Search for example sentences

If I’m not confident with how I’ve used an expression, I will google the turn of phrase inside of quotation marks, and if I get Google Books results with similar examples then I know I’ve used it correctly. Lately, I’ve been using Ludwig for the same kind of phrase searches. I like that it gives me back example sentences from different sources like encyclopedias, news and science publications. — CD

WritingClaudia Dawson
Prevent hand pain

I can’t handwrite for long periods of time without some discomfort. These pencil grips are designed for kids and adults with arthritis, but they help me out a lot too. I bought a 6-pack for $11. — CD

WritingClaudia Dawson
Cheap alternative to Freewrite

I’ve been coveting the Freewrite typewriter since the Kickstarter launched a few years back, but I can’t justify spending $500 on one. Thanks to this blogpost I discovered that the now discontinued Alphasmart Neo2 is a cheap alternative. I found one used on Amazon for $35 from a reputable seller who listed it in working condition and included the USB cord. I wasn’t sure if a distraction-free typewriter would actually help me write more, but the answer is yes, it does! — CD

WritingClaudia Dawson
Better Word alternative

I do most of my writing and editing in Google Docs. Sometimes, though, I am asked to edit a manuscript in Word. In those cases, I don’t really use Word because it is bloated and clunky. Instead, I use a free Word-compatible word processor called Bean (for OS X only). It’s snappy and the “full screen” view creates a distraction-free editing experience. — MF

WritingClaudia Dawson
Proofreading hack

Sometimes my eyes deceive me when proofreading. I came across this blog post and now I’ve been double-checking long paragraphs by right clicking on them (using Chrome) and selecting Speech > Start Speaking. If it sounds off, it usually means I dropped a word. — CD 

WritingClaudia Dawson
Pretty note app

I use Evernote for work and personal note keeping, but I have to admit Bear, which is referred to as the “beautiful writing app”, is more enjoyable to use on my phone. It’s so clean and pretty and easy to format. I’ve been using it as a daily journal and for poem writing. — CD 

WritingClaudia Dawson
Online typing tutor

After decades of being a hunt-and-peck typist, I’m finally forcing myself to learn touch typing. After trying a bunch of different typing websites, I’ve settled on How To Type as my favorite. It’s not fancy, but the drills have helped me to become more accurate. — MF

WritingClaudia Dawson
Menu bar notepad

Tyke is a free, simple MacOS menubar app that opens a small text-only scratch pad. It converts copied text into plain text, which I like. I’ve only had it for couple of days, but I’m already using it multiple times a day. — MF

WritingClaudia Dawson
Favorite pencil case

I bought this $8 Japanese pencil case a couple of years ago and my daughters liked it so much I ended up buying one for each of them. Despite its small size you can pack a lot of art supplies in it, thanks to its book-like middle “page” that holds pens and pencils on one side and small items on the other side. — MF

WritingClaudia Dawson
White pen

A good pen that writes reliably in opaque white is hard to find. Black or dark paper will kill an inferior white pen. Ways of failure are legion: skipping, too thin, too transparent, wavering, plugging up, etc. The best white pen is the Signo White Gel from Uni-ball. It puts down a serious, dense, even, opaque line of white immediately and consistently each time. — KK 

WritingClaudia Dawson
Great sketching pen

My friend Bob Knetzger is a toy inventor. He uses Paper Mate Flair felt-tip pens to sketch out his designs. I bought a dozen for $7 and was reminded why I liked them so much in the 1970s. The lines are smooth and you can vary the line weight by changing the angle between the pen and paper. — MF

WritingClaudia Dawson