Awesome Online Tools And Resources For Writers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Writing, whether it be copywriting, web content, blogging, or anything inbetween, is one of the most popular, most demanded, and most sought after skill sets in the world of online work. Don't believe me? Just look at a few of the past Elance Online Work Indexes and you'll turn into a believer.

And as a writer, don’t think for one second that all online tools and resources are just for coders, graphic designers, and web developers – there's a grip of writing-related tools out there on the web for you word-smiths to take full advantage of. Here are some of my personal favorites:

OneLook: Founded in April, 1996, OneLook describes itself as “a search engine for words and phrases.” The site offers definitions and translations from over 5 million words in over 900 online dictionaries and has a robust set of search query tools so you can properly narrow down your search results. If you can’t find your word on here, it’s likely because that word doesn’t exist… yet.

GoogleDocs: As an integral part of Google Apps, Google Docs is an cloud-based text editor that boasts a healthy feature set. One of Google Docs’ strongest features is its collaboration tools – meaning while on Google Docs, you can have up to 10 people edit a document at the same time, and you can also share a document with up to 200 people. If you’re looking for other options, SynchroEdit is another browser-based editor that allows for online simultaneous collaboration.

Write Rhymes: This one goes out to all my poets, and they all know it. Okay, obviously not the best rhyming skills out there, but if you’re just as bad as I am, then go ahead and bookmark Write Rhymes. All you simply need to do is begin typing, highlight your words, press the ALT key, and a window of 2-or-3 syllable words with rhyming elements pops up. There’s even an option to save, copy, and print your new limerick, song, poem, rap, or whatever else your zany mind conjures up.

BibMe: If I had to guess, I’d guess that most writers on earth would agree with me on this: Writing bibliographies or works cited documents are the absolute worst, un-fun procedures known to humankind. I’m being a little extreme here, but if you share in my sentiment, then check out BibMe. It’s an easy-to-use, automated bibliography generator that can create entries for books, magazines, newspapers, websites, film, and more in MLA or APA format. EasyBib is another alternative, although only MLA generation is free. (APA requires a subscription.)

Advanced Text Analyzer: Who would have thought of combining analytics and writing? Advanced Text Analyzer lives up to its name by calculating a wide variety of different variables present in a document. Analyze word difficulty, lexical density, reading grade level, and more. Registration is required for the site but only takes a few moments. And after calculating this blog post, it appears that you have to be reading at the 11th grade level, according to the Coleman-Liau Grade. Neat.

Awesome Highlighter: Here’s an interesting one – highlight any text on any web page, and Awesome Highlighter creates a URL that will take anyone that clicks your link to the same page with the same highlights you entered earlier. This is a great resource for those spending a lot of time doing hitting the web for hardcore research sessions.

Any of you writing elancers have any particular tools you love to use while doing what you do best? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to add it to the list. Enjoy!

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