I, like others whose livelihood depends on my ability to put words together, spent the past couple of months pacing and wringing my hands over ChatGPT’s disruptive emergence. And being one to avoid most things scary, I couldn’t bring myself to investigate this lurking monster waiting to steal my clients.
But out of necessity for a relevant blog post and with the help and goading of a good friend and mentor, I went for it. And, quite honestly, I don’t see a world in which artificial intelligence and I can’t work together. At least for now.
I provided identical prompts to ChatGPT, WriteSonic, copy.ai, and Rytr. I wanted to use Jasper, but it doesn’t offer a free trial without collecting credit card information. When I typed the prompt in Rytr, the bot conked out mid-sentence. I appealed to its help chat bot but after 10 minutes of staring at messages that someone would be with me shortly, no one answered.
The prompt I used: “Write a blog post about how writers can use ChatGPT technology. Use sourced information and keywords.”
The responses were nearly identical. ChatGPT, WriteSonic and copy.ai reported that AI writing platforms:
- help writer’s block by providing ideas
- improve writing
- save time
After reading each post, I am delighted to tell my fellow writers that we all have little to worry about and even a bit to gain. (For now). Why?
Human Writers Have Personality AI Just Doesn’t
I didn’t use any of the text generated by the platforms I investigated in this post because what I received from my prompt lacked personality on every front. Reading what I got from each platform was like reading a post written by a high school kid who had waited until the last minute to write about a subject in which he had little interest.
I chuckled when each generated post asserted that while AI generates text quickly (and it does at breath-stealing speed), it is no substitute for human creativity. This is honest self-assessment from a robot that many humans I know aren’t capable of sharing.
Now, admittedly, I used free trials. The more you pay, the better the quality, I’m guessing. Better quality versions were offered only with a paid subscription.
AI Cut My Worktime in Half
What I did use was the information each writing tool provided. And it cut my research time from my usual two hours to one. I didn’t have to clog my browser with tabs and cross check data. I cut and pasted what I got from my prompt into my notes. Because I used more than one platform, I’m fairly certain I’m not communicating any misinformation. But if I am, please let me know in the comments.
My Prompt Asked for Keywords. I Didn’t Get Any.
Despite the embedded request in my original prompt, I didn’t get keywords until I created separate prompt specifically asking for them. I’m not sure if that’s due to user ignorance or bot limitations. And ChatGPT is the only platform that provided sources, despite the request in my prompt.
How Does AI Help with Writer’s Block?
I asked ChatGPT to help me generate ideas about life insurance. A client had asked for blog post ideas that blended life insurance with current events. And while I had already used some of the ideas, there was one that stuck out: How workers in the gig economy can find adequate life insurance without employer-sponsored options. I hadn’t thought of that one.
How AI Improves Writing
I’ve often struggled to write unique headlines that both incorporate primary keywords and inspire clicks. So I appreciated AI’s ability to generate ideas quickly. I easily took what AI gave and massaged it, finally happy with what I (all right, we) came up with.
Then I asked for writing feedback. Here’s what ChatGPT had to say about a draft of this post:
- Spelling and Grammar: Your writing seems to be free from any noticeable spelling or grammar errors. However, there are a few minor errors like missing commas and capitalization that could be corrected.
- Repetitive Words: You have used the phrase “platforms” multiple times. Try to use synonyms to avoid repetition.
- Tone and Voice: Your tone and voice are engaging and conversational, making your writing easy to read and relatable.
- Style: Your writing style is clear and concise, and you have provided relevant examples to support your points. The structure of your writing is also well-organized and flows smoothly.
- Overall, your writing is well-written and provides useful information about how AI writing platforms can be helpful to writers. Keep up the good work!
I asked WriteSonic to do the same, but it could only rephrase or change the tone of what I’d written.
Editing is the Future
Having looked at my AI competition, it became obvious that I would have to market my editing skills just as strongly as my writing services. Because even though potential clients may drool at AI writing subscriptions’ low rates, what they may not realize is that they’re most likely going to want their deliverable edited for tone, voice and style. I know I did. They will also want to fact-check it. These extra services are additional costs.
For example, there’s a monthly subscription rate out there for $80 for 50,000 words per month, it seems pretty cheap compared to a writer’s fee, right? A decent writer charges about $.20 per word, so that’s $10,000 per month. Huge difference. I can see why the price tag is seducing our client base. But if that same client paying $80 per month isn’t happy with the tone, voice and style of the writing, he’s going to need to hire an editor to provide substantial editing. A good editor charges $40 per hour. If it takes that editor two hours to edit, the AI customer’s bill just went up $6,000. Admittedly cheaper than a writer.
But who is going to need 50,000 words per month? That’s 76 650-word deliverables. Few freelancers can handle that much work. If you can, bless you. You probably live alone. Now, if you’re an editor…and that client has let’s say eight articles he paid AI $80 for that month, you make at least $320. For eight hours’ work.
So I feel better about my prospects. I’m glad I took a deep breath and looked under the bed. What I imagined to be a monster appears to be a helpful little mouse. A little mouse who can use some big help.