7 great free tools for improving your writing

By Doug Aamoth

July 26, 2021

It’s always a great time to become a better writer—and never more so than right now. Thanks to a generous assortment of free apps, sites, and tools, we wordsmiths have a modern-day treasure trove of resources at our fingertips.

From grammar help to writing prompts to full-blown office suites, these no-cost tools can work wonders to improve your skills.

Good grammar with Ginger

If you find yourself second-guessing every sentence you string together, you might want to lean on Ginger for help. Powered by artificial intelligence, the service deftly spotlights misspellings and grammar gaffes, and can suggest fancier phrasing and smoother synonyms for all of your writing endeavors.

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It’s available as a web browser extension and a Microsoft Word add-in, and there are desktop and mobile versions as well. The free version offers limited corrections and suggestions, but should be good enough for light to moderate use. Check out grammar checking’s 800-pound gorilla, Grammarly, as well if you haven’t already.

Clear and concise with the Hemingway Editor

The free Hemingway Editor was developed to help writers improve by way of a “readability” score, which shows how difficult a piece of text is to read.

Features include a sentence checker and word count, as well as a color-coded sentence analysis that highlights general weak points such as passive voice, overused words, complex phrases, and more. It then provides helpful tips that you can use to make your writing better.

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It’s a great tool for short to medium-length musings, but if you’re looking for something even more powerful, read on.

Plenty of power with Slick Write

If you’ve every wanted to really analyze your own writing, Slick Write is here for you.

Part web-based word processor, part statistical wonderland, Slick Write can ingest documents you’ve written in other programs or help you write in real time.

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This free, ad-supported tool checks grammar, offers feedback, and breaks your document into pie-chart-filled reports to address passive voice, prepositional phrases, readability, vocabulary variety, sentence types, and a whole bunch of other stuff you might not have even thought about until you started using the tool.

The built-in “word associator” feature helps you bust out of writer’s block. And a truly impressive settings menu lets you choose the areas of your writing you’re looking to improve.

Live a Word-like life with LibreOffice

Want Microsoft Word without the price tag? LibreOffice is a free suite of office applications that includes apps for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, diagram drawing, and more.

Its word processor, Writer, provides a great way to produce and edit written content, with a Word-like look and feel and the ability to export documents in multiple universally compatible formats. It comes with an interactive spell checker and grammar checker as well as a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary, among other features.

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LibreOffice is free yet extremely fully featured thanks to the open-source community, and can be installed on Windows, MacOS, and Linux operating systems.

Free ideas with Writesonic

Positioning itself as an AI-based copywriter, Writesonic offers several for-pay features that’ll crank out writing automatically on your behalf.

However, there are a handful of free features that are great for generating ideas for blog articles, landing-page headlines, YouTube titles, analogies, product names, and more.

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It’s a good service to check out if you’re on the hook to come up with something . . . anything . . . but you’re not quite sure where to begin.

Write the next great novel with Reedsy

First and foremost, Reedsy is a freelance marketplace where writers and editors can connect with potential clients who need their expertise.

The site also has a dynamite free book-writing tool that features an unobtrusive interface and the ability to edit collaboratively. Once you’re done writing something, it formats your work for export to popular e-book formats such as PDF and ePub.

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You can segment your writing into chapters that can be moved around between sections by simply dragging and dropping them where you’d like them to appear. That makes Reedsy great for writers who don’t produce content in sequential order.

Torture yourself with The Most Dangerous Writing App

And finally, if your brain just isn’t cooperating and you need to force it into high gear, there’s the Most Dangerous Writing App, a free web-based nightmare from writing platform Squibler.

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You start by getting one of several randomly surfaced writing prompts (things like “It was the trip of a lifetime, yet . . .” or “The whole family had been cursed since . . .”) and choosing a session time between three minutes and an hour. Then you start writing. The catch? If you stop writing for more than a few seconds, your work self-destructs—lost forever in a mist of technological ether and salty tears.

I’d say it’s fun, but that’s not quite the word for it. Whatever the case, it’ll get your brain engaged and your fingers flying.