How to use AI as a Tool, not a Writing Replacement

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February 16, 2024
Maddie Lemay
October 19, 2022
Copywriting advice

I’m getting tired of this topic, but I can’t ignore it.

This week I flew to Florida to work from a warmer place; get out of the Minnesota weather for a few days. I decided to download some documents to my desktop so I could write on the three-hour flight.

While in the air, I cranked out six newsletter emails for one of my clients. Because I didn’t want to pay for wifi, I didn’t have access to ChatGPT, my inbox, or (all tabs on my computer that are typically open as I’m writing).

Here’s what I discovered: The quality of my writing was so much better. It felt like I was writing the “old-fashioned” way – straight from my head to my heart to my hands, typing and deleting sentences, chewing on my pen in between paragraphs.

With wifi, I might have used ChatGPT to help me generate some ideas and draft some paragraphs – and then I would have rewritten it using my own voice.

That airplane ride proved my growing suspicion that, in general, I’m actually still a faster and better writer without ChatGPT. When I’m free of distractions, and my creativity is firing on all cylinders, the use of ChatGPT isn’t necessary for me.

I’m not knocking AI. I still think it’s a tool we need to harness, not run from. I think it’s really beneficial for coming up with topic ideas, especially for industries I’m not as familiar with. And I think for people who don’t write for a living, ChatGPT is especially helpful in getting them to a starting point.

But that’s all it should be: a starting point. Not a replacement.

I think we’re all beginning to grow weary of reading LinkedIn posts, emails, and articles that are so obviously written by a robot, and that’s only going to become more prevalent. Too many businesses are trading in authentic, thought-provoking content for the cheap stuff, and – well, you get what you pay for.

So here are some tips to use AI as a tool without replacing your writing with it:

  1. Review the AI-written content as if you’re starting a new book. Are your eyes glazing over? The grammar might be fantastic, but that doesn’t mean the writing is good. If you wouldn’t keep reading the book, why would anyone else stop their scroll and be interested in the post?
  2. Use AI to help you generate ideas and lists. Don’t rely on it to formulate complete paragraphs – and especially do not let it write the introduction paragraph and conclusions. That would be like delegating the first and last pages of your book to someone else!
  3. After you use AI, run it through plagiarism detection tools (I like using Grammarly). ChatGPT and other writing assistance tools pull from existing sources, so we want to make sure we’re citing those sources.

Looking for a writer who can harness AI without losing sight of the craft?

If you’re in search of a writer, it’s going to become increasingly challenging to find one who does not lean too heavily on AI.

It feels like I’m one of the last copywriters on earth who still defaults to the “old-fashioned” way of writing. But the content is better for it – and your business can be known for it.

I need a writer who actually writes!
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