Article Writing: Tools of the Trade


As you are probably starting to notice, using different tools can really impact your productivity. Speed Writing isn't just about how fast you can type, it's also about the many technical aides that are available now due to the power of modern electronics. Yes, many of them cost money to get, but they also end up being a great investment that can pay you back by freeing up additional time, and some will even help maintain your sanity and health too as you start to mass produce articles for the Internet.


So, without delay, let's get started discussing the great products out there that can boost your productivity into the stratosphere!


Dragon Naturally Speaking


Once you start to type article after article, maybe an eBook in between, you might start feeling the beginning symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a very serious disorder that affects the tendons in your hands and can cause a great deal of pain. It can keep you off the keyboard for long periods of time too! So, getting a program that saves your wrists while it increases your writing speed is really a great investment for you as a content developer.


This program, Dragon Naturally Speaking 11, is a godsend for Internet marketers who may have a good idea of what they want to say, but have very poor typing skills. It allows them to speak and have the program type the spoken words into a word processor for you. It may take a while to get used to, but the newer version has about a 99% accuracy rate. You will still need to proofread your work before you send it, but generally that makes it even easier to do. If you type something, you will notice that reading it over for grammatical errors is harder for the writer, and that's why people generally hand off their work to others to proofread. But, if you speak the words, your eyes will see the words as new and won't be as likely to filter out the mistakes when you proofread.


If you can't imagine how much this program can speed up your writing, think about this.


Nuance.com, the makers of Dragon Naturally Speaking 11, estimate that people typically type less than 40 words per minute, but can speak up to 120 words per minute. That's three times faster! So, if you get into the hang of using this program, you will have the potential to be three times faster than normal!


Now, that isn't the only benefit you get with Dragon Naturally Speaking 11. You can also search the web much quicker by using web commands to do your surfing. In fact, you can even create word commands that allow you to insert blocks of texts or images into your documents. This is particularly effective for inserting signatures. The program isn't just used with Microsoft Word. You can also use it with Outlook, Excel, Corel, and WordPerfect. There is even an option to use a hand held device when you're not near the PC to later use with Dragon Naturally Speaking to insert into your documents. It is also compatible with nuance-approved Bluetooth headsets.


The program is pricey at $199 plus shipping and handling fees. But, it is a software program that is guaranteed to save your wrists and speed up your writing with dramatic effects. Please see the resource section to find a link to this product which is available at http://www.nuance.com .


Here's another great program that isn't nearly so expensive. The Visual Thesaurus, available at http://www.visualthesaurus.com, generates a blossom of related word branches from a single word that you put into it. As you see them visually, you can also drill down by clicking on any word in that layout. This is great for brainstorming word lists. It is based on a monthly or a yearly subscription of $2.95 per month or $19.95 per year.


This little online tool can help you generate your power words much more quickly. This will help you build customized word lists on any topic that you can imagine or think up. What's even nicer is that this tool is based on a community concept. If you want to look up other people's word lists, you can! That can save you enormous amounts of time creating power word lists. It comes with over 145,000 English words with 115,000 associated meanings. You can even use this tool with several different languages: Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, and French.


MindManager Pro


This tool is used in our system to create brainstorming sessions that not only increase the speed with which you do steps two and three, structure and research. This program retails for $349, but is well worth it. You can not only map your ideas, but you can also write your articles within the mind mapping program. You can go across more than one page and see everything at once. It's a great way to create outlines that include all your relevant research notes too as each of the branches allows you to inserts notes. You can include links to website URLs, insert images, spreadsheets, and other types of research information that can be helpful when writing the articles. After you're done you can export it to Word and finalize your copy there.


Inspiration


This is another mind mapping program, but it costs much less: $69. You can do about the same things you would do in MindManager, except for generating a table of contents. These programs are great for representing your brainstorming ideas visually, and Inspiration comes with a symbols library.


Inspiration comes with 65 different templates that can help you jumpstart your projects. Another 60 templates are available from other sites. So, if you're not sure how to get started doing a mind map, you can open one of the templates and let it guide you through a sample one. It will give you an idea of how to organize your ideas and thinking.


A good mind map will help you to visualize the inter-relationship of various aspects of your research and ideas. It will help you to organize your thoughts and even use it to create articles that have a sound structure. Then, you can export it to Microsoft Word to finalize the articles there.


Rack And Write


This tool is great for generating multiple titles or topics from a few keywords. It is available at http://www.rackandwrite.com. The Rack and Write tool asks for a total of nine to eleven keywords. They are as follows:


  • Adjective: A power word descriptive word.

  • Person 1: A person that the article is geared towards.

  • Person 2: A person that the article can be geared towards.

  • The Action: Describes what Person 1 might do (Verb).

  • The Action 2: Another verb, this one with an "ing" ending.

  • Thing: This is a noun that relates to Person 1.

  • Thing 2: Another noun.

  • Place: A place that might be involved in the topic.

  • Place 2: Another place that might be involved in the topic.

  • Industry: The type of business this refers to.

  • Problem: A brief problem statement, 3 to 4 words.


After you add the words you want, Rack and Write will generate some example titles. Not all of them will make sense, but it's a great way to develop titles easily and quickly.


Browsers


Your internet browser may not seem like a big deal but if you use the web a lot for resources or even for writing then you should definitely take this into deep consideration. The browser you use can substantially affect your productivity and efficiency while completing web-oriented tasks like e-mailing, researching and brainstorming. Most people use Internet Explorer because it comes with Windows-based computers. Windows Explorer has had a lot of improvements since version 6 but even with the massive improvements now in version 8 (and soon 9) it doesn't hold a candle to some of the more efficient and extensible browsers out there.


Firefox

Firefox is the most popular web browser besides Internet Explorer. It's extremely powerful and fast which is exactly what you'll be wanting for creating a crapload of content fast! Firefox is well-known for having a myriad of security features and an extensive collection of add-ons that significantly improve the functionality and efficiency of the browser. Many of these are business-centric and will help you do things faster and easier. You can get a free copy of Firefox here: http://www.mozilla.com.


Google Chrome

Chrome is a relatively new browser made by Google. This browser is quite popular for its speed and efficiency; you may have seen TV commercial where they compare the speed of chrome to things like lightning strikes or gravity. Chrome is a bit simplified and has fewer extension and security features than Firefox but it's still a great, fast alternative to Internet Explorer. You can get a free copy of Chrome here: http://google.com/chrome.


Open Office

This product is very much like Microsoft Office, except it is open source and thus available for free to download. It takes much less space in memory, but it doesn't have all the nice features of Microsoft Office. However, if you just need a good word processor that can convert to Word when done, this is the ticket for you. Updates are free, unlike updates for Office and that saves you quite a bit of money in the long run. You can get a free copy of Open Office here: http://www.openoffice.org