Michael Shook
Sep 18 · 4 min read

I don’t need to stay in touch each week

computer screen showing software code that reveals problems
computer screen showing software code that reveals problems
Image courtesy of 3844328 via Pixabay

I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and say I love my Grammarly subscription. I started with the free version, and when they offered a great deal on an annual subscription, I bought that.

Author’s note:

There are no affiliate links here. I am just talking about my experience with this software. It may or may not be your cup of tea.

How I write

I hear the words in my head. They travel down my arms and fly out my fingertips to my keyboard. Sometimes I make mistakes in spelling, or I use the wrong version of their/there/they’re. I don’t like misspellings n my writing.

After reading millions of words online, I have no heartache with how other people spell, or if they use a different version of English than I do, or what vocabulary they use.

But for myself, I think there is an intersection between weeding out every single typing error and lying awake at night wondering if I used an Oxford comma appropriately or not.

That being said, I want as few errors as possible with my published writing. So I use Grammarly. That has helped me publish better pieces.

Using the software is not the problem. You install it and make sure you’re live online when you use it because it doesn’t work unless it can phone home.

You get red underlines in your text which signal mistakes and a list of errors. Well, what you get is a list of words and phrases that don’t match the database. The database is AI friendly so your results may vary from day-to-day.

Then you go down the list of errors and see if what is being offered as possible corrective actions for your writing is valid. If they are valid, change your writing. If they are not valid, don’t change.

The software is simple, and it works.

Here’s my issue with the software

Every week I get an email with three statistics in it. These are the results of my weekly usage of Grammarly. Each of these measurements is gamified.

Each report of my usage tells me how I am doing in relation to all the other Grammarly users. The first time I got this email I was puzzled. I thought, “Why would I care how I compare to all the users?”

The reports could tell me how I am doing, but instead, they are calculated and reported in a way that puts me in competition with everyone else.

One stat tells me how productive I was in comparison to all other Grammarly users. Another tells me how many unique words I used compared with other users. And the third one tells me how error-free I am, and compares that with all other users. That last one also tells me what errors I made most often.

I find this odd

My purpose for buying this software was to have my writing be more error-free. It was not to compete with all other users of the software so I could feel good (or bad) about myself.

And since my desire was for the software to help me fix my errors, why do I need a report on what my top three mistakes were last week.

I want my errors fixed; preferably silently. That’s what I’m paying for.

If I got to the point where I made no errors, what would I need the software for?

For me, using software to help my writing business is pragmatic. By that I mean, I use less time and energy using the software than I would spend without using it.

Saving time is the most significant benefit for me.

I am already sold on the benefits of using this software; I don’t need to compete with other users.

I know gamification is a big thing online and I’m not a crazy person with this. Lots of other people are comfortable with competition in every aspect of their lives.

I don’t care.

When I buy software I expect it to do what it says on the box. It’s not like I’m going to cancel my subscription because they send me an email each week.

I do like this software, and my published writing has improved by using it. It’s mostly that I think about it as a tool like a hammer.

If my hammer sent me an email that reported all my mis-hits on nails for the week, I would think that’s odd.

In a world full of electronic communications from people who each want to be my one true love, it takes some doing to keep my inbox at zero. Emails telling me how many mistakes I made in comparison to other people is a communication I don’t need.

I’m happy to use the software; it works for me. More emails, I don’t need. Needing to pay attention to emails I don’t need; I don’t need that either.

I know I’m a dinosaur in this idea. It used to be you bought or licensed software, and it worked. I still expect nothing less.

Publishous

Discover tomorrow’s bestsellers today. You'll say you knew them when.

Michael Shook

Written by

Writes honest words. Sees things differently and writes about them that way.

Publishous

Discover tomorrow’s bestsellers today. You'll say you knew them when.

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