Generative AI is already being adopted in journalism to automate the creation of content, brainstorm ideas for features, create personalized news stories, and produce accompanying video content. As such, it’s helping outlets like The Associated Press and News Corp process and present information in new, exciting ways.
But what about other forms of writing? How can writers (both professional and aspiring) harness generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard? In this article, we’ll explore some of my favorite ways you can embrace this transformative new technology.
For Professional Writers (And Anyone Who Writes As Part Of Their Job)
If your work involves creating any kind of content – including emails and internal communications – why not let generative AI help you draft or enhance that content? Some of the ways generative AI can assist writers in a professional context include:
1. Tapping into AI writing assistants. Today’s generative AI tools – including, but not limited to ChatGPT – can help you draft all sorts of professional content. This can span reports, emails, and other written content, but also visual content like graphs and images.
2. Getting grammar and style corrections. Generative AI can offer real-time suggestions for improving the grammatical accuracy and stylistic fluency of written content.
3. Plain-English explanations and text summaries. Need to quickly digest a lot of information and create an easy-to-understand summary? Then, generative AI is your friend. With the latest tools, you can break down complex topics into plain English explanations or condense lengthy content into bite-size descriptions.
4. Help with translations. Whether you want to translate your text into different languages or translate other texts as part of your research, generative AI can help.
5. Improving accessibility. Generative AI can be used to translate audio speech into written text, or vice-versa, to help people with disabilities create content or access your content.
Generative AI As A Creative Writing Tool
Some of the above uses will also appeal to creative writers, particularly when it comes to things like spelling and grammar. But what about the creative writing itself … surely that’s the sole domain of humans, right? Well, not anymore. Because generative AI tools can add tons of value for creative writers. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, a poet, or whatever, here are some of the incredible things that generative AI can do for you:
6. Generating writing prompts. Writer’s block could be a thing of the past, given that generative AI can be used to create infinite prompts to help you put pen to paper. Even if you never suffer from writer’s block (lucky you), you can still build those creative muscles by asking a generative AI tool for, say, a daily writing prompt.
7. Coming up with unique story ideas. You can also ask a generative AI to come up with novel ideas to get you started on your next great story.
8. Drafting plotlines. If plot is something you struggle with (because many writers are more character- or -dialogue-driven than plot-driven), consider asking generative AI for help. You could, for example, provide a general idea and then ask the tool to build that out into a more detail list of plot points.
9. Structuring your story. This is something that a lot of writers struggle with – how best to turn a brilliant idea into a well-structured, well-paced story. Again, generative AI can help. You can, for instance, ask it to create a chapter-by-chapter outline.
10. Fleshing out your characters. This can be a fun way to dip into generative AI – asking it to flesh out the personality and backstory of a particular character or characters. This saves you some brain power and may bring fresh ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise have considered.
11. Building the world in which your story takes place. Some of the best books create incredibly vivid and immersive new worlds. However, building this from scratch can be time-consuming for authors. Generative AI can assist in the process by, for example, helping you outline the histories, geographies, and cultures of fictional settings.
12. Coming up with names. Naming characters and places can easily get a bit stale after a while. But with generative AI, you can generate infinite interesting names. All you have to do is ask.
13. Drafting whole narratives. Not that I’m necessarily recommending this, but generative AI can even be used to write entire books if the mood takes you. It’s certainly one way of creating a finished first draft!
Remember, Generative AI Is A Tool…
And like any tool, it’s all about how you use it. I’m not suggesting writers should abdicate all responsibility to generative AIs – rather, you should use them intelligently to make your work (or creative project) easier and better. Of course, this means carefully reviewing any output generated by the AI and, where appropriate, tweaking the resulting text to better suit your needs.
In other words, outputs created by generative AIs like ChatGPT should be considered a first stab – not the final word.