PART TWO (An Open Letter to Writers Who Write…)

This is How Grammarly Can Do Miracles For Your Writing

A Sunday sermon on self-examination, writing tools, and tools that write.

Lon Shapiro
Sep 22 · 12 min read
Digital Illustration by Author; Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Let me begin this Sunday Sermon with some advice.

An Open Letter to Writers Who Write About Writing to the Wonderful but Worrisome, Wandering, Withdrawn, Weak-Willed or Wretched Working Writers Whose Welfare and Writing Well-being are Wasted and Waylaid by the Weekly Watered-down Wires and White lies Written Without Warmth by Wolfish Warlike and sWaggering Writers Who Walk off and Wind up with Website Wealth and Who We Wish Would Write Without a Whisper instead of breaking Wind all over the World.

When Will these Whining Whinging Wankers of Writing Worry, Withdraw to Weigh and Work out Wondrous Writing?

Feel free to laugh, but not mock, my headline — it got a score of 99 from Grammarly.

Grammarly gave my long alliterative headline 99 out of 100
Grammarly gave my long alliterative headline 99 out of 100
This screen shot of a Grammarly window shows how much she loves me.

In Part One of this sermon, I wrote about the difference between bloggers who write and writers who blog.

At this point, all the self-help gurus would insert their profound life hack: don’t procrastinate.

But is that true?

The power of time is immeasurable, but writers forget to use it.

Sometimes, our brilliant hot takes are nothing more than hot air inside a big beautiful balloon.

Like the Hindenburg.

Today, in PART TWO, I want to share different ways we might analyze writing quality.

The Scientific Method, versus My Method

I started with the intention of analyzing articles by mega-popular writers to prove that their writing is crap, by comparing their work to great writers.

Armed with a standard for comparison, I ran articles through Grammarly for individual writers.

Then, I had to turn that spotlight on myself, and you know what happens when you point the proverbial finger.

But the real gain has nothing to do with reducing spelling and punctuation errors; it’s all about engagement² and finding an active writing voice.

Suddenly, you know, it’s like, really amazing how I literally went from, like, always adding very large writing filler things, to maybe never including big stuff like that in, like, a sentence, you know?

The last part of my original sermon was to examine a statement a shyster content marketer made about their favorite authors.

“I’m inspired by great writers such as [Shyster Content Marketer #1], [Shyster Content Marketer #2], [Shyster Content Marketer #3], [Shyster Content Marketer #4], Malcolm Gladwell, and [Shyster Content Marketer #5].”

Whether it is due to ignorance or arrogance, their comment above makes me want to shout, “Go read the fucking book!”

Okay, now that I’ve cooled off, let’s play a game.

“Not always,” said his nephew, a would-be sharp operator who lacked for the satisfaction of his ambition only the quality of sharpness and who expended all of his energies, as far as Joseph could see, on preserving his opinions from contamination by experience.

Sitting upon a lily pad, oblivious to the insects and small water creatures flitting around within the radius of its deadly tongue, a solitary frog gazed in rapt attention at a ballet-yogercise class dancing and stretching behind the floor-to-ceiling tinted glass walls of the castle’s state-of-the-art fitness center.

As they walk home in silence, Arlene curses her body. First, it wouldn’t produce a child. And now it bunches and sags and wrinkles. She thinks about the ads she’s seen, the ones that promise to replace aging bodies with smooth, cybernetic shells. The next day, she nearly crashes her aero-car on the way to the clinic; her eyesight is fading, just like the rest of her. The doctor from the ads is movie-star handsome. “I want a full replacement,” she says in a loud, high voice. “My brain in a fresh, new body.”

That’s what I was writing, and writing well, IMHO. What shocked me was that he had a problem with it. He was adamant that the Salvation of Humanity, from a Catholic perspective, pivoted on the shape of God’s genitalia.

Wearing the uniform of an executioner from a dystopian Frost poem, I stepped out into the early summer morning. Wet grass, swarming mosquitoes, and the smells of nighttime growth all compressed the external quiet to some place deep in my chest. I walked calmly up to the raspberry patch where I had set the trap. She was there. Silent and alive.

She headed downtown, under a sky the color of malice, dark and foreboding. The weather report had said rain. But it’s not going to rain, Ashley thought. The sun is going to come out. I’ll make a deal with you, God. If it doesn’t rain, it means that everything is all right, that I’ve been imagining things.

Finally, I want to illustrate the difference between intelligent writing and self-help hogwash.

I’m sorry, but the “Laws of Attraction” don’t get a seat at the same dinner table with evolution, gravity, and relativity.

If you want to become a better writer, you can do it if you use the right tools, put in the work, and read intensely.

Here’s to better writing.


The semi-collected Lon Shapiro

Lon Shapiro

Written by

Father of two amazing men. Peak Performance coach for professional athletes. Ad agency creative director, writer & artist. Tireless research. Author of 5 books.


The semi-collected Lon Shapiro

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