One of the biggest challenges facing bloggers is the command of the language. In my case, I write using English, but it has been decades since I graduated from school. In other words, I had forgotten about sentence structures and other rules. As I continue to learn and improve my writing skill, let me share some of my thoughts today.
This might seem trivial as writing a blog is nothing different from talking. But the reality is that a lot of people are hesitant due to fear of backlash. For instance, some people I have talked to do not want criticisms for wrong grammar or spelling.
“You have to check your spellings before posting online,” a friend said. I remember him telling me in the gentlest way possible. Over the years, I came to know bloggers who were not as fortunate. Some were not only criticized but also bashed for their mistakes in writing.
In some ways, I sympathize with those poor bloggers but I could not relate. The fact is that I never went through what they did. Even so, the right attitude would be to take things in stride and keep growing.
The Attitude of Continuous Growth
Even if one were to strive to be better each day, that can be a challenging task. Already, there are too many distractions. For that reason, we need help.
Help could come in the form of finding people to be accountable to. For instance, a couple or more bloggers could become accountability partners. In such relationship, partners keep a tab on scheduling and deadlines.
Rather than policing each other, accountability partners could take such relationship higher. For instance, partners could decide on lessons they would like to learn. After dividing the lessons, each one would have to learn and then teach the other. As a result, the act of coaching leads to mastery learning.
Help on improving writing skill does not only come from people.
When thinking about the hundreds of millions of sites on the web, does it not follow that there would be tools?
Of course, there are a lot of tools available. In fact, there might be too many that it gets confusing when choosing the tools to use.
The existence of such tools was alien to me until I acquired the attitude of continuous growth. It was then that I began learning more about writing and came across useful tools.
Come to think about it. Is it not a tendency of people to learn how to be better at something they like or plan to do?
Using Hemingway Editor and Grammarly to Improve Writing Skill
In the past, I write articles using Microsoft Word, which I find to be better than Pages. Even so, I still commit too many mistakes that friends point out to me after reading the posts online.
By then, the need to improve writing skill is among my top priorities when it comes to blogging. It is not a surprise then that I would come across Grammarly.
Now, there are two mindsets when it comes to using a grammar and spelling checker tool. One is to spot mistakes and correct them. Another and the better mindset is to learn why it was a mistake and learn.
For a while, I wrote articles using Grammarly. But once I learned about the importance of readability scores, I needed to use another tool. To be fair, I have not used the premium features of Grammarly, so I have no idea if it could help me with readability.
Today, I use Hemingway Editor, a simple word processor that allows me to write easier to read articles.
There is a free online version where one could use to compose articles. While I started with using the free version, I have since paid and downloaded the full version.
When it comes to readability scores, there are a few rules to follow. This is where the editor comes in. By keeping the number of warnings low or nil, readability improves.
Why is this important?
In the case of Google SEO, that might be a small factor as the company obsesses with great user experience. As a blogger and a writer, I would like to make articles easier to read. As it is, most people do not have the patience, and difficult to read posts are likely to turn them away.
Grammarly Automated Proofreader
Once done writing an article using Hemingway Editor, the next thing I do is to use Grammarly.
Like I said earlier, it is better to use tools as a means to learn more. It is for that reason that I commit fewer mistakes today compared to when I started. But that is not to say I am perfect.
The free plan has limited functionalities, but even so, it is much better than Microsoft Word. To be fair, there are still instances where Word spots what Grammarly should have spotted. To unlock the advanced features, then I would need to pay for the subscription.
Is it worth it?
Before I share my thoughts, let me also say that I have the attitude of disregarding costs. Not that I am filthy rich, but it is important for me to know the value I am receiving when making purchases.
Using this article as an example, I see the mistakes I did. But more than that, there are also 17 advanced issues. It bugs me that I had no idea what those were.
Regardless, I recommend Grammarly to everyone I talk to. As for the full-time and freelance writers in my team, I insist they use Grammarly.
Upgrade to Grammarly Premium?
I paid $19.99 for a copy of Hemingway Editor. Grammarly, on the other hand, would cost more as it is subscription-based.
The question is if it is worth the price.
Readers, I will answer that question on a follow-up post in a couple of weeks. It turns out that there is a way to try the premium account for free, but only up to a month. This is a part of their affiliate program.
In the meantime, let me end this post by saying this.
As a writer and a blogger, there is a need to improve writing skill. One thing leads to another, so goes the saying. What I know is that growth leads to the better, hence the importance of continuous growth.
There are people we could approach and tools we could use. Already, there are countless tutorials available on the web. There is no shortage of means to improve. If there is one thing that stops us from growing, then it is us and no one else.