Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekly writing coach: A page, a phrase, or a novel with these online tools

Need to crank out some writing--a page, a phrase, perhaps a whole novel, just to practice the long form? There are new online tools, challenges and more to help you:

  • Need to write a page? How about a page a day? One Page Per Day doesn't have a fancy interface--it looks like a blank page and the type you enter looks like typewriter lettering.  But you do get a gentle reminder to write a page per day, perhaps just the nudge you need to practice, try out new ideas, or focus on that ebook you've been meaning to write.
  • Need to write a phrase? Here's a new writing tool with a web 2.0 solution to phrase choices: enter a couple of options and use search results to figure out which one is more viable -- or discreetly check your proofreading. Download Squad surfaces a new tool,, which seeks to answer the question "how many times did you come up with two ways to say the same thing, and couldn't decide which one was the best fit?" Check out your phrase alternatives and find out the one more commonly used.
  • Need to write a novel? This will push you past a page a day, let alone a phrase: It's almost National Novel Writing Month, fondly known as NaNoWriMo, the effort to encourage you to write a novel (that is, 50,000 words) in a month. You'll find tips and support for getting through the marathon on the website, but you may also want to try the preview of Scrivener 2.0, offered just for NaNoWriMo. It's described as a "powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft."  Cheers to that!
If you've used these tools, share your reactions in the comments.
Learn how to be a dynamic speaker in my next two-day workshop, Good on Your Feet: A dynamic speaking skills workshop, November 3 and 4 in Washington, DC.

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