficult to believe, but it’s true. My friend is an editor with a news publication, so he should know.
What happens is that the so-called heavyweight writers send their pieces full of mistakes because they know there are editors who will amend them.
This may give you the impression that perhaps those writers can really write well but in their hurry, they make mistakes that are then corrected by the editors. The reality, my friend says, is that they do NOT write well.
The reason I narrate this is to ask you not to worry because even the well-known writers make mistakes that we do.
However, you can minimize your mistakes when you use some of the tools I mention below.
Grammarly has add-ins for popular browsers, and after you install it, the proofreading tool assists you whenever you write something online, like a tweet, or a Facebook post, or LinkedIn article, or a WordPress post.
Grammarly even encourages you by sending a weekly report on your performance. Here is my performance in a week gone by:
- I wrote more words than 90% of Grammarly users did
- I was more accurate than 65% of Grammarly users (I need to improve on this)
- I have a larger vocabulary than 95% of Grammarly users – this is simply WOW!
Here is my performance chart for the week in question.
Hemingway app is like the final approver, a great solution to do the final check before publishing a post after you’d already put it through Grammarly.
Hemingway is a text editor whose main job is to improve the overall readability of your post. It follows what I call a slew of fault identification rules and highlights whole sentences that are hard to read. That makes it rather easy for an ordinary writer like me to improve on that.
A typical Hemingway instant fault report looks like this (image below).
A free readability test tool, Readable tests all, or part of a web page, or some texts you type in and gives a score for the most used readability indicators.
Considering that the average American adult reads at a 7th to 9th-grade level, Readable keeps your content within that range to maximize your readership, because as it says:
Understanding your audience and their readability expectations is one of the most important parts of writing.
In the example above I’ve inserted the first content paragraph under Google Trends. When I tested this with the readability tool (see image below), it concludes with the assurance that the text has an average grade level of about 12. It should be easily understood by 17 to 18-year-old.
I’ll be less than wistful to imagine that the days of early Internet era will be back somehow when content creation was only about writing something that made sense to some people.
Today there is an elephant in the room not many know how to deal with effectively. Only writing is passé, there must be more types of contents, more of newness, and more of engagement. Anything short of that means things can go awry.
With that in perspective, these 11 tools should help you improve your writing skills – from idea generation to writing without distraction, to creating jargon-free copy – and hopefully stop you from banging your head against the keyboard for too long, and help you overcome writer’s block.