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Celebrate National Writing Month

by Dr. Bruce Ellis

November is National Novel Writing Month and can affectionately be referred to NaNoWriMo. As Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Whether you want to become an accomplished writer of novels or just need to improve your writing skills, here are some online tools tailored just for you. Also, if you are an English, reading, or writing teacher, consider using some of these tools with your secondary students.

NaNoWriMo Website

Yes, a robust website has been developed and dedicated to helping folks improve their writing skills as they learn to share their story. NaNoWriMo.org has pep talks from authors, regional groups to facilitate meeting other budding (and recognized) writers, as well as support to help you plan out your novel. Besides using it to develop your own story, secondary teachers may find this a perfect resource for those students who find writing to be a great expression of themselves.


Wridea may be the perfect tool for you if you are the type of person who likes to keep a notebook of ideas. As a digital version of your notebook, Wridea will let you organize and share your ideas with others. You can even share ideas with friends and have them vote on their favorites to help you choose the best idea to run with.


If you are like me, I’m not able to write for very long before it seems laborious. At that point, my sentences (and thoughts) start getting very succinct…possibly too much so. For people like us, there is a tool called oTranscribe. Though not as good as having someone else transcribe for you, it allows you to upload an MP3 or video and play it so that you can type in the area provided. To make it nicer, you can adjust the speed of the audio to match your typing speed. You can use any device to record your audio or you can use a free online tool such as Online Voice Recorder.


SpeechNotes is a simple speech-to-text tool that will type what you say as you speak into your microphone. Power-users will find the voice commands handy for making the process even more effortless. You are able to type as well, although you’ll probably find the transcription to be very accurate and easy. SpeechNotes also allows you to set the language so you can speak in a language other than English and have it transcribe in that language. When done, upload your file to Google Drive, save as a Word document or text file, or send it as an email.


If you are trying to write to a broader audience, it is important to consider your writing vocabulary and examine it for readability purposes. Rewordify is a simple tool that will examine your writing for you and make suggestions based on your preferences. You can have Rewordify automatically swap out higher vocabulary with simpler synonyms or show the suggestions within the context of the writing itself. You can paste your text in the tool or paste a URL for it to examine a specific web page.

Hemingway App

The Hemingway App is another simple tool that gives you feedback on your writing. Besides calculating the readability of your text, it will also make highlights for you to consider revising, including sentences that are hard to read, possible adverbs to remove, suggestions for simpler text for various phrases, and a check on your use of passive voice. If you like stats, you’ll find that it gives you the basics stats regarding counts for paragraphs, sentences, words, characters, and letters, as well as how long it will take the average reader to read your text. While the online version is free, a desktop version is available for purchase if you want to work without the need for Internet connectivity.

Additional Resources

If you find that you are looking for even more writing tools, then consider checking out one of the following lists:

I’ve shared several tools to help you in your journey of using technology to support your writing and hopefully make it more enjoyable for both you and your reader. We’d love to hear from you; post your comments below and tell us what tools you use to help with writing or even your favorite author to read.


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