As an author, I’ve found some wonderful tools and resources to improve my writing and provide a better reading experience for my readers. Since these resources are great, not only for writers but for anyone who puts pen to paper–or fingers to keyboard, here are some of the free tools I recommend to help your writing shine!

Google Docs

If you don’t own a copy of Microsoft Word or would like to collaborate with another writer, Google Docs is for you. Not only is this full-featured, well-designed word processor easy to use, but it also allows you to access your writing anywhere there is an internet connection. So if you forgot your laptop on a family trip, you could still start from where you left off on another computer. Saving is automatic—so you don’t have to worry about losing your work. And the best part? You can scroll through your edits to get back to a previous point if the cat decided to play whack-a-mole with your keyboard!

It’s great for collaboration as you can share the document with a peer, who can then see your additions as you make them in real time. They can also leave comments for you and interact with you in the chat feature. You can also save your document to your hard drive in some useful formats including Word Docs, PDFs and more.

Cliché Finder

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! In this case, it’s Cliché Finder, which helps strengthen your writing by pointing out when you’re using a cliché. Avoiding cliché’s is an important consideration if you want your writing to stand apart from others and can help you take the time to come up with new, better metaphors to make your readers think.

The program simply highlights any clichés you use in your writing—giving you the option of leaving them or replacing them. Ignorance is bliss, but understanding how your writing relates to the rest of the literary world is valuable!

Grammarly

You may have seen the recent ads for Grammarly—a proofreading app that highlights typos, grammatical errors, syntax issues and more. It is incredibly useful and in many cases picks up issues your word processor may have missed. It’s certainly not the end all be all to proofreading, but it makes a great tool for working with, and the feedback is invaluable.

It also works with your social media posts, so there’s less of a chance you’ll miss that awkward sentence going out to your Twitter followers! Grammarly works as a browser extension so you can download it and start using it right away.

Readability Score

What exactly is readability? It is the education level one would have to be to comprehend your writing. Why does this matter? Because we want our writing to be readable by our target audience, it’s important to consider the education level of our potential readers—using this tool—you can tailor your readability to your audience. Readability Score provides a scorecard to tell you exactly what your readability is for your writing.

It’s a great way to avoid going too highbrow or dumbing down the content!

Read Aloud

After you’ve used all of these previous tools, Read Aloud can help you hear your writing. It works by “reading” the writing aloud to allow you to catch errors that digital tools simply can’t. The human mind is still the best tool—and this makes it easy to give it a final read through out loud.

As a writer, we’ve got to be as resourceful as we can be to create a great story. That includes our resourcefulness with the technology we have at our disposal. These are just a handful of tools you can use—for free—to make your writing stand out and grow. Did I miss a tool you cannot live without? If so, please share it with me in the comments below!

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