It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a blog tips post. As fun as writing is, there is one thing that’s not so fun: The English language. As writers, though, writing and grammar go hand in hand. Usage of the wrong word or incorrect homophone use can change the meaning of a sentence or an entire poem! Accept/Except are different words with different meanings. Misuse them, and it changes everything. The same with Ad/Add, To/Two/Too, There/Their/They’re. If you are like me, you can’t afford to have an editor to proofread every blog post, but there are free resources we can use to help. Not only can you use these programs to clean up your blog, but you can use them to edit typos on your website or revise a finished manuscript.
1. Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is a powerful tool the more we learn to use it. Writers can use Word to create book covers, format books for print and so much more. My tip here is to draft your post in Microsoft Word before posting to the WordPress editor. Word will alert you to basic misspellings or grammatical errors as you are writing. You will notice spelling errors by the red wiggly lines and grammatical errors by the blue wiggly lines.
But Word has a bad reputation for not giving the right corrections…
Once you’ve written your post in a Word Document, you can then copy and paste it into the Grammarly editor to double-check for what Word may have missed. Grammarly is a software program that corrects spelling, detects plagiarism, and checks against over 250 grammar rules. There is a free version, but I recommend the premium version for more advanced features. Premium will alert you to more advanced grammatical errors to include overused words or misused words. My school gave us a free premium version of Grammarly, and I love it! There is such a significant difference between the free and paid version. The free version works fine, though and I use both.
3. ProWriting Aid
After you have made corrections in Grammarly, you can copy and paste the post into ProWriting Aid as a final run-through. ProWriting Aid is such an excellent program! Like Word and Grammarly, the program is another self-editing tool. ProWriting Aid will pick up even more errors and recommend changes. It also has a plagiarism detection tool for premium users. What I love about PWA is they are not stingy with the free version. The free version checks for repeats, structure, readability, fiction, and consistency. Yes, I said fiction! If you are using it to revise a novel, it will help track pacing and dialogue use.
4. Hemingway Editor
I can’t say too much about Hemingway because I just started using it and I don’t use it often. The program is okay, and it’s not my favorite, but it’s still an excellent program to use to self-edit. Hemingway does an excellent job at detecting wordy sentences, and overused adverbs. While I prefer the other two programs, Hemingway is still a valuable tool (mainly when used with one of the other applications).
5. Save Post as Draft and Preview as Final Proofread
After you have run your post through Word, Grammarly, ProWriting Aid, Hemingway (or all four) proofreading the post is another great way to self-edit your post. Once I have drafted a post, I save it as a draft and then preview it on the computer and my phone. I find lots of typos this way. Sometimes reading over the post in this way helps to catch even more errors before clicking the publish button.
None of these programs will replace a human editor. ProWriting Aid once tried to correct the word “to” for “two,” but I did not mean the number two. I intended to write “to.” But at least you know you’ve cleaned up the basics enough to ensure your post is clear and reads the way you intended. When I publish blog posts, these are some programs I used to proofread my work and now, so can you. It will take more time, but it’s time well spent.
Want more tips? Be sure to check out the Blog Tips Page!Click Here.
One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.
Editing or Proofreading Swopsies
Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…
Ah, that lovely red ziggly line, it comes in handy doesn’t it? In the age of increased knowledge and technology we have discovered ways to expedite the learning process. No longer must we search Thesauruses and dictionaries. Why when we have Google? No longer must we sound out words or put effort into phonetics, why when we can always depend on the ziggly line? I for one absolutely adore Microsoft Word’s auto-correction, but is it helpful?
Lately, I’ve been using a different computer and this one in particular does not have Microsoft Word installed as of yet. Instead there’s Word Pad (I know, don’t judge me). As such, Word Pad does not automatically correct errors, leaving me to edit either on my own, or in the WordPress post instead of on the Word document I usually use. (I tend to write in Word and Copy and Paste into WordPress. Personally, this gives me the opportunity to write more clearly and carefully. I almost never draft a new post directly into WordPress unless I am using my phone, and I never publish a post without previewing it first.). While doing this, I noticed that I tend to misspell more words than I do when I use Microsoft Word. It’s as if the real me is the writer using Word Pad because I am correcting on my own, whereas Microsoft Word is my tutor. This got me thinking: Does technology limit certain capabilities we learned in school by acting as a crutch for us? Is it a good idea, every now and again, to do things the old school way? For instance: Does it benefit to use the dishwasher everyday or wash on hand? What kind of skills are present in both? Is there something different that happens when you hand write vs. type? I wonder.
While I am wondering, here’s an idea: For your next blog post, don’t correct the errors that show up in the post! Ignore the red ziggly line and see just how well you do. Use only your own mind and previous knowledge to correct.
Your post can be anything. Use this topic or make one up but write something without using your computer to edit it. So as not to cheat, realistically you will have to draft your post using a document processor, such as Word Pad, that does not automatically correct your mistakes. Or, just turn the auto correct off for Microsoft Word. Then, when you copy and paste it into WordPress, you’ll get to see what you spelled wrong, but don’t correct it! Publish as is and see how you do. You can even have your followers guess what’s grammatically incorrect, if any, for added fun.