I’m a bad writer. I love to tell stories, and I enjoy writing, but I’ve never been good at it. Maybe it is the way my mind works, or maybe I just don’t have enough practice. Either way I look for tools, tricks, anything that will make me a better writer. Here is a tip for better writing.
I use an app called Grammarly. It is a web-based program that checks your grammar as you write. It works surprisingly well. Read one of my rough drafts without Grammarly and then read the final document after using Grammarly and its worlds better with Grammarly.
You can use Grammarly without installing anything, just browse over to Grammarly and sign up. You can install their Chrome plugin to gain the features inside common web apps. I use it in Gmail, Ghost, and Medium. I also use their website to compose and store documents to paste into other apps. If you use the Windows version of Microsoft Office Grammarly has a plugin you can install that will work with the native versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook.
The web version of Grammarly has a great built-in editor that reminds me a lot of the one built into Medium. It places your writing on 3/4 of the screen and uses the other 1/4 for suggestions for improving it. If you use the wrong form of “its” for example, Grammarly will prompt you with the correct version while also offering up an explanation for why the original is incorrect. So in a way you learn better grammar as you use it. There is also an option to choose the type of writing you are working on so that Grammarly uses the correct dictionary. You can choose from technical, academic, medical and creative documents.
My writing isn’t necessarily more fun to read, but it is technically more correct. In some ways, Grammarly makes my writing stronger by suggesting active voice instead of passive voice. With Grammarly, I feel more confident about clicking the “post” button and sharing my work.
Grammarly isn’t cheap. It costs $29.95 a month but for better writing it is clearly worth it. Grammarly
Originally published at www.joshkerr.com on June 30, 2015.