Writers have tools they use when they are writing. I’m not talking about pens, pencils, paper or word processors. There are other tools we use when we write. Even fiction writers need certain tools. I’m talking about such as a good dictionary, a thesaurus, and other such reference books. A good library is also a good tool for a writer. They usually contains dictionaries, thesauri, and other reference books. Often a library is also home to archives which can be invaluable.
The Internet also has some good tools for use. To use them a writer needs a good Internet connection and browser. Grammar software can be helpful and pricey. I use Strunk and White when I need to check grammar issues. Strunk and White is a small paperback book that goes for a couple of bucks. The cheapest grammar software I found on-line was five bucks a month. Strunk and White won’t do the analysis for you, but sometimes automation is not as good a thing as you might think. A good word processor can help you find where you may have repeated yourself. Use the word frequency function to do that. You can see how many times you have used a particular word. Then use find to locate them. You can also use the find function to find and cut back on ly words. You don’t have to cut all the ly words, but cutting down on how many you use will make your writing stronger.
I confess, I use an on-line service called Autocrit to review my work. It helps with finding passive voice, areas where I tell rather than show. Although, sometimes telling is necessary. It also finds pacing issues, repetitive sentence structure, and repeated words and phrases. It ranges from ten dollars a month up to eighty. It helps me find the problems in my writing. That’s important. While it has its challenges, like flagging ‘on the table’ as a cliché. Sometimes things sit on tables. You need to use your own judgment, it helps to keep you on track.
There is another app that can help you improve your writing. The Hemingway app is available online at http://www.hemingwayapp.com. It is free to use and that’s always good.
Of course, these are only tools. They can teach you how to write better. The more you use these tools, the more conscious you become of where your writing is weak. You may even find yourself writing stronger text to begin with. Remember the first draft of any piece can be garbage. These tools can help you polish the draft into something others will want to read. Good luck.