Every writer would like to have an editor
In a perfect world, having an editor to rely on would be your preference. But in reality, we know that the cost of hiring a professional is beyond the reach of the majority of writers.
There are many self-help, short story and fiction writers using self-publishing today. But it is unrealistic to think that all of them can afford to pay for someone to help in the writing and editing process.
But there is an expectation from readers that when they buy a book or even read a blog post or online news article, that the texts will be perfect.
If you read some of the major newspapers online, you will know that even with professional copy and line editors, mistakes still occur.
However, that is not an excuse. You should always be looking for ways to improve your writing, your grammar and style.
If you write a book, an article or even if you’ve written a quick social media message, you need to be sure you are using grammar and spelling that is error free.
For new writers, it can be daunting.
Mistakes get noticed very quickly. Readers are sometimes not shy at all about pointing out these errors by posting to public online forums such as social media, blog comments or book reviews.
So you really do need to learn how to write well, and accurately.
You would probably love to have a writing coach or take writing classes. But these are expensive options, and you need to make money before you can spend money.
The writing process needs to be a learning experience. So how can you learn to make your writing clear, focused and enjoyable for readers?
Using quick online grammar checking
Experienced writers very often do a quick grammar check, reduce passive voice and find spelling errors by using an online grammar tool.
For article and blog writers, who are usually in a hurry, the most popular choice for writing correction is Grammarly.
It is a favourite because it works in any browser and also with Microsoft Word and is fast and accurate.
But for new writers looking for help and assistance, you need more than an efficient grammar checker.
Sure, you need editing tools, but what you need are explanations to help you understand where you might be going wrong.
A tool that highlights common errors and spell checking is practical, but you want to learn why something is an error and understand how you can fix it.
When you know why your sentence structure has a problem, you can learn and improve.
You need a writing coach
A coach is someone or something that can teach you how to do something. A standard grammar checker can’t do this.
However, there is one program that can give you genuine writing help.
If you are new, or even not so new to writing and you have never heard about ProWritingAid (PWA), you should investigate the possibilities it has to offer.
Of course, it has a spell checker and grammar suggestion functions. But where it is different is that it provides you with detailed reports that can help you learn and understand writing functions.
For example, how does your writing rate for stickiness sentence usage?
You need to start by knowing what a sticky sentence is first before you can improve. With ProWritingAid, click on “Sticky” in the menu bar, and you will get a report and a link to a detailed explanation.
Long sentences can distract, bore or even confuse readers.
To check your sentence length, click on “Sentences” and you will get an instant report for every sentence in your text. You can then work to simplify and shorten the very long sentences you have.
You also get data about your average length and optimal variety for all your sentences.
Every writer suffers from overused words.
When you read your text, page by page, they are extremely difficult to find and replace. With PWA, it is again one click to list all your repeated words in even a very long book-length text.
In the left menu bar, click on each item in the list to see a flyout menu and you can jump to the next location of a repeated word in your text.
In all, there are more than twenty reports like this available for you to analyse and improve your manuscript or online writing.
Okay, it is not a human coach. But when you have the choice of an online coach for free or for a very low cost, it is a very good alternative to consider.
What are your options?
The first option will appeal to you. There is a free version that allows you to use many of the features of PWA.
As with all free writing tools, there are some limitations such as the maximum word count you can check and how many features you can access. However, it works perfectly if you want a quick editing tool and writing check.
But the high-quality premium version of ProWritingAid is extremely affordable, starting at only US$50.00.
This is much cheaper than many of the other popular grammar and writing programs, so you get a lot of value for your money.
With premium, you can integrate with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Scrivener and Open Office. There is also an extension for the Chrome browser to work online with WordPress or any other online application or site.
If you really want to improve your writing and learn how to write well, ProWritingAid is a very good choice to consider. It is the closest you will get to having your own personal writing coach, right at your side.
I use the premium version PWA for all my long-form writing and sometimes wonder how I managed without it.
It doesn’t replace a proofreader at the end of the writing process, but as an editor and for suggestions to continually improve my writing, it is a winner.
Further reading: The Best Free Online Grammar Check With Punctuation Checker