Is Grammarly a good place to write?
Here, I take a look at using Grammarly as a tool for authoring original content.
How did this come up? I already use Grammarly to help copy edit existing content for clients. Often, I’m using one of Grammarly’s plugins to work in Chrome, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs (Beta). Rarely, if I’m working in an unsupported platform, I copy and paste text into My Grammarly and back and forth applying edits to the source document. So this got me wondering, why not use My Grammarly as an authoring environment?
Here’s the TLDR
* Instant feedback. Fix and improve your writing as you go.
* Customize its feedback for the type of content are writing.
* Portable. Access it from anywhere. Safer than logging into Google Docs.
* No formatting. Just write text and stay in your flow. Format later in another tool.
* Instant feedback might interrupt your flow.
* No formatting, even though you want to use it.
* No images. Whether you’ve got screen captures or cat memes, you’ll have to insert them later in another tool.
I like to edit as I go. Although writing experts often recommend writing and editing as two separate processes — -best performed in two different passes, I prefer to edit as I go. When I know I’ve left a trail of clean text, if I run into a tough spot in my writing/thinking, I’m less tempted to jump back and revise old text that’s. It’s counterintuitive, but it helps keep me more in the present. I don’t make a lot of typos, which Grammarly immediately flags in red. My writing tends to have “advanced” issues that Grammarly doesn’t flag while I’m writing. Instead, it quietly compiles these issues and displays a discrete tally of them in the upper right corner. Later, when I’m done writing, I click the correct with assistant button to review and revise my text.
Customize the feedback
This is the crucial difference between Grammarly and every other one-size-fits-all “Check Spelling and Grammar” feature I’ve encountered. Grammarly has a Set Goals/Update Goals feature where you can choose the Intent, Audience, Style, Emotion, and Domain of the content you’re writing. These settings determine which “advanced” issues Grammarly spots and what kind of recommendations it makes. [I’ll cover these in another post.](link). Although you can use Grammarly plugins in many tools, I believe My Grammarly is the only place you can use the “Set Goals” feature.
Here’s something I really like about Grammarly. Like Google Docs, I can use it anywhere. Better than Google Docs, it isn’t linked to my primary email account in Gmail, which a hacker could use to reset my passwords for just about everything online.
Grammarly is all plain text. It doesn’t have formatting. No headings, bullets, or bold text. I can stay in my flow, write text, and format later in some other tool. The downside: Sometimes I just want to format. When that happens, I use markdown to show my formatting intent. Elsewhere, I do a lot of my writing in markdown, so this comes easily.
I write a lot of technical documentation. I like to paste screenshots and diagrams into documents that I peek at while I write about them. In Grammarly, I make the screenshot, mark my text with a <descriptive-image-name>, and keep going. Sometimes, I use the alt+tab key combo to flip back and forth between the image and the text I’m writing in Grammarly.
Overall — I like the low-distraction experience of writing in Grammarly. It’s UX design is smooth and pleasing in a way that helps me **focus purely on writing **. Its “Set Goals” feature for customizing feedback is the critical reason for authoring in My Grammarly. In the time it took me to write this post, I spawned four more post ideas in My Grammarly. So, I expect I’ll write a postscript here about that experience later on.
Who knows, I’m beginning to feel like Rick in Casablanca, who said:
Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.