Our 5 favorite writing tools for quick content generation (part 2)
We’re back with the next installment in our series on our favorite content marketing tools. Last week’s focus was on the planning and brainstorming steps in the content marketing pipeline–take a look here! Today, we’re shining the spotlight on our top writing tools. Made for hardcore writers, each has differentiated themselves to address a different use case. Some writers employ 5 or 6 different tools to cover every step of the writing process –some of them simultaneously–and that’s inspired the way we’ve laid out today’s article, laying it out from start to finish.
1. Evernote (specifically its browser extension)
We love Evernote because, as what is primarily a note-taking tool, it bridges the gap between researching and writing. The workflow is something like this:
- Build up a small repository of articles and blog posts relevant to your article by clipping them to Evernote using the Evernote browser extension.
- Include a written snippet of your own for each article.
- When it comes time to write, you already have a functional outline with all the links ready to go.
For the actual writing process, however, we’ve found that other tools offer more interesting features, which brings us to…
Yes, Ilys. Ilys is in/famous for its unintuitive but clever central feature, which literally forces the writer to not look back. Seriously! You tell Ilys how many words you need to get to, and as you write, the only thing displayed on the screen is the last letter you typed. You don’t get to proofread or second-guess yourself until you’ve hit your word limit. Rather, it locks you in and drags ideas out of you from places inside you didn’t think existed. This is an excellent tool for breaking a writer’s block if you can get over the initial confinement. In our experience, you definitely can.
What if you’ve got no problems with writer’s block, and you just need some grammatical polish? Or better yet, you’ve imported your sprawling stream-of-consciousness epic screed from Ilys and you need to cut down and reorganize. Grammarly offers context-specific suggestions to improve your writing, from adding in hyphens for clarity to subject-verb agreement. You can use it as a browser extension, an in-browser editor, or as an app.
Hemingway distinguishes itself by offering not grammatical suggestions, but stylistic suggestions. This means that you won’t receive the kind of refinement Grammarly offers; rather, you’re challenged to remove components of your writing that may seem fluffy or superfluous. Things like adverbs, [overly] complicated words, and labyrinthine sentence structures are all marked for removal in favor of powerful words and concision. It’s not for everybody, but those who benefit improve a ton.
If you have all the bases covered and just need to write without distraction, ZenPen offers the cleanest writing interface around. The above picture says it all: nothing but text and the faintest menu interface on the left hand side. In my experience, just the simplicity of the interface draws me in and I find myself finishing pieces in half the time I expect.
For anyone who writes–not just content marketers–these tools are invaluable. Because each tool has its own distinct purpose, there’s not a whole lot of overlap. If you want to break through a writer’s block, throw out weasel words, or get lost writing for hours, check them all out!
If you’re ready to publish, take a look at Alto Social’s features. We support every step of the content marketing pipeline and love getting small scale marketers off the ground–for free.