Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Two basic online tools every writer needs to utilize

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As I thought about my first post of the new year, I thought I’d make mention of two basic online tools every writer needs to utilize. This may not be new information for you, but perhaps it’ll spark some creative ideas you’ll be able to use. Certainly if this IS new information for you, I’m glad I could provide it.

So here are the two most basic online tools every writer should know of and use daily.

1. Google. No surprise there, I suspect. Google is so much more than a search engine that you really need to look at all their tools and options.

Just today, as a matter of fact, someone mentioned on a forum I visit regularly, that they had never thought of Google as anything but a search engine and they were surprised to hear about all the other resources Google offers for free. Go take a look for yourself. (At google.com, of course.)

Google offers a huge number of online services and tools of value to writers. They have just about unsurpassed free email available with all sorts of neat features.

And, of course, Google really is the premier search engine/directory of the Internet. Recently, I had to research a particular type of aviation wristwatch, a Swiss made brand called Torgoen watches. Never having spent more than $100 on a wristwatch, and considerably less for most that I’ve owned, I was ignorant about the brand, and really almost clueless about “aviation watches” in general. Google to the rescue.

2. Wikipedia. This may be one of the most fascinating free online resources in the universe. It’s an encyclopedia, but it is far more than an encyclopedia.

I am fully aware that Wikipedia has a somewhat tarnished reputation. For many years, as I understand it, the creator and owner of the site, as well as the few editors he had helping him, were either lax or simply too overworked to police all the user-generated entries as well as they should have. So don’t trust it as “gospel truth” if you see an article in Wikipedia. Take good notes and enjoy yourself — but try to verify with at least one other source. You do that routinely as a writer anyway, don’t you?

If you’re someone who’s not yet been to wikipedia.org, I urge you to go over there and look around. You’ll find an unlimited number of creative “bumps” there to nudge your muse into action.

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