Writing is a skill that is often undervalued, even though everyone needs writers nowadays. They produce content for every possible website, and their skills will be needed as long as we have the World Wide Web.
Whether it is composing an email, preparing a website copy or brushing up the latest blog post, good writing skills are critical to professional presentation. Thankfully, perfecting good writing skills is actually easier in the digital age than ever before thanks to a wide range of digital tools. Here are 5 ways to use technology to improve your writing skills.
1. Use Spell Check
With most apps checking the spelling for you, we have grown accustomed to writing hastily because software takes care of any typos or misspellings. Unfortunately, that same software might have a wrong guess and just as likely autocomplete with the wrong words instead of the right ones.
While typos and misspellings may be excused on chat apps or instant messaging programs, documents, emails and blog posts should be carefully spell-checked and proofread before sending and publishing.
In many cases, when you have recently written something, you may actually sail right past a typo or grammatical error because you know what the email says, so you read what you expect it to say. If at all possible, set emails and documents aside for a few hours before sending and then check them again. You might be surprised how many errors you will catch when you forget what it says.
2. Use Grammarly
Spell checking your documents is a great first step, but it will not help you with commonly misused words such as “there, their and they’re” or “should of instead of should have.” Grammarly, however, will not only catch misused words, but it will also help you use correct punctuation and avoid common mistakes like fragmented or run-on sentences. While no one expects you to produce a literary masterpiece, Grammarly can help you improve your writing one correction at a time.
3. Brush up on your Skills or Learn Something New
There is no shortage of free courses onlinethat can help you do everything from brush up on your basic writing skills to mastering your business communication skills. While many of these courses are paid courses that are offered as part of a degree program, you can always audit them for free.
If you want to go the totally free, quick and easy route, Khan Academy offers a number of different tutorials on grammar, punctuation, and syntax. You can even take courses in journalism if you want to start a company newsletter or write for various trade publications.
4. Collaborate on your documents
It is said that writers make the worst editors and this is true to a point. Writers can actually be exceptional editors of other people’s work, but not their own. You don’t need to hire a professional editor to read everything you write, but you should subject it to at least one fresh set of eyes, if not a few.
Since most of the writing already happens in software suites like Office 365, it makes sense to use their collaboration tools and software to work together on editing. OneDrive is part of the Office 365 suite that is used primarily as a cloud storage solution, but you can use it to share documentswith coworkers, your clients or other collaborators. They can make notes in a sidebar or even make edits to the document that can be tracked. You can even set up access and sharing permission in such a way that should anyone you shared documents with want to share it to somebody else, they will first need your approval.
5. Start blogging and do it regularly
One of the very best ways to develop your writing skills is to use them frequently. Good writing is more than just writing that is free of typos, misspellings and punctuation errors. Good writing communicates thoughts and ideas in clear, compelling language.
The truth is that in the digital age, it may be more important than ever before to master the art of communicating textually because everyone does it. Companies around the world invest heavily in developing the right tone and voicefor their consumers. They use creative writing for marketing and advertising, focusing heavily on increasing sales and getting more followers and customers. The time may come when you have to land a client half a world away via a compelling email or pitch or secure an important job interview with a well-written cover letter. Writing a blog can help you hone your written communication skills to samurai sword sharpness.
While technology is making it more important than ever before to develop good writing skills, it is also making it easier than ever before to do just that. From online editing tools to online classes, the ways in which you can use technology to improve your writing skills are almost limitless. No matter what kind of help you need, technology can offer it.
Jasmine Williams is a writer specialised in business and marketing, who loves to cook and dance and you can find her on Twitter @JazzyWilliams88.