Here's how I use AI to write

Do you write with AI? I do. Here's how I use AI as a professional writer - and how I don't.

Here's how I use AI to write
Image Credit: DALL-E 3

Do you write with AI? I do. Here's how I use AI as a professional writer - and how I don't.

I turn to AI regularly as a writer, though it's probably not how you use it. It's not because I'm good - but merely because everyone uses AI quite differently.

Here's how I use it as a journalist and content writer, starting with how I don't.

How I don't use AI

🔸For writing entire articles.

The reason is simple: I have an idea of how I want the content, and AI can't read my mind. Sure, I could craft explicit instructions and use detailed prompts... but by then, I could have already written it myself, isn't it?

🔸For writing whole paragraphs.

While AI can write coherent sentences or paragraphs, it tends to be too verbose, even for GPT-4 Turbo. Moreover, I've found that arguments don't extend across the article, which means a lot more work getting the flow aligned.

🔸To create outlines.

AI tends to be repetitive or express the same point of view. Sure, you could prompt it to produce contrarian views, but it invariably ends up talking about the same things. This is especially obvious for the technical topics I specialise in.

How I use AI

🔸For inspiration.

I've found AI perfect to get the ball rolling or to plough through "micro blocks" when writing.

  • Opening paragraphs.
  • Relevant quotes or phrases.
  • Suggestions on what to say next.

Certain words, short phrases, or even general ideas can go a long way to inspire me.

I've found it rather useful for my weekly 'inspirational' content here.

🔸To rework stuff.

Ever wasted time editing a sentence that just looks wrong? And which seems to get worse the more you rework it? Resolve it in a jiffy with AI.

  • Rephrase a sentence or paragraph.
  • A different way to express something.
  • Fill in the blank between two paragraphs.

And yes, toggling between AI models such as GPT-4 or Claude 3 can help.

🔸Minding the language.

Exhausted from work and making mistakes you normally won't? Clean your content up or fill in that crucial blank quickly:

  • Craft headlines.
  • Check grammar.
  • Find alternate words.

Use AI as a tool, not a crutch

It's too easy to relegate all our writing to AI. But writing is a crucial aspect of thinking, and it'll be a shame to rob ourselves by outsourcing everything to AI.

Indeed, excessive use of AI has been shown to impact memory retention, cognitive function, and critical thinking abilities.

Of course, the next generation of AI could well write better than I ever could. Then I'll just have to eat my words - since the cupboard would surely be bare.

👉 How are you using AI?