Some people hate writing. Many have no choice but to do it, whether for work or school. Growing up, I hated school, and one of the worst parts was English class essays.
However, just because English class in school is awful—and fails to teach youths how to write coherent sentences—that doesn’t mean you have to struggle with writing. Many free online resources can help improve your writing. Working in journalism, I have a few resources I use each day that help me catch mistakes. Grammarly is the tool I use most often. I’m not suggesting a purchase of the premium version of their product; the $30 per month it costs is an unnecessary expense.
It’s an effective tool that helps catch errors. The free version has two categories: correctness and clarity. It can help find basic grammatical errors and condense writing. Both are valuable tools. After using the free version you’ll notice that the software has many advanced suggestions. These often outnumber the errors it shows free users. That’s not a problem. All this means is that the software won’t tell you exactly how it would correct these errors. It shows you that the errors exist, and if you find a way to fix them, the yellow line underneath the text disappears. I often do this until I get a score near 100. Sometimes, the suggestions don’t work, and you must ignore recommendations, but most are good. The free Grammarly tool can improve your writing quality or save you time while self-editing.
Proofreading articles is also important, but sometimes when your job entails starting at a screen all day, you may fail to pick up on some mistakes. Free text-to-speech services online can help solve this problem.
I use Natural Readers and TTSReader. If you copy and paste text to these sites, you can hear a voice read your writing aloud. It helps improve writing in a few ways. You can hear someone else reading the article. Doing so helps me decide whether or not I should change the tone of an opinion article. It also helps me notice if I omitted words from a sentence; this matters because a sentence can be grammatically correct but not convey the message the author wants. On Monday morning, I was self-editing an opinion article and noticed that I forgot the word “not” after the word “should.” If the mistake went uncorrected, the article would’ve been confusing.
Additionally, ChatGPT can help people improve their writing. I’m not suggesting that people should tell ChatGPT to write an essay, email, or article and merely use whatever the chatbot produces and pass it off as their work. That is plagiarism and a lot of what ChatGPT writes is crummy. It has modest use, though. ChatGPT can be a quick research tool, especially when people don’t need to cite sources. In February, I wrote a few articles that mentioned conservative opposition to environmental, social, and corporate governance. I knew nothing about the topic and was surprised that people were bashing companies for taking actions that attempted to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions because I am a right-winger that supports free-market environmentalism. So, instead of taking 15 minutes to research the topic so I could write, at most, two sentences summarizing conservative opposition to ESGs, I asked ChatGPT for that information—and it delivered what I wanted in under a minute.