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Technology to Help You at Every Step of the Writing Process

By Susan Weiner


The life of a writer today is far removed from that of eighteenth-century novelist Henry Fielding, whose name came up this year when PBS ran a series based on his The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. Back then, Fielding wrote with a quill pen. Today, we have computers, word-processing software, and the internet. We also have tech tools that help us with every step of the writing process. Here are some options for you.

Brainstorming Ideas for Content

I’m a big fan of mind mapping to develop ideas for your writing. Mind mapping is a visual, nonlinear approach to brainstorming, using software such as MindMeister or other products. The basic idea is you write your topic area in the middle of the page, draw lines out to subtopics, and then draw lines from each subtopic to smaller slices of those subtopics that can become individual pieces of content. It’s amazing how putting these topics on the page can inspire new ideas. I explain this in detail in my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.

Organizing Your Thoughts before You Write

When I have a ton of information that I don’t know how to organize, I mind map it. Again, I start with my main topic and see where it leads me. What’s different is that then I pause to examine my mind map from a bird’s-eye perspective. This pause allows me to see where the energy of the piece lies and what parts of the map most logically belong together.

Rarely does the initial mind map become the blueprint for my article. Instead, my analysis of the mind map helps me to create a more powerful and logical structure to follow in my article.

This technique saved me back when I wrote complex articles, quoting from many sources, for financial planning trade magazines. Without it, I would have drowned in the details.

Some of you might be experimenting with generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT to generate outlines, as indicated in my March column, “Members Skeptical but Interested in AI Writing Tools.” However, please be aware of AI tools’ weaknesses before you use them.


You’re all familiar with spelling and grammar checkers built into word-processing software. In “Is Your Writing Too Wordy? These 4 Tips Can Help,” I discuss Microsoft Word’s readability statistics and other software that can alert you when your writing is too long-winded.


In addition to the tools built into word-processing software, I’m a fan of Grammarly and PerfectIt software to help you identify grammar mistakes and other problems.

However, automated tools often make mistakes. If you’re not confident in your grammar and style skills, hire a human editor. Or at least be familiar with reputable grammar resources, such as Grammar Girl and Purdue OWL, and use a search engine to research questions.