5 Free Tools All Writers Should Know About

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There’s give-me-your-info “free” and free free. These are the latter.

No accounts needed. No registering your email address or authenticating on Facebook. These tools allow anyone, anywhere, to use them — no catches. So if you’re not taking advantage of them, you’re missing out.

1. ClicheFinder

cf1Cliches are a crutch. Run your latest piece through this cliche-shredder to make your writing clearer and save your readers a few eye rolls.

The finder references the AP Guide to News Writing to help you avoid the same goofy combinations that plague many in journalism.





2. TweetPsych


One of the more powerful tools online in researching someone, TweetPsych breaks down the topics and interests a person talks about the most, and compares it with the rest of the Twittersphere.

Did you know CNN talks less frequently about timely current events than the average person, but mentions sex 12x more often than the average person?

Bonus: This tool can also recommend users with similar thinking habits and patterns.



3. SharedCount


Who’s talking about the page you’re reading? Just because it’s burning up your Twitter feed doesn’t mean it’s burning up the Web too. SharedCount gives you a status report on a web page’s Likes, Tweets, +1s, Reddit posts, and a host of other useful information. Is Uncle Dave’s video really “going viral?” Now you’ll know.

Pro tip: Use Open Site Explorer to see who’s linking to a particular website. (Three free lookups per day without an account.)



4. Downforeveryoneorjustme


A long name, but a quick answer to the inevitable question we ask when our Internet is acting up. Easily check to see if websites are down — or, you know, if it’s just you.







5. Pix.lr


Think of it as streamlined Photoshop. For basic fixes, including altering framing, colors, blurring or even warping parts of photos, you can’t go wrong with this free tool. But as it’s packing a lot of power into a single web-browser tab, give it a few seconds to think when you’re doing something with graphics.


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