Recently, a friend messaged me, pointing out that my writing style had changed and no longer sounded like my own but rather like Chat GPT. Initially, their comment stung, as I had been working on improving my writing for months. However, upon reflection, I realised this was an excellent opportunity to share the tools I rely on for my non-academic writing.
As a bilingual individual who lived in two distinct countries with contrasting languages, I must confess that I struggle with grammar and "big words” in both languages. These tools have allowed me to accomplish things I never thought I could do in the written word. I view them as valuable aids for individuals seeking to enhance their vocabulary and skills, and I have no qualms about employing them to facilitate my growth as a writer. I strongly believe in “Fake it till you make it!”.
Every good piece of writing begins with an idea, and once it takes root in my mind, it tends to float around, taking shape during moments of respite, such as migraines or when I am about to fall asleep. I've followed a similar process during my web design endeavours, using it as a form of meditation. I start "writing" paragraphs, often lacking a coherent flow initially, which gradually evolves over a few days.
When I feel that enough paragraphs have formed and a structure is beginning to assemble itself, I reach for my iPad and open my favourite writing app. As an avid note-taker, I prefer doing so by hand, and for this purpose, I rely on Nebo to digitise my handwritten notes automatically.
This remarkable app saves me the hassle of retyping everything, effectively deciphering my incoherent scribbles. Once I have my digital notes, I will transfer them to my laptop for the next step.
My AI helpers:
Before the advent of Chat GPT, I used various apps to assist in this phase. Here are a few I used to use.
Hyperwrite was used when I couldn’t find anything more to say on the subject but just needed those 1-2 more sentences of waffle (which I am terrible at). If you add any thoughts into the upper write-hand box and hit "Autowrite" it will generate a few options that you can choose from. It's not ideal and it needs finessing, but it's very helpful when you're a bit stuck.
DeepL is a great tool for paraphrasing. It doesn't really change the text, but changes the wording so it's a little more professional and polished.
Co-Schedule not only aids in crafting attention-grabbing titles but also provides valuable insights by analysing your title and assigning it a score. This score proves incredibly helpful in understanding how to tweak the wording to maximise its catchiness.
And then over to Grammarly for a thorough spell-checking. I bought the full subscription a few months back, and not a week goes by that I don't use it. So for those of you who want to write more, even stuff for work, this tool is a "must".
However, with the introduction of Chat GPT, most of these functionalities are now consolidated within the platform. I primarily rely on it to refine specific sentences or seek ideas to expand upon certain thoughts. Following this, I turn to Grammarly for a meticulous spell-checking session.
The above paragraph before:
And after Chat GPT support:
When composing advertising posts for blogs on LinkedIn or Instagram, I lean on Chat GPT for assistance. Historically, I have struggled with these types of posts, but through prompts provided to the platform, I have discovered an effective method for creating attention-grabbing content.
I firmly believe that the process I've described above is not cheating or something to be ashamed of. It's akin to utilising kitchen tools to expedite the kneading process or a dishwasher to handle the dishes. While most people can knead the dough and wash dishes (my husband excels at the former, and I insist on him doing the latter with a dishwasher), leveraging technology enhances efficiency, freeing up time for other stuff. Ultimately, isn't that the true purpose of technology—to empower us to accomplish more?
My journey as a writer has been transformed by embracing writing tools. They have allowed me to bridge the gap between my limitations and aspirations, amplifying my creativity and enabling me to express myself confidently. By sharing these tools and my process, I hope to inspire others who may feel hindered by language barriers or writing challenges. Let's embrace the opportunities technology offers, honing our skills and enhancing our writing prowess, one word (or prompt) at a time.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-sitting-at-the-table-4959781/