5 Fantastic Writing Tools

By | October 16, 2019

Steve Dotto here. Today, we’re going to
help you become a better writer. Well, maybe not become a better writer but appear to be
a better writer by making less mistakes, by plowing your way through writing roadblocks
by hook or by crook or by using the best tools available to help you compose more effectively
and efficiently your thoughts into a writer form, writing tools today on Dottotech. I
should have used some for my preamble. Let’s start by just talking about simple,
simple basic writing. I increasingly just use Google drive as my word processor. Why
do I use Google Drive? Because it’s online and almost all of my writing now happens online.
But occasionally I need a little bit of help. Now I’ve talked in the past about Grammarly,
which is my grammar checking editor and I’ll talk about that again at the very end today.
It’s a tool that helps me with my process of writing.
But when I’m actually just writing in Google Docs or in Google Drive—I’m still used
to calling it Google Docs—when I’m in Google Drive—I don’t know what it is,
maybe it’s getting older—I still sometimes confuse words. If you look for a list of commonly
confused words on the internet, I confuse almost all of those words all of the time
and every time I confuse a word, I have to sit there and think which word I’m supposed
to be using. For example, here at the very beginning of
this text, one of the words I have trouble with is “effect.” Is it “effect” or
“affect?” I know the difference. Right now as I’m speaking to you, I absolutely
know the difference but does that mean that 25 minutes from now when I’m writing, I’m
in the middle of writing, that I will know the difference? No. For some reason, I forget.
So within Google Drive, a lot of us just right-click on the word and look, you can define the word.
You can bring up a little definition in and up comes Google Research which tells you a
description of the word. That is awesome. You should use this a lot. If you’re experiencing
a little bit of writer’s block or some issues around things, you want to use a different
word, down in the bottom of each time they do a definition, they will give you synonyms
so you can come up with maybe a different word that works better, especially if you’re
using the same word over and over again. So tip #1 for better writing, right-click your
mouse on the word, especially if you’re in Google Docs, and use the resources that
are available to you. Tip #2, this one I really like for a whole
variety of reasons. It’s a simple little web service called Word Counter and all they
do—I’ve just copied some text in here of an article—is you ask it to go through
and how often am I using this word or these words. You can see if you’re using one word
too repetitively within the document which again allows you to go back in that if you
realize that you’re using a word too often. Now this particular document was about Bluetooth
headsets so the word “headset” being there a lot was important.
But here is an additional benefit. If you’re writing for the web and you want to write
SEO, search engine optimization-friendly content and there are certain keywords that you want
in that document to help Google find that document as it’s searching, you can use
this as well to make sure that you’ve got a number of instances of your keywords within
a document as you search it. That is a hidden benefit in this little tool called Word Counter.
Now the next tool I like just because it’s got the best title of any product that I’ve
ever seen – Write or Die 2 by Dr. Wicked. This is a word processor and it’s available
in a desktop version but the online one works great. It cost like $20 to buy the full version
but what it does—I’m going to enact her and start it playing so you can see how it
works—is as you’re writing, it plays back nice sounds. It does all sorts of nice things
for you. But if you’re not writing, if you’re not
moving along and kind of getting through the work that you have to get done, like I’ve
got 15 minutes or so here to get through this word processing document that I’m working.
So if I’m writing along and I’m saying, “It’s talking to me very nastily and I
should be writing,” now if I stop and I get writer’s block and I stop writing for
a few seconds, it starts to go kind of psycho on you. You’ve got different ways of having
it kick in. See, now it’s turning red. It’s getting angry. Let me just turn up my speakers.
It starts playing like horror music unless I start writing. Okay, I give. It gets you
kind of writing again. I don’t know if its conducive to the best
prose being written—I’ve got to pause it or it’s going to get angry again—but
when it’s happy, it’ll give you nice—okay, peanut butter and jelly time. When it’s
happy, you can have it doing things like having cats purr at you and give you nice backgrounds
and all sorts of things. But when it’s angry, when you’re not writing, it gets irritating,
sometimes horrifically so. So Write or Die 2, if you do experience writer’s block,
if you do need that little extra impetus to get through everything as you’re doing it,
it is a tool that you might consider. Now I mentioned that I used Google Drive as
my main processor. My favorite word processor of all, one from a small company in England
called Scrivener and there—sorry, the company’s called Literature and Latte and the product
is called Scrivener. It is a word processer which—I’m just going to let the video
play here just a little bit. I’ll turn down the volume here. You can kind of see it. I
don’t have it installed on this particular computer right now but I live this as a word
processor because if you are a scriptwriter, if you are a student and you’re working
on documents where you need lots organization and structure to it, this Scrivener allows
you to create kind of building blocks of whatever work you’re working on.
So here for example, each of these little snippets of text that we see on this corkboard,
they’re all editable. You can reassemble them as you go. So if you’re writing a script,
it’s great. You can have dialogue. You can have characters. You can have all these things
in these little index cards. If you’re a student and you’re writing a paper, you
can be taking notes, putting them all on these little index cards and then assemble them
later on into a word processed form. I don’t know if I’ve done justice to it
in the explanation of it right now. It’s a fairly inexpensive word processor. I think
it’s like $50 or $60 to purchase but as far as I’m concerned, for structured writing
where you’re doing a lot of research and you’re doing a lot of massaging of the content,
not for blog writing, the sort of writing that I do nowadays where it’s just 500 words
and I’m done. But if you’re writing papers, if you’re writing scripts, if you’re writing
a book, this would be the tool that I would choose without any question. Scrivener – it’s
a word processor which I think the world of. And finally if you do the sort of writing
that I do and that we all do now, we do Tweets, we do status updates and we do short, little
200-word blog posts and incredibly long 500-word blog posts, one of the things that suffers
as a result is craftsmanship. Because I’m writing to short length, I don’t pay as
much attention to accuracy, especially around spelling, punctuation in these short little
posts. Consequently, I end up sometimes looking a little bit less intelligent than I should
because I post things before they’re ready to be posted, with mistakes on them.
So I purchased Grammarly which is software that you buy online and it basically does
online grammar and spellchecking for you. Now it’s not very expensive. It’s $120
or so for a year, I think, is what I paid for it. But what it’s done for me is it’s
changed my process. I actually have a full video here which I’ll create a link to.
It’s changed my process. Because I purchased this, I actually go into it and every time
I’m posting anything at all, I just check it very quickly and it goes through and it
does grammar checking and spellchecking. It also, as a bonus, does plagiarism checking
which is awesome. Maybe you’ve been making notes, maybe you’ve been clipping things
off of the internet and you’ve accidentally incorporated them into your document what
somebody else is writing without you knowing about it, it will actually tell you if it’s
found it somewhere else, if it’s found those phrases somewhere else online so that you
can pay attention and either credit the original author or rewrite it so that you don’t actually
plagiarize somebody. For people who do plagiarize, if you’re hiring somebody to do writing
for you, it’s a great way for you to check to make sure that they haven’t posted that
somewhere else online as well. So it’s got some of those nice things going for it.
But for me, kind of rolling back, the benefit is it does catch the odd grammar mistake that
I make and allows me to look at it. It does catch the odd spelling mistake but what it
really does is by the fact that it comes up with a few suggestions is it makes me stop
and reread my work once before I publish it and I found that I’m catching far more errors
and my written communication is that much more clear and that much less embarrassing
as a result. So that is my fifth and last tool that we’re going to talk about today,
Grammarly. So there we have it. Right-click your mouse
on words, especially if you’re in word processor like Google Drive, and you can check the accuracy
of the words, you can check if it’s being used properly and you can find synonyms; you
can count your words overall in your document for search engine optimization or to make
sure you’re not being overly repetitive. If you have writer’s block, Write or Die,
which is a fairly dire situation; Literature and Latte’s Scrivener, which I think is
the outstanding word processor on the planet today; and finally Grammarly, which will help
you change your process especially for short, online posts and make sure that you make less
mistakes when you post online that way. I hope you found this video to be useful.
I know that I think all of these tips I use on a fairly regular—I don’t use Write
or Die yet but I might start using Write or Die. That would be fun. I hope you found this
useful and if you have, please give us a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe to our
YouTube channel. We would love to have you as one of our subscribers. That means you
get our videos before everybody else does, which is simply awesome. Don’t you agree?
I’m Steve Dotto. You have a great day.

56 thoughts on “5 Fantastic Writing Tools

  1. Robin Roelofsen Post author

    Great tips and well delivered. You sound very enthusiastic in your videos, and it's contagious!

  2. Thomas Tonkin Post author

    Always well done.  Have used many of your tips and find your information very valuable.  Thank you.

  3. Frank Marcelli Post author

    Thanks for this, Steve! Looking forward to following your posts in full!

  4. Reinhard Fehling Post author

    Good stuff!  I didn't know about right clicking on a word in Google Drive.  Thank you.

  5. nur sakinah Post author

    Steve…tq you so much for uploading many kinds of the great videos…but may i ask you a favor….could you please make a video "Private Cloud vs Public Cloud"..i still dont get the benefits of private cloud

  6. Calvin Croucher Post author

    Steve – I stumbled across your tech videos and throughly enjoy them.  I consider myself to be a tech export but find your style easy to listen to even if I already know the topic.  Always very interesting topics. Thanks for your efforts.

  7. Calvin Croucher Post author

    Steve – I stumbled across your tech videos and throughly enjoy them.  I consider myself to be a tech export but find your style easy to listen to even if I already know the topic.  Always very interesting topics. Thanks for your efforts.

  8. Laura Springer Post author

    I'm using Scrivener for the roughs of my PhD dissertation. So good!

  9. Cloud Lease Post author

    Thanks for sharing Steve. Very useful for our new Cloud Startup in Cupertino called Cloud Lease. Will definitely use your calendar tips. I subscribed as well. Gary Kolegraff – Founder

  10. Cesar Malacon Post author

    I already gave you my kudos! great insight! Rg this video, Don't you mind not being able to create links to other google docs? same in OneDrive, considering if I should shift because of it.
    btw do you know if I can do that in 'pages' on iMac OX 10.9.2?? bloddy thing doesn't give me the option 🙁 , it is helpful to me. Thanks!

  11. Holobrine Post author

    Do a video on NoodleTools if you haven't. It's an awesome research tool and bibliography maker. You type in the book's info and after some processing spits out your bibliography in a variety of formats (my school uses MLA). There is also a nifty feature called Notecards which gives you spaces for quotes, paraphrasing, and your personal thoughts and responses. You can tag these notecards and search for specific ones later by tag or source. NoodleTools integrates nicely into google drive and you can edit your document from their website. You can also export your bibliography to other file formats, so of nothing's else, use it for bibliographies.

  12. Holobrine Post author

    One thing I forgot to mention about NoodleTools: you can choose sources other than books and guides you to figuring out what your source is, for instance, you might be in an online database but you chose website. The best part: It's all free!

  13. ldchappell1 Post author

    What's this PRO-cessor thing? There's a lady on a TV cooking show who says that all the time. "Now put your carrots in the food PRO-cessor."  I pronounce it the wrong way like every other red blooded American. Word PRA-cessor.

  14. dartek14 Post author

    Wow .. Steve buddy!  I found you.  You were my favorite back in the day. I think it was PC Mag and Windows Mag. Thanks for the writing tips .. its coming up on 30 years in IT for me but I secretly always wanted to be an author. I am sure you were here the whole time but between reading magazines and PDFs I didn't think to look you up on the Tube.  I just might be able to keep abreast of the punks I work with regarding new Tech shizzle.  Cheers.

  15. SaraAnn Azar Post author

    LOVE THIS CHANNEL! Do you have any WordPress training? Appreciate your teaching style.

  16. Bryan Kohl Post author

    Absolutely love these! One additional tip: Utilizing the 'text to speech' function to read back your writing. I can't tell you how many times this has helped to identify errors in syntax that I would have missed otherwise. Keep up the great work!

  17. muskndusk Post author

    Sorry, grammar police here: you keep saying 'less mistakes' when it should be 'fewer mistakes'.

  18. DanSparrow Post author

    Not bad if you're writing blog entries or news for a website with not many visitors, otherwise, this is just tools for newbies.

  19. Darla Michelsen Post author

    Hi I've looked at both Ginger and Grammarly and have not seen an example of how it helps with Sentence structure. Can you tell me which one works best? I've only used free trials Thanks

  20. Anthony Riche Post author

    Great video and awesome tips, thanks!!! Heard so-so reviews about Grammarly but you seem to be happy with it. Still considering…

  21. Terence Jay Post author

    If I used 'Write or Die 2', the first thing I'd need would be a new laptop screen..

  22. Dreamwriterpoet Post author


    GRAMMERLY COST TOO MUCH MONEY! BUT use it if you can afford it. I use prowritingaid.com

  23. Milovan Filipovic Post author

    It came out that StyleWriter4 and Grammarly are the only software's that worth something. Everything else is garbage. StyleWriter4 is great, but it's full of bugs. Admittedly, there are faults, it sometimes hangs when scrolling or switching between Word and it's editing screen. That bug needs to be fixed. Especially when it freezes after you uploaded a new document. If that happens, your only alternative is to restart your machine and start all over again.

  24. Marius Pop Post author

    I love Scrivener! It's the best for long-form. Also check https://eddtor.com for medium form.

  25. Alex Petrov Post author

    Weiting tool just one !!!
    We have solution for You

  26. Fluffycutenose Post author

    I wish that google had a thing where you could put your documents and more into files like you can on desktop and more

  27. Mohit Harjai Post author

    Hey Steve, nice video and tools which you include in this video.
    You can also add, counting characters http://www.countingcharacters.com which is the online characters count tool.

  28. KingDanius Post author

    "It's not expensive, only 50 or 60 bucks"
    "It's not very expensive, I only paid like $120 a year for it" What the actual…. not expensive? Everything all right?

  29. The Novel Factory Post author

    Please check out The Novel Factory – we can give you a free licence in return for an honest review : )

  30. Tough Eagle Post author

    Hi, I like your video and I subscribed to your channel.

  31. Animation Worm Post author

    Holy cow
    404_ This could not be found.
    DAMN IT.

  32. RoccosPlace1 Post author

    I used to use Scrivener. I took a class in its use, got a book. Then I lost a project. I opened up a project I had been working on the night before and it was empty, 39,000 words gone. Not to mention the whole outline. I went for the backup, which Scrivener has a convoluted way of storing and reinstating, and it was just a bare outline. I backup my files to a cloud service in case of a drive crash, but it was just a copy of what Scrivener called a backup. I contacted my instructor, got on the forums no one could tell me where my project had gone or what I did wrong. It was just gone. Since I do not know what if anything I did wrong I just do not trust Scrivener. But, I love Scrivener's features. So, now I write in FocusWriter or Bambo Paper and cut and paste it into Scrivener. So, I can still use the features I love but if Scrivener pulls another Houdini I have another copy. I also backup the FocusWriter to the cloud. I also cut and paste to OneNote as well, color me paranoid.

  33. Juan Thomas Post author

    By using the latest Natural Language Analysis and Artificial Intelligence techniques, SpinnerChief 5 https://t.co/icDSLMxEI9 can understand articles and rewrite paragraphs and sentences automatically, y luego puede girar nuevamente en modo palabra para generar artículos hilados anidados si los necesita.

  34. Scott Ahlsmith Post author

    It will be interesting to see how Google's new AI-based grammar checker (https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/24/17607912/google-docs-grammar-checker-announced) stacks-up against Grammarly. I noticed the Grammarly beta is now available for Google Word. There's nothing better than grammar mud wrestling. Evidently, the beta version of Google's grammar checker is initially available only to Google for Business users. I'm still looking for it.

    Good video Steve. I always learn something from your weekly videos because you make me think, Thank you!

  35. cbzombiequeen58 Post author

    The problem I have with being on line to work, is that the bad people, the people that steal your work, is also on the web.
    Now, you cant completely avoid them, but I think standing in their way, is not a good thing to do.
    Most people that I've heard want to work offline.
    Scrivener would be a great program, if you can output in, doc, epub, mobi, and it has to work with pictures. I have bought the program, and I haven't used it because it because of the learning curve, it is a hug program.
    Grammary, is a well work editor, i agree. Put your work through this software, then give it to your editor.
    Thank you for the tips.

  36. ep l Post author

    Try this free writing tool Grammarly to improve grammar, word choice, and sentence structure.

  37. Ameya Joshi Post author

    Can evernote b a better writing tool fir writers. Kindly revert.

  38. Dawo Sida Post author

    I need help I am currently writing a self guide book so my question is which software should I use I currently use word and ywriter is nice but I guess it's meant for novels only


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