tools (2)

I discovered this little tidbit on a blog for writers who have Word 2010. I'm not a computer Guru, but It actually works! I only wish the voice sounded like Morgan Freeman.

"If you have Word 2010 you have, as a writer, a brilliant free tool at your fingertips. How many times have you wished that you could “hear” your own work back so that you can tell immediately whether it sounds right?

It takes a few minutes to install this tool but it is worth every second. Once you have this on your tool bar you simply highlight the paragraph you wish to hear and click on the microphone icon to hear if the words flow."

Just follow these simple instructions.

Open a document in Word 2010.
Right-click anywhere in the Ribbon underneath the HOME tab and click “Customise the Ribbon.”
Right-click HOME in the Right-hand pane.
Click “Add New Tab.”
Right-click New Group then click RENAME.
Give the group a suitable name such as Narration - or similar.
Choose a relevant symbol from the grid (i.e. microphone) then click OK.
Click the Dropdown menu headed “Choose commands from.”
Select “All Commands” then scroll down the left-hand pane and click SPEAK.
Click the name you have used (i.e. Narration) in the right-hand list.
Click the “Add” button in the middle of the screen and then OK.
The SPEAK button will now appear under the HOME tab (if you have too many buttons on the ribbon, it may appear in a New Tab at the top).
Highlight a section of your text. Click the SPEAK icon and sit back and listen to your work!

ParaDon Books Publishing

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Helpful Tools for Freelance Writers

If you work  as a freelance writer,  there are several websites and software programs that are very helpful.  These tools  allow you to collect information you find when you're researching your articles, check your writing to make sure it's not plagiarized, and make sure your writing is clear and understandable.  The tools I'll discuss in this article are Evernote, Hemingway, and Copyscape.

Evernote - This is my favorite software program for keeping track of information I find while doing research, as well as making text notes to myself.  Evernote allows you to create notes that can have text, photos, and even voice notes in them.  In addition, you can save webpages to Evernote using add-ons for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.  You can also organize your notes into notebooks, and these notebooks can be private , or you can share them with others .  Another thing I like about Evernote is that you can not only use it on any computer, you can also download Evernote apps to your phone and tablet devices.  

To start using Evernote, go to the Evernote website and create an account.  Then choose whether you want to use the free version of Evernote or upgrade to a paid account.  I use the free version - I find that it provides more than enough space for all the information I collect and the notes I create.  However if you want more space, as well as access to additional features, you may want to take advantage of one of the paid options. 

Hemingway App - Hemingway is a website that helps improve the readability of your text.  You can copy and paste anything you're working on into Hemingway, and it will highlight sentences in different colors based on how  hard they are to read.  It also highlights words that can be replaced with simpler words, and phrases that use the passive voice.  It also shows you the word count, how many sentences, paragraphs, and characters are in your document.  It assigns a grade to your document based on how difficult it is to read. To use Hemingway, just go to the  website, delete the text that's there, and copy and paste your own text into the editor.   They are checking to see if there's a demand for a desktop version, so if you're interested in seeing a desktop version, don't forget to put in your email so you can be notified when it's ready!

Copyscape - If you write for a living,  it's important to make sure your content is 100% unique, especially if you write for the web.  Copyscape can help you do that.  Copyscape is one website that you will have to pay a small amount to use.  To check your work for plagiarism,  sign up for a Copyscape Premium account.  Go to this website and click "sign up," and go through the process.  Then you'll have to purchase credits.  The credits are good for a year - the minimum number of credits you can purchase if you're using a credit card is 100, which costs $5. However if you want to use Paypal, the minimum number you'll have to purchase is 200 credits.  After you've set up your Copyscape account and purchased credits, all you have to do is copy and paste up to 2000 words into the text box on the Copyscape website.  Copyscape will come back and show you any websites that contain any of the content you copied and pasted.  If Copyscape does find duplicate content, you can then make changes so that your writing expresses the same ideas in different words. 

These are a few tools that I feel are essential for freelance writers.  If you're interested in finding out more about working from home as a freelance writer, be sure to check out my book "Your Work at Home Journey - Three Paths You Can Take and What You Need to Know Before You Go," which is available on Amazon. 

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