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3 Free Editing Tools Every Freelance Writer Should Try

Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings. — Stephen King

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Writing is half-baked without editing. Editing completes a write-up by removing fluff, fixing typos and grammatical mistakes, thereby brings more clarity. It adds more value to the reader, saving them time and effort to understand and follow.

The first draft is called a shitty draft for a reason. It is necessary to get it out on paper. They are precious. We write the first draft in the sense of flow as the stream of ideas bursts out all of a sudden or when you think of an experience. But they are not ready for the world. Not yet. Not until we’ve distilled the essence of our ideas in concise brevity.
I underestimated editing tools in the initial months of being a freelance writer. I didn’t even know they existed for the first few months. I never doubted my English, for that matter. I was that kid who my parents knew would be curled up reading in a corner at any time. And that kid who scored the highest in English by default in all her school years.

But, how wrong was I. I had overlooked the fact that the eye can’t always see minor mistakes when we keep seeing the same text. And I didn’t remember the little nuances of grammar. Like we don’t need a “,” when we use “that,” but we need to use the comma after “which.” And then there is that Oxford comma where we use a comma when listing the last-but-one item, before the conjunction(and, or) when listing more than two things.

Example of oxford comma — We have to buy bread, butter, and jam.

Instead of — we have to buy bread, butter and jam.

And many such minor mistakes, like using passive voice, shortening phrases.

Example: We fed the dog belonging to our neighbor. This statement can be rewritten as— We fed our neighbor’s dog.

And the best advantage of all? Writing for different audiences. Your client may be from the UK, USA, Australia, or elsewhere. There are some subtle differences in spellings between different countries. And in the writing tools, you can select the country you're writing the content for. It then prompts corrections based on that.

So these tools not only helped me polish my writing but also fix the language and made it more readable, engaging, and clear. Writers who don’t edit their content don’t care about the reader’s experience in my honest opinion. Most readers are comfortable reading if the content they read is as easy as a fifth graders’ level.

So here goes…

Hemming way app

It has a free desktop editor, and for a nominal price, you can even get it for your desktop as an app.

Pros

  • Excellent in catching passive voice, long sentences, and grading your content.
  • Free and best for freelance writers beginning their journey.
  • It has both write and edit modes and it works offline if you use the desktop App.

In edit mode, it’s distracting to write with so many colors marked. But go to the write mode; you can write or change anything without distraction.

Cons

  • It’s not very intuitive and doesn’t have too many suggestions to improve.
  • It is not an add-on option for word, and not available as a browser extension.
  • It has no features to set the audience level or select a style.

Grammarly

Grammarly has become a freelance writer’s editor. The free version has 80% of the functionality of pro. So still, you can achieve a decently clean document.

The pro version has suggestions to rephrase the sentences, set goals for the article, like writing style can be formal, informal, creative, and set the content level to be general, expert. Grammarly says it has 400 more checks and features compared to the free version.

Here’s a table of comparison of Grammarly free vs. pro.

Pros

  • It is highly intuitive and easy to fix grammatical errors quickly.
  • It’s compatible with word, google docs, and even email apps and programs.
  • The pro version has a plagiarism checker along with 400 additional features and checks.

Cons

  • The pro version is expensive. But if you are ready to wait for great discounts and offers, it happens during Black Friday through Cyber Monday, where you can get up to 50% off on a yearly package.
  • The software is a bit buggy and sometimes isn’t very smooth.
  • Grammarly doesn’t work offline.

Pro-writing Aid

Pro-writing Aid is one of my favorites because the interface is a lot friendlier and easy to navigate. It has a web editor. It has a 1-month free trial, so better to try it out.
Though I went for Grammarly pro, I later realized I liked Pro-writing aid better.
Also, note that the premium version doesn't have a plagiarism checker, but it’s included in premium plus, but you’ll need to spend a couple of extra dollars for it.

Pros

  • It has a month-long free trial with full features.
  • It has an easy-to-follow interface with many useful checks, like sticky sentences, slow pacing, readability score, and more.
  • It’s cheaper than Grammarly pro and often on discounts. Keep an eye on it.

Cons

  • It still is relatively newer and features keep getting tweaked. But not a deal-breaker at all.
  • It is not compatible with word, google docs, or unavailable as a web browser extension. It’s available as a web editor.
  • Pro-writing Aid also doesn’t work offline.

Try one of these and stick to what suits you. Your writing will be several notches higher and look clear and polished if you follow the suggestions. But they are ai and not a human eye replacement, so it’s sometimes better to trust your common sense. Write on.

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More similar content from the author:

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Brinda Koushik | Copywriter | Mom | Avid Reader

Brinda Koushik | Copywriter | Mom | Avid Reader

Copywriter | Case studies specialist | Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brindakoushik/ | SaaS, Tech, Parenting| For inquiries email: brindawrites@gmail.com

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