The American journalist Gene Fowler once remarked,
“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
Make no mistake, though – Fowler was totally lying, and writing is really hard. So let’s enlist the help of our robot overlords in order to make it a little easier.
Today I’ll share 15 apps and websites that might help you become a better writer. Some are huge, multi-faceted programs, while others are more single-purpose and can help with organizing research, planning, gaining motivation, or editing.
If you’d like even more resources to help with other aspects of your education, you’ll find even more websites, apps, and tools over at the Resources page.
If you’re unable to see the video above, you can view it on YouTube.
- Coggle – a free mind-mapping tool that can help you organize ideas.
- Storyline Creator – a mapping tool that’s built around individual characters and the flow of events in a story.
- Evernote – my second brain. Pretty much everything I write starts out as a note here. Here’s another article I wrote with additional Evernote tips.
- Scrivener – a full-fledged application for writing a novel. This is what I finished writing 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Gradeswith.
- Novlr – a new alternative to Scrivener. It seems like it has a nicer design, but fewer features. I found some recommendations for it on the NaNoWriMo forums.
- Byword – a minimalist Markdown editor for OS X. You don’t need to know Markdown to use it… but Markdown is really easy to learn.
- Twinword Writer – a tool with a built-in thesaurus that suggests alternative words when you pause in your writing.
- Write or Die – an app that will punish you if you don’t keep writing. Punishments can range from annoying noises to “Kamikaze Mode”, which starts erasing your writing!
- Written? Kitten! – a more positive take on the Write or Die concept; instead of punishing you, it rewards you with pictures of kittens every 100 words.
- 750words – the name describes it pretty well; this is a site that can help you build a daily writing habit. It’s got pretty cool stat-tracking as well.
- DailyPage – a site that gives you a different writing prompt (e.g. Write about your favorite leader) every day.
- Mendeley – I’m not a grad student, but I’d use this if I was. It’s a free tool that can help you manage research documents and PDFs.
- editMinion – a tool that can analyze your writing and pick out weak and over-used words. It can also tell you if your sentences are too short or long.
- Coffitivity – plays coffee shop noises to give you a nice working atmosphere – a good alternative to white noise generators.
- Brain.fm – a web app that uses AI to generate music that’s supposed to help you increase your focus and attention. The site even has research to back up their claims. I’ve tested it a few times, and while I’m not sure if the music is truly working or just providing a placebo effect yet, I will way that it’s pretty darn good music for working.
By the way, if Brain.fm’s style of music isn’t for you, then you might enjoy my Ultimate Study Music Playlist on YouTube. I add new songs to it often.
Lastly, if you haven’t heard it, you might enjoy the CIG podcast episode where I break down how I wrote my 27,000 word book.
Got other recommendations that I didn’t include here? Share them in the comments!
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By Julie Petersen
Online Learning Tips, Guest Contributor
Essay writing skills are important for successful careers in all professions. Whether you decide to be a marketing expert, manager, journalist, small business owner, teacher, or an engineer, you will always benefit from the ability to express yourself through well-structured content.
Communication in today’s business world is based on emails, reports, and other forms of written expression. If you don’t master the art of writing throughout your years as a student, you would be undermining your own chances of success.
In the following list you will find 15 awesome tools that will help you become a better essay writer:
- Statement of Purpose
This website’s goal is to help students with their admission papers. It is very important to understand what a statement of purpose is before you start completing your application documents. The guidelines provided at this site will teach you how to write a unique personal essay that will present you as a successful applicant.
- Guide to Writing a Basic Essay
At this website, you will not only get useful tips that will help you deal with the structure of a basic essay, but you’ll also find a great collection of links to other guides. Depending on the type of project you are working on, you can find resources that will help you understand it. In addition, you will find grammar and style resources that will turn you into a better writer.
The free membership at this website comes with great benefits. First of all, you will get a free online writing portfolio, as well as an effective way to share your own work. The features of this website may not be that important if you’re not planning on becoming a professional writer, but they will definitely help you get productive feedback on your papers.
The contests and activities will motivate you to write more and write better!
- How To Write An Essay
This is a very detailed guide written by someone who understands the troubles students go through when writing essays. Kimberly Chapman’s site has lessons on research, proposal, planning, compiling notes, writing, and finishing the essay. In addition, you can go through the examples of good and bad academic writing to see what your professors expect you to deliver.
- The Easy Essay
This is an automated tool that will help you organize the process of writing essays. Thanks to the translator, the program is effective in any language. Students at all levels can use The Easy Essay to organize their projects, since the concept can be expanded from the basic 5-paragraph paper to a format of 17 paragraphs.
- Essay Mama
This online writing agency has hired professional PhD writers and tutors, that is why you can get valuable assistance with essay writing, as well as advice that will help you discover and develop your inner talent. The blog section of the website is a real revelation; it features awesome infographics and writing tips that will inspire you to practice more.
The glossary of essay terms, citation generator, and wordcounter are great tools that will help you go through different stages of the writing process.
- Thesis Builder
The thesis statement, is an essential part of the overall paper and it can determine the success of the project. If you get stuck at this point, there is no way to come up with a good paper. Thesis Builder is an efficient tool that will help you create an acceptable thesis statement. You can see examples, but you can also generate your own thesis by inserting the needed determinants and allowing the tool to do its job.
- Essay Forum
Do you have specific questions about essay writing? At Essay Forum, you can get help throughout the various stages of research, writing and editing. Remember: you can gain the greatest benefits if you provide your own contributions, so don’t be shy to become part of the community.
- Today’s Best College Essays
When you need inspiration for your own papers, it’s best to take a look at great samples of academic writing. You can read hundreds of papers provided by students from different countries. The search tool at the website enables you to find samples of essays written on topics similar to the one you are currently elaborating on.
This is one of the best literary analysis platforms on the web. Novelguide provides educational resources that enable students to understand contemporary and classic literature better. If you are having difficulties writing a book review, this is the website you should turn to. Analyses of new books are constantly being added, so make sure to check each week for new titles.
- Essay Map
There is one certain way to make the writing process easier: create an essay map. You need to enter the name and the topic of your essay, and you’ll start going through an interactive mapping process that will guide you through specific stages. Another way to benefit from this tool is to print out the blank map and write the main points of your essay.
- Daily Writing Tips
If you want to work on your writing skills, this website is an inevitable addition in your arsenal of tools. You can read daily articles focused on spelling, grammar, vocabulary, usage, and everything in between.
As you progress through the different aspects of the writing process, you will inevitably notice an improvement in your capacity to handle academic assignments.
- Hemingway App
This is arguably the most efficient automatic editing tool out there. Before you submit your essays, you should always make sure they are readable. Some students think they will get better grades if they write “eloquent” content with confusing, lengthy sentences. They are wrong. You should always aim for clarity, and Hemingway is the app that will help you achieve that goal.
- The Readability Test Tool
This is another tool that can help you make your content more readable. It tests your work according to five formulas: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease, Flesch Kincaid Grade Level, ARI, Gunning Fog Score, and Coleman Liau Index.
Referencing has to be one of the most challenging aspects of academic writing. It’s not only boring, but detailed and nerve-wracking as well. You clearly want to make this part of your work simpler, so you’ll appreciate RefMe — a free, automatic tool that enables you to generate citations, bibliographies and reference lists in the appropriate format.
About the Author
Julie Petersen is a tutor and a blogger, who features the latest career and educational trends in her articles. At present time she is working on her first ebook dedicated to online learning. You may see Julie’s latest publications and contact her via Linkedin.
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