How to Use Automation in Writing Without Sacrificing Originality

robot automation reading writing
Image by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay

In a previous article, I talked about my disdain for using artificial intelligence to produce writing content. In that piece, I tried to stress that, although AI can support writers, it shouldn’t be entirely responsible for bylines people profit from. This doesn’t mean I’m anti-automation. In fact, automation in writing can be brilliant, if you know how to apply it to improve your general workflow.

Content discovery

Writers can write about anything…which is a problem. It can be hard to sift through all information that’s out there that relates to what we want to know or are interested in. Automation tools, however, can curate for you based on the parameters you set. For instance, I use Feedly to scour the web for content based on specific keywords. You also can have tools email you when websites post new content. RSS or other IFTTT options setups like Zapier both are options for that. Almost every social media platform now provides a way for you to view what’s trending, as well. It’s easy to see what people are chatting about if you need a topic that’s immediately relevant.

Formatting and Templating

Tools like Word and other publication software programs often offer preset templates. These come with elements like page numbers, margins, line spacing, etc. already set. They typically can walk you through setting up elements like a Table of Contents, reference lists, or footers. You often can create your own template or adjust template settings to create your own defaults, too. For my blog and podcast emails, for instance, I created templates in AWeber which are personalized every week. I get a fresh feel but save time because I don’t have to start with a totally blank canvas. Tools like Canva also offer brand kits that allow you to save elements like fonts, colors, or your author images. If you anticipate a lot of the same type of work or submit a lot of writing to the same publications, these are huge time savers.

Scheduling and Billing

There are multiple great options here. For instance, you can use Calendy or something similar to let people set up a time for interviews or collaboration. Those tools can alert you automatically about meetings, both when they’re scheduled and are about to start. You also can use options like Alexa or Google Assistant to add things to your calendar, make lists about the writing tasks you’ve got, or set reminders. It’s also possible to connect tools like Excel and PayPal. This way, when you update your billing in one place, it automatically adds the information to the other location.

Content Sharing

Options such as social media schedulers and RSS feeds mean that you can share content you or others create when it’s most convenient. They also can integrate with tools like Authory so that you can build a one-stop hub for everything you’re producing. Posting in one place can automatically mean a post somewhere else. You can let people opt in to automatic notifications about your new work, too.

Social Media Networking

The majority of popular social media platforms allow you to set whether you get notifications when someone mentions you, retweets your post, etc. This makes it easy for you to know when there is someone to engage with or thank without having to keep logging into the platform to check your account. You also can get alerts when others post. This allows you to respond more quickly. That ultimately means you stand a better chance of your comment being read rather than buried in the thread.


Do I even need to explain this one? Just set your word processing software to autosave in the cloud and/or schedule regular backups to your physical drives. Please. I love Microsoft 365 specifically because OneDrive will autosave my documents, whether they’re for articles, books, presentations, or billing.


Automation is not evil. Writers can and should integrate it into their work to make their projects easier and more efficient. I recommend that you take advantage of all the options above if you can. However, you don’t have to feel pressured to start on all of them at once. Think about what’s going to make the biggest influence on your time or quality and try to start there.

Keep your budget and the devices you use in mind through your automation setup. Lots of automation options for writers are completely free and work cross-platform. But if you’re looking at paid services, some are built for specific hardware or operating systems. Price can have a lot of sway on what you prioritize, too. Just do the best you can with the money you’ve got and aim not to work where you don’t have to.