Writing is hard for a lot of reasons. You need unique ideas, voice, and flow. With all of that to keep track of, the last thing you want to worry about is accidently typing the wrong letter. At this point, you’re possibly thinking, well that’s what my word processor’s spell check is for. To this, I say, “How wrong you are!” Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. You’re not entirely wrong. Spell check will catch some of the most basic spelling and grammar errors. But what if you’ve written “fat” when you really meant “fate”? For example, you may accidently write, “Death for the girl was coming. Seeing her fat was all she needed to know.” This differs drastically due to the typo and guess what, as I’m typing this, I see no squiggly red or green underlines. I run my writing through two different online editing tools to catch mistakes like this one. I use these tools before I do the most important edit, you know, the one with a real person. It is important to understand that no editing tool can replace editing done by a living, breathing human being. I also think that it’s important to mention that I am receiving no compensation for recommending these tools. I simply stumbled upon them and found them useful. Both are free to use and have made my editing a bit easier. I hope these online editing tools can help you too! Hover over the headings to give them a try.
Grammarly runs a quite extensive online marketing campaign, so you may have seen or heard their ads before. Grammarly is a free online text editor that is hosted as an extension on your web browser. I find that Grammarly works best for spelling, punctuation, and word choice. You have to be aware that you will be frequently tempted to upgrade to premium, which comes at a cost. Their marketing strategy is hefty, so be prepared for them to dangle it in front of you often.Grammarly works similarly to the spell checker on your word processor. It underlines mistakes in red, but it does not differentiate between grammar and spelling. All you have to do is hover over the word, and Grammarly will give you the suggested fix. You click on the fix and bam, you’re done. You can also open the full editor and scroll through, seeing the mistakes in the margin. Grammarly is wonderful at spotting those nit-picky grammar and spelling mistakes that typical spell checkers don’t catch.
Hemmingway Editor keeps track of 5 different common errors by highlighting them in different colors. It informs you if you have sentences that are both hard to read, and sentences that are very hard to read. It highlights phrases that have simpler alternatives. Hemmingway also keeps track of adverbs and passive voice, offering suggestions of how many instances of these you should have, depending on the length of the piece. If you hover over the marked error, Hemmingway provides suggestions for fixes. Another feature of this app is that it provides word count that gets as specific as words, letters, paragraphs, and sentences. It also provides the approximate amount of time it would take for someone to read the writing. Hemmingway provides the grade level of whatever you’re writing, which is helpful for knowing the ease of reading your work. The last addition that I want to point out is your ability to work on the writing while turning the editing feature off. It’s nice to have an editing device that allows you to turn off your inner editor when you need to. Hemmingway Editor is a great tool and I encourage you to give it a try.
I hope you are able to give these editing tools a try to help kick start the editing process. If you have any other suggestions for editing tools, put them in the comments below so I can give them a try!