Writing Tools

Writing tools for bloggersWriting good blog posts isn’t difficult when you’re passionate about your topic. But that same passion can cause you to not notice if a few (or maybe even more than a few) errors slip through. If you want to raise your writing to the next level, the following tools can help:

* Your blog software’s spelling software
This is your first line of defense against typos. That’s pretty obvious. But what you might not realize is that because aspects of the English language actually change more often than you’d think (a good example is the recent influx of Web-related terms), spelling software sometimes isn’t up-to-date. So, here’s an important caveat: if your spelling software doesn’t contain a word, or if you suspect it’s displaying the wrong hyphenation, capitalization, etc., you should refer to a dictionary or the next tool below.

Chicago Manual of Style* The Chicago Manual of Style (TMCS)
Available in print and online versions, this resource is a practical guide to editorial style. Although the online version offers easy answers to most questions that can pop up while writing, it doesn’t address all of them. You need the print version for that.

Some examples of the questions TCMS answers:

  • Should “president” be capitalized when not used in front of someone’s name?
  • What is the proper format for citing an information source?
  • Which is correct: “Web site,” “web site,” “website” or “Website”?

The online version is based on an annual subscription, but there is a 30-day free trial. Also, they offer a free-for-everyone FAQ that answers common grammar questions.

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* Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home
Send, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe, is the first comprehensive guide to e-mail etiquette and standards. Since e-mail and the immediacy of blogging are closely related, awareness of the newly emerging rules regarding electronic communication can only benefit bloggers. Written with wit and style, Send is both a great resource and a fun read. Please also read our full review of this book.

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There are obviously plenty of other good resources out there, but using even just these three will help you significantly improve the quality of your writing.

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