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How to create an AI writing coach with OpenAI's GPT and Zapier

By Anna Burgess Yang · March 2, 2023

Like any skill, writing takes practice. Some people have a natural knack for stringing words together, but many writers look for ways to improve their craft over time. 

But feedback isn't always readily available in the furious world of online writing. Likes, comments, and shares might be vague indicators, but don't really tell you how you can improve. Many writers work without the collaboration of an editor, and it can be hard to critique your own work.

But what if you had your own personal writing coach—one with access to billions of writing samples who could offer you straightforward suggestions for improvement? AI can act as that coach. All it takes is a combination of writing samples from you and the right AI prompt.

Looking for GPT-4 or GPT-4o? You can access those via our ChatGPT integration now—allowing you to add ChatGPT-powered conversations into apps like Slack. You need $5 or more of credit in your OpenAI account to access GPT-4 or GPT-4o. Discover popular ways to use the ChatGPT Zapier integration.

How can AI give you writing feedback?

If you hand a writing sample to a friend, a colleague, and an editor and say, "Give me feedback," you're going to get three very different responses. Each will take a different approach.

AI generates a response based on your written instructions, or prompts. The more specific you are with your prompt, the better your results will be. 

You can ask AI to point out ways you can improve, with instructions like: 

  • Provide constructive criticism

  • Ask how the writing sample could be improved

  • Describe the sample using three adjectives

  • Give examples of improvements to encourage the writer

You could even get more creative and ask the AI to criticize the article as a Ph.D. of literature or an editor for a famous publication. It depends on how thick your skin is…

But the important part is to track the feedback. If you get into a daily habit of writing a short sample, you can review the critiques from the AI over time and look for patterns. Does the AI consistently say you're too wordy? Not imaginative enough? You can use the feedback to improve your writing samples over time. 

Build a writing coach with Zapier and OpenAI's GPT

You can systemize your flow of inputting writing samples and tracking the AI feedback with Zapier. 

You'll need to create a simple form for input (such as Google Forms), connect OpenAI's GPT-3, and output the results to a format of your choice, such as Notion, an email, a GSheet, or other tools. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click on the Zap template below, and you'll be taken to the Zap editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Generate OpenAI feedback on copy via Google Forms and send to Notion

Generate OpenAI feedback on copy via Google Forms and send to Notion
  • Google Forms logo
  • OpenAI (GPT-4, DALL-E, Whisper) logo
  • Notion logo
Google Forms + OpenAI (GPT-4, DALL-E, Whisper) + Notion

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Step 1: Connect your OpenAI account to Zapier

To use OpenAI's language model (GPT-3), you'll need to first create an OpenAI account. 

  1. Within OpenAI, generate an API key. Copy the key.

  2. In Zapier, click on My Apps, then + Add Connection.

In Zapier, the My Apps tab is shown open with an orange arrow pointing to the purple Add connection button.

3. Search for OpenAI.

4. Paste the API Key from your OpenAI account.

A pop-up window that asks "Allow Zapier to access your OpenAPI account?"

Step 2: Build a form to input your writing sample

Your form could be very simple and only include a text box if you plan to send the same type of writing sample and want the same type of feedback each time. 

But you could also build a more robust AI writing coach by including fields that specify the type of writing sample and the type of feedback you want. This is particularly useful if you write in several different formats, such as blog posts and short stories. 

The prompts and feedback types can be built as a dropdown selection or radio buttons. 

A Google Form titled AI Writing Coach with a dropdown that includes a list of prompt types.
A form field that asks "What type of feedback do I want?" with a list of options to choose from in a dropdown.

Then you'll create a text box on your form to add your writing sample.

A form field that asks for a writing sample with "It was a dark and stormy night..." entered in the field.

Step 3: Set up your Zapier trigger to pull in your form response

A Zap always begins with a trigger, the event that starts your Zap.

To start creating this Zap: 

  1. Select your form app (Google Forms in this case)

  2. Select your trigger event—we'll go with New Form Response.

Google Forms is shown selected as a trigger app with New Form Response selected in the Event field.

3. Select the form you've created.

The form AI Writing Coach has been selected in the form field.

Step 3: Set up your OpenAI action to send your prompt

Now you need to set up the prompt you want the Zap to send to GPT-3. Your prompt will be a combination of static text (the same every time the Zap runs) and your form's responses.

If your form only includes your writing sample and no additional selections, then your prompt might be something like: You are a writing coach. Given the following text, what are your suggestions for improvement? [writing sample].

If your form includes a description of the type of text and/or the type of critique you want, then your prompt would be more like: You are a writing coach. The writer has been instructed to [type of writing prompt]. You should [type of writing feedback].Here is the writing sample: [sample].

The completed prompt with the text from your form would read like this:

You are a writing coach. The writer has been instructed to describe a setting in one paragraph. You should describe how the writing sample could be improved. Here is the writing sample [sample].

To set up this action step in your Zap.

  1. Select OpenAI for your action app.

  2. Select Send Prompt for your action event.

OpenAI is shown selected with Send Prompt as the action event.

3. In the Prompt field, add your prompt text and map the fields from your form by selecting them from the data dropdown.

In the prompt field, a prompt along with data points from the previous Google Forms step has been added.

In the action step, you can also indicate the Maximum Length of OpenAI tokens to be used in the response. 

The Maximum Length field with 1,000 entered as the maximum number of tokens to generate in the completion.

OpenAI uses tokens to determine the length of the output (and bills you according to the number of tokens you use if you're on a paid plan). Type in a lower number if you want a more concise response from your AI writing coach or want to use fewer OpenAI tokens. 

Step 4: Set up your final action to output the results

The OpenAI response to your prompt will be generated in Zapier, so your final step is to output it somewhere where you can review the results. 

Think about the best way you learn and how you'd like to store and review the information in the future.

  • Would you like all of the original prompts and responses gathered in a tool like Notion so you can add your own notes?

  • Would you like the response emailed to you?

  • Do you want to keep the responses with the original prompt in a GSheet?

Heck, you could even send yourself a Slack message. The possibilities are endless, and you can create more than one action step with your OpenAI results. 

For this example, we'll create a Notion page with the original prompt and the OpenAI response.

To set up this action step:

  1. Select Notion for the action app.

  2. Select Create Page (or Create Database Item) for the action event.

Notion has been selected along with Create Page in the Event field.

3. Add the data from your previous steps to add your writing sample from your form step and your feedback from the OpenAI action step to the Content field.

Information from the previous GPT-3 and Google Form steps has been added to the Content field in a Notion Zap step.

Note: Choices Text has now changed to Response in the dropdown menu.

You could even use the form date as part of the page Title (and use a Zapier Formatting step if the form's date output is ugly).

After this step has been completed, you can review your newly created page in Notion.

A completed writing prompt in Notion with feedback from ChatGPT.

You can make notes or add tags to your output—and that should be the driver behind the output format you choose (such as organizing your feedback in Notion or adding categories in a GSheet). 

Or maybe you simply send yourself an email with the OpenAI results, read and absorb the feedback, and then send it straight to archive. 

Review your results and tweak your prompts

As you review the feedback (with a grain of salt, of course, since it's a robot and not a human editor!), you can gradually change your writing samples over time. Or maybe you tweak your initial sample later that same day or a week later and try again, reviewing the new feedback from your AI writing coach. 

Once you feel like you've mastered a particular skill, tweak the prompts and types of feedback in your form if you'd like to work on something else.

Or, maybe you've "graduated" from an AI-coaching school—hopefully satisfied with the improvements you've made to your writing. 

Related reading:

  • How to use OpenAI's GPT-3 to spark content ideas

  • How to use OpenAI's GPT-3 to write business emails

  • How to create meeting summaries with OpenAI's GPT-3

  • How to build a ChatGPT Slack bot with Zapier

  • The best AI writing tools

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