January 20, 2023
Writing is hard, huh?
When you aren't searching the web for synonyms, you're chasing down the subject matter expert for some juicy industry insights, or attempting to please the algorithm gods.
Don’t we all need a writing assistant to lighten our load? And to remind us why we fell in love with this difficult profession in the first place?
Luckily for us, the market is choc-a-bloc with AI writing tools that can help us with everything from proofreading and detecting plagiarism to overcoming writer's block and optimizing text for search engines.
The sky really is the limit as far as use-cases of AI writing assistants are concerned. I asked ChatGPT how AI could be used to write faster or make writing shine and it gave me the following list (which I had to meticulously edit, but I was still impressed).
Here are six common ways of using AI writing tools:
AI writing assistants can generate full-blown texts from scratch on an enormous breadth of topics—from fiction writing to landing page copy and technical documentation. While some of the technical articles may not be as in-depth or as well-researched as those coming from an experienced writer, they can be a good starting point for small businesses with limited budgets, students struggling with their homework, or those just looking to quickly generate content.
Fun fact: There are even AI writing assistants for developers. GitHub Copilot, for instance, turns natural language prompts into coding suggestions for 90 million programmers, nearly everyday.
AI writing tools can complete sentences or paragraphs that you've started writing, providing suggestions for the next word or phrase. This autocomplete technology can help you write more efficiently and can be especially useful for tasks such as writing repetitive emails or canned chatbot responses which do not require a lot of creative input or thinking.
Recommended reading: The ultimate guide to canned responses
Isn’t editing, especially editing your own work, a literal pain in the neck? Let AI writing assistants take it over. Most AI writing tools let you edit existing text to make it look more polished and professional. They do this by providing suggestions for grammar, style, and readability improvements.
You can use an AI writing tool to summarize long pieces of text into shorter, more digestible chunks. This one’s a godsend for writers who want to quickly understand the main points of an article or a book, or for researchers who need to quickly review many papers.
If you’ve ever used Grammarly, you might know how it analyzes the tone of your writing to communicate if the text reads as formal, informal, serious, funny, etc. That’s not the extent of the ability of writing assistants, though. They can also write text that adheres to a specific style or tone. This can be useful for writers who want to ensure that their text is appropriate for a specific audience or purpose.
Some of the more advanced AI writing tools, such as ChatGPT, can even translate text from one language to another. Writers who cater to a multilingual audience needn’t master the target language or outsource the job to a translator on the other side of the world.
While the possibilities that these tools open up are endless, they do have some limitations. I address the limitations of AI writing tools in the conclusion to this blog, where I attempt to share my two cents on the all-important question of AI replacing human writers.
For now, the question that must be on your mind is: Is AI writing free? Surely, all these splendid features cost a bomb, don’t they?
Well, yes and no.
There are hundreds of free tools, among them scores with tiers that are free forever (freemium) and dozens with free trials and free writing credits. But most of the advanced features of AI writing assistants still remain behind paywalls. Also, the better a tool’s output quality, the more it will cost you.
Nonetheless, our Content team tried out the top-rated AI powered writing assistants in the market for you. Our research led us to this list of 10 tools which can serve you best without burning a huge hole in your pocket.
Here are the 10 best AI writing tools and assistants you can try out in 2023.
Best for: Proofreading, plagiarism checking, and adding citations
There aren’t many writing assistants that allow you to start improving your text the moment you land on their website. This is one of the main features that sets Quillbot apart.
You head to the website (or install the extension) and start typing, without needing to sign in or create an account. Of course, this is only true for the free version in which you can paraphrase up to 125 words in each instance and generate a summary for a maximum of 2500 words in one go.
Best for: Templating and automating repetitive writing
Ever find yourself typing the same things over and over? Copy metadata, blog outlines, instructions for your editor (please, please don’t cut this out 😅) or graphic designer (insert image here) etc.? It bugs me so much more than not finding the perfect word while writing.
Enter OSlash text expander. It lets me create templates for things I type out repeatedly (my snippets) and insert them where I want, in a few keystrokes. Like typing o/collab and having it expand into this email, for example.
Hi [First Name], This is Garima.
I am the Social Media Manager at OSlash.
I am a big fan of your YouTube Shorts. And have been binging them everyday during lunch this week.
What a fun way to combine solid productivity tips with humor; can’t get enough.
I am reaching out to you to discuss a possible collaboration for an influencer marketing campaign.
Are you free for a 15-min chat some time this week?
Looking forward to it!
Automated typing to save time and bid goodbye to frustration. Cool, right?
Recommended reading: The definitive guide to using a text expander
Best for: Creative writers looking for an expert writing assistant
ProWritingAid is more than an ordinary writing assistant. Sure, it has all the essentials from a grammar-and-spell checker to a thesaurus. But it goes one step ahead to offer Premium users the equivalent of literary coaching. The tool comes with access to 3000 expert videos and explanations that can elevate your writing from good to great.
Best for: SEO-optimized and plagiarism-free website content on a budget
I am a big fan of WriteSonic. They have a generous free plan and their Premium pricing is one of the most affordable. You get to write up to 25,000 words for free using over 70 AI templates across 25 languages!
What all can it help you with? You name it. There’s a special writing assistant for each use-case ranging from product descriptions to landing pages, from blog posts to LinkedIn ads, from email subject lines to YouTube video outlines.
Best for: Auto-completing sentences and paragraphs with custom suggestions
Bring auto-complete to your favorite sites and text-editors with HyperWrite, the AI powered writing assistant that literally finishes your sentences. Use this free Chrome extension to get unique automatic suggestions for everything you type.
Best for: Beating writer’s block with free forever copywriting tools in your kitty
Copy.ai is a darling among marketers who always have too many Instagram captions to write in too little time and with less budget. While its long-form content capabilities aren’t top-notch, it is a handy tool to come up with social media copy, ad copy, product descriptions, slogans and taglines etc. when you’re scrambling to make that deadline. You can write 2,000 words/month for free.
Best for: Churning out high-quality, plagiarism-free, search engine optimized long-form writing
Easily one of the most powerful AI writing assistants ever, Jasper is not a completely free tool but still makes it to our list thanks to how good it is! It’s not all that surprising considering how Jasper has read most of the public internet and can come up with unique, high-quality content with far greater accuracy than most of its counterparts.
Plans start at $40/month but you can enjoy a 5-day free trial with 10k writing credits.
Best for: Rewriting, paraphrasing, and changing the voice/tone of your text
I came across WordTune a couple of years ago, right when it was launched on Product Hunt. It’s truly an “AI powered writing companion” especially for writers like me who are always struggling with one question. “How can I say this better?”
Now, I no longer have to rack my brains to figure it out. I have the WordTune Chrome extension installed on my MacBook. I can simply select the sentence I want to rephrase, press command + D and voila! I get 10 rewrites to choose from, in a jiffy. It’s also one of my most-used everyday writing tools.
Best for: Beginners who want to try out an AI writing assistant
I’ll be honest. My foray into the rabbit hole of AI writing assistants began with Rytr. The barrier to entry was low, the possibilities exciting. I could write up to 10k characters per month, access all the use-cases and tonalities and even detect plagiarism in the free plan itself.
If you’re super new to AI writing assistants, I’d recommend you to start ryting with this tool. Starting at $9/month for the Premium plans, it’s an absolutely low-risk investment.
Best for: Power users who write hundreds and thousands of words every day
I am including this one in the list despite a few misgivings and my occasional annoyance with its nonsensical suggestions. Grammarly has been correcting my text since 2017 and 90% of the time, it has helped my writing read a lot better, even without needing to upgrade to Premium.
How? I prefer to work with the extension overlay—a tiny green circle with an arrow—that follows me around everywhere I write online, checking my spelling, pointing out grammatical errors, and suggesting tone/voice modifications according to my writing goals and target audience.
But you can also turn off the overlay and work directly with its editor instead, copy-pasting the text you want to work with.
Choosing the write AI assistant to help you create compelling content isn’t easy, especially with new writing tools with better features coming up every month. It’s evident that you need to invest some time in doing your own research.
I’d definitely recommend you to take advantage of the free tiers and free trials before committing to any one tool. A word of caution, though. These tools are supposed to be just your writing assistants. If you expect them to serve you perfect content on a platter, you might be disappointed.
As someone who writes for a living, I sincerely hope not. And I also believe it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Here’s my simple explanation.
Writing something, anything, is not about the act of writing alone. More than scuttling across the keyboard, it’s about scuttling across your mind.
There are a lot of things AI may already have mastered but original thinking is where we still retain the competitive advantage. Good writing is basically good thinking, communicated smartly.
While generative AI (such as ChatGPT) can get you unstuck and occasionally lend you an insight sourced from the data it has been trained on, it cannot lend writing the one thing that makes a piece stand out—experience. You can read more about learnings from writing with AI here.
It would serve us well to remember that almost everyone in the world has access to these AI writing assistants. As a result, almost everyone can come up with similar-looking content. That might add neither perspective nor value to your piece.
So, I am not scared about losing my job to AI, yet. Instead, I am going to happily embrace the technology and use its strengths to complement mine. In fact, I am just off to email my editor this piece with my o/feedback-request snippet from OSlash. What about you?
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