John Donne famously said, “No man is an island.”
I say, “No writer should be without an editor.”
I say this because it’s hard to see one’s own mistakes in their writing.
However, given that an editor is seldom available at your beck and call, (and even if they were you’d probably still want to do some editing yourself, beforehand), you can do one of two things:
A) Impose upon a willing friend or indulgent lover
B) Use one or more of the many writing applications available free of charge.
For argument’s sake, (and because tech is often more reliable/readily available than homo sapiens), let’s go with option ‘B’.
There are a lot of apps out there, but the ones I like the best are,
● The Hemingway Editor,
● and the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
These apps are all free to use and they help you to find mistakes in your writing. Unfortunately, they don’t really help with the content of your writing. That’s something only a real human being, (like me ☺), can do. What these apps do,however, is help you to correct structure, style, readability, clarity, grammar and spelling errors.
The Hemingway Editor
Ernest Hemingway is famous for his to-the-point writing. His prose is known for having short sentences and being straightforward. This makes his writing easy to read and comprehend. This is something all writers should strive for, especially those writing for a web audience.
The Hemingway Editor evaluates your writing and gives it a “Readability Grade.” This grade indicates how easy or hard your writing is to understand. The readability grade corresponds to the grade level a reader would need to be at to understand your text. However, this doesn’t mean that a Grade 5 score means that your audience should be a bunch of 10-year-olds. What it means is that your reader needs to be able to read at a Grade 5 level in order to understand your text.
For instance, much of Hemingway’s writing scores at a Grade 5 level, but the content of his work is aimed at an adult audience.
The app uses an algorithm called the Automated Readability Index to determine your readability score.
The app also indicates which of your sentences are “hard” and “very hard,” to read. It shows you where you can use simpler words and it highlights adverbs and passive voice usage, suggesting that you limit the use of these.
I use this app because I find it helps bring clarity to my writing, allowing my content to be better understood.
In high school, most of the writing I did took for in Microsoft Word. These days, however, I write more on social media, WordPress and Google Docs, than in Word.
The downside to this is that there’s no spell check on the web. There’s nothing more embarrassing than to post something with a spelling or grammar error. Thankfully, there’s an app for that.
Grammarly is a Chrome extension that works on every website. So when you post on Facebook, write a Tweet, compose a blog or engage in a sub-Reddit, Grammarly alerts you to any spelling or grammar mistakes.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
If nobody reads your content, does it still matter?
If you’re writing for yourself and you don’t intend to ever have any readers, then good for you, but you’re in the wrong place. In general, you write for an audience. However, to get said audience to read what you’ve written, you first have to get their attention.
On the web and in print media, the first thing readers see is your headline. Therefore, it’s important that your headline is attention grabbing and/or click bait centered.
But what makes someone click on a headline or stop to read an article while flipping through a newspaper?
It depends on several things:
· Keywords that the person is interested in and/or searching for,
· Ability to attract attention,
· Optimal length for search results and social media feeds,
· Able to elicit emotion.
From experience, I know that it’s really hard to create a headline that does all these things. This is why the Headline Analyzer is such a great tool. It analyzes your headline for the above criteria and scores your headline based on how well it does these things.
You can play around with your headline until you get a score you’re happy with. The site also provides helpful articles on how to create high-scoring headlines.
Apps just not doing it for you? If you’re looking for a flesh-and-blood editor, then I’m your gal. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.