Wrap Your Writing Like a Beautiful Birthday Present for Your Reader
A Good Presentation Matters
It’s your birthday. In front of you are two gifts. One wrapped beautifully with a big bow. The other gift wrapped poorly with a knot instead of a bow and messy wrapping paper.
Which gift do you want to open first?
The one with the big bow and beautifully wrapped.
We devalue things if put together sloppy. If someone else didn’t care enough to take the time to wrap the gift properly. The contents probably aren’t important either.
A poorly written story will turn readers off. Your content could be awesome. But, in a poor story, the reader won’t care.
In our modern world, there are no excuses for poorly written work. Even the basic spelling and grammar checker in Google Docs catches the most obvious mistakes. Google Docs has no price barrier it’s free! You are not Shakespeare writing with a feather and ink. Well, Google Docs won’t turn you into Shakespeare either, but it’s a good start.
I’ve recently stopped using Microsoft Word completely. I found the Google Docs spelling and grammar checker to be better than Words. Why pay $10 a month for an inferior product? Plus, the Google Docs phone app has a better interface. I find it much easier to write with it.
I’m super happy with making the switch!
Grammarly vs ProWritingAid
Grammarly and ProWritingAid are the two heavy hitters for advanced grammar checkers. Both products are excellent. You can’t go wrong using either product. They both have free versions which catch most of the grammar mistakes. Once again, no price barrier!
Grammarly’s standalone version comes with basic spelling and grammar checks. The basics are free. Advanced style and grammar checks are available in the paid version.
ProWritingAid is superb. I switched from Grammarly to ProWritingAid to see the difference. I subscribed for 3 or 4 months. I can’t remember how long but I like it so far. I find the grammar checker goes more in-depth than Grammarly. But, that’s an observation after a few weeks and around 20 stories.
In Google Docs, there’s a ProWritingAid addon. It’s free. Click the “Add-on” drop-down menu. Search for ProWritingAid and add it to Google Docs. If you use Google Docs for your writing. I would use ProWritingAid instead of Grammarly. There’s no integration for Grammarly in Google Docs. In the future, Grammarly may have Google Docs integration but for now it doesn’t.
The Hemingway App will help you write clear and direct sentences. Just like Ernest Hemingway! Almost. The Hemingway App won’t turn you into Ernest Hemingway any more than Google Docs will turn you into Shakespeare. But, it will help you.
I run all my work through Hemingway. I covered how Hemingway wrote in-depth in another article. You can read it here:
You can use a free version online or buy a standalone version for your computer. I think it cost me around $20 for the standalone version. It’s not expensive and worth the money. I travel a lot. So, having the standalone version on my laptop helps if I don’t have internet access. But if you have internet access, most of the time, the free version should suffice.
If you write on Medium or WordPress, you can upload from Hemingway onto those platforms. Which I love! I write daily on Medium, and WordPress powers my website.
My Editing Process
This is my editing process. I write the story in Google Docs. Only recently did I switch to Google Docs because I started to use ProWritingAid and like the integration. I use Google Docs to spell check. Next, I load the ProWritingAid add-on to check both spelling and grammar. At this point, I’m 90% done.
I download the story as a Word docx file to save on my computer. We cannot move the story directly from Google Docs to Hemingway unless you are using the Hemingway website which you can use cut and paste. I import the docx file into Hemingway for a final check. I might make a few small changes depending on what Hemingway suggests.
At this point in my writing career, I have been using a direct sentence style for several years. It was what I learned in journalism school. So, I rarely have many changes to make once I load my story into Hemingway. I upload the story within Hemingway onto Medium and/or WordPress.
Everything suggested in this story is available for free! So no excuses! Get out there and be a grammar ninja!
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Christopher Oldcorn is a writer and journalist. He holds a BA in Psychology from Laurentian University, and a post-grad in Research Analysis from Georgian College. Christopher studied at The Centre for Investigative Journalism (Goldsmiths, University of London). Recognized as a Top Writer in Government, Politics, Books, Climate Change, Productivity, Creativity, & Writing.