Why You Need More Than An Editor

My Book Editor Suggested Grammarly

As a hobby blogger and beginning writer, I started using Grammarly (affiliate link) at the suggestion of my editor, Debbie Simorte.

And here’s why.

It does not matter if you are the best or worst grammarian in the world, you will make and overlook mistakes. It goes with the territory of writing. You can hire an editor to read and check everything you write, or you can trust that you will catch everything yourself. If you are ok with either of those options, you do not need Grammarly.

editor

Maybe You Do Not Need An Editor

I wrote for years without either an editor or Grammarly.  YEARS! When I started blogging, spammers told me that my site was “rife with errors.” I laughed because they were spammers. As time went on, and I started different blogs I wanted to reuse and expand on some of my material. By that time I had one book published by a traditional publisher and was working on the second book. My indie book publisher recommended Grammarly. So, I tried the free version.

Fast forward a few months. Going back through some of my posts embarrassed me. I realized that the spammers had some cause in their evaluation. Grammarly and I both found errors.

Maybe you are not as prideful as I was am. I hate making mistakes. I do not like them pointed out to me. When my husband does it, and I get defensive and grumpy. He “walks on eggshells around me after he reads for me.” He does not want to tell me when a sentence does not make sense, usually because I’ve cut and pasted one too many times.

Not because I do not write clearly – heaven forbid!

Grammarly Works Better than a Loved One

Grammarly has no compunction about letting me know what it thinks is the correct way to write. When I do something wrong, there is a little red circle or a tiny yellow dot in the bottom right corner of my post, and Grammarly also highlights the mistake. Usually, I forgot a comma or have an extra period. Sometimes I type the word wrong, or I don’t know how to spell it.  Grammarly is not careful with my feelings. It lights up in red.

When things are going well, the Grammarly symbol stays green, and I am happy. To be honest, when I first started I did not like my progress reports – “Grammarly has corrected 150 errors this week.” I am competitive. I wanted to improve each week. I did not always make progress. I think I opted out of those reports. I got grumpy at Grammarly.

Let Grammarly read your work first, then give it to your loved one or editor.

So What, I’m Not Perfect

Why should anyone care if I use an editor or not?

The truth is, no one cares how many mistakes you make on a rough draft. The important thing is that you correct them before you hit the publish button. If you do this, your site will not be like mine, “rife with errors.”

You can correct errors in the body of your post, but do not forget your headline. I can’t tell you how many times I spelled Gravatar with an “i” instead of an “a” after the v because that is how I pronounced it. The sad thing was that the word was in my title, and when I changed it, it still showed up in social media, even when I republished it.

I tried deleting the post from social media and reposting the corrected version, but the mistake still appeared when I pasted the link manually into my social media accounts. Another option would have been to create an entirely new post with a corrected title and republish it. The problem with that is that you lose any comments on your post. The comments from people who write, “You misspelled a word in your title,” you might rather erase. True but embarrassing, right? But I hate losing the thoughtful conversations that come from engagement with the heartfelt thoughts I’ve expressed in my article.

Here is another simple, but a pervasive problem I have discovered through Grammarly. Some of my education and practices are outdated. YIKES! I can’t believe I said that out loud!

Seriously, I Am Outdated?

In the dark ages when I learned to type after we put a period at the end of the sentence, we put two spaces. NO!  In the world of Twitter, every space counts. Why use up extra ones for no good reason?

My book had 200 + pages of double spaces to correct. I still sometimes forget and space twice. Then my writing is not consistent. Debbie taught me to use the markup version of Word that shows every space as a blue period. I go blind! I barely can see the black periods, let alone the blue ones. It is much easier on my vision to relax and let Grammarly remind me that I have an extra space somewhere I do not need it!

I tend to overuse passive tense. Now I write differently. Styles change. Grammarly tells me when I forget. Sometimes I think passive tense works best. Then I use it. ON PURPOSE.

editor
Marsha, you should try Grammarly.
Hands off! My writing is fine!

Grammarly Is Not For Me

Some people do not like Grammarly or other computer editing programs. There are times I may not agree with Grammarly, but I have the advantage of knowing what it thinks about my writing. I can still click ignore and follow my leanings.

It does not take away my ability to think for myself. Nor does it make my content deeper, more thought-provoking, controversial, or funny. (dang!) I use it as an assistant reading over my shoulder who has my best interests in mind. I’m still the boss of my words, but he checks with current practices and correct spelling to make sure I look good to the public.

The moral of my tale is that it is better to make sure that your rough drafts do not end up published. Readers love you if they love your thoughts, your kindness, and your interest in them. They will overlook your mistakes. People listen to you and respect your opinions if they are well thought out. Grammar is more than the icing on the cake, but it is not the cake.

Using incorrect grammar is like buying a beautifully iced delicious cake, putting it in a fancy box to protect it on the way home, and then scraping off parts of the icing as you take it out of the box. The cake still tastes great, but the polished effect is gone. Don’t let a box ruin your icing.

If you want to try Grammarly, click here.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Six months ago I upgraded Grammarly, and it does correct more mistakes. I have recommended it in earlier posts as a user, not as an affiliate, and Grammarly emailed me and thanked me and asked if I wanted to become an affiliate. I said yes, and the Grammarly team rejected me.

SERIOUSLY! It was when Daniel was working on my site. Your website can’t be under construction if you want to be a Grammarly affiliate. So you know that affiliates are not fly by night spammers. They might be your friends on WordPress. 🙂  Or they might be your book editor. By the way, I have made corrections and inserted affiliate links in those posts if you want to check them out.

As a teacher, as a writer and blogger, I recommend using Grammarly. You can use the free version forever, and it catches mistakes that WordPress or spell check does not.  You can upgrade, like I did, to find more subtle errors.

PS, can you guess which baby in the featured image is me?

Related Posts

How to Get the Most from the Free Grammarly Service

Check Out Free Grammarly Service BEFORE You Contact Your Editor!

Free Grammarly Service
Oh NO! My worst nightmare!

This service boosts my morale. I had no idea I wrote so many words. I’m even pleased about the number of mistakes. I wonder if I’ll make fewer mistakes next week. 🙂 Follow-up note was that I improved 33%.

free grammarly service
My first Grammarly Report

Is there a possible downside to this service?

I found out is there is. Grammarly (affiliate link) does not read your WordPress post titles. I made a huge mistake, which I have done before, and ignored spell checker because I thought I had it right. Have you ever done that?

A copy editor says that many writers do.

Free Grammarly Service
Hey, I’ve been writing it that way my whole life!

Gravatar. I’m going to bold that word. I’ve been mispronouncing it and therefore misspelling it every time I write it, which fortunately is not often. Now that I know, I STILL missed it – in my title, permalink, and in my tagline.

The problem with that is that it went out on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and numerous other social media – incorrectly. This wastes a ton of time and makes me look bad.

Even though it doesn’t cure the initial bad display of my writing, I’ve thought of solutions.

  1. Step One: Compose your work entirely in Google Docs or Word. However, I do not think the free Grammarly service checks either of those platforms. (You can upgrade, though.)
  2. Step Two: Then paste the entire post, title and all into your WordPress “Add New Post” page. Grammarly (affiliate link) does check that work. (Just not the title!)
  3. Step Three: Cut the Title from the body of the post and paste it into the title section.
  4. Assuming that you’ve already posted a bad post, this is like digging out a bullet with no Novocaine. Delete the post. You can not correct it. Even if you correct it in WordPress that awful title remains on your timeline for everyone to see how unprofessional dumb you are. Hit Delete! No matter how many people liked it already.
  5. Correct it in WordPress. Change the permalink, tagline, and title – don’t forget! Delete the title from the body of your post and reschedule it!
  6. If that does not work – and it did not for me, then copy and paste the words and pictures from WordPress into a new post, Cut and paste the title, and publish it. That worked for me.

Maybe you have other solutions. Please share them! Someone will love you for it!

By the way, do you like my memes?