8 Online tools to help improve your writing

The internet is full of writers, both good and bad. Thankfully, if you find yourself leaning toward the latter category or you just want to beef up your scribing skills, there are plenty of free online tools and resources for improving your writing

1. Orangoo

Bloggers: have you gone through some of your old posts and realized you have some pretty gnarly spelling or grammar mistakes? For peace of mind, run your URL or enter a large block of textthrough Orangoo’s online spell checker and find those errors. Alternatively, you can try Spellist.com.

2. Tip of My Tongue

We’ve all been there: There is a magical word that encapsulates everything you’re trying to say, but you can’t quite figure out what it is. TOMT lets users input either a part of the word or the definition of the word and outputs suggestions. (It successfully guessed that I was thinking of the word enunciate.)

3. One Sentence

Writers often use tons of words to explain a concept, but can it be explained with just a few? The Twitter-esque site challenges users to write a narrative in just one sentence. Blogger/journalist Jen Connic says it is a great exercise for flushing out the lede to a story.

4. keybr.com

If it’s your keyboard skills that need work, check out this Flash-based site that offers typing tests that show how you’re performing as you time. Also, a great way to determine your personal typing speed.

5. The Blogger Spelling Test

There are a number of common words and homophones that trip up writers and bloggers alike. Test your writing prowess with this quiz and learn from your mistakes.

6. Confusing Words

If you find you didn’t do so well on the spelling test, click over to Confusing Words for a database of commonly misspelled words including lay/lie and effect/affect.

7. Listen and Write

One of the most difficult tasks as a journalist is the stage between the interview and writing: the transcribing. Improve your transcription techniques by listening to audio clips and writing what you hear.

8. WebSource.it

Is it “alright” or “all right?” By inputting both terms (or any pair of phrases) into WebSource.it, you will discover that according to Google popularity the correct term is “all right.”