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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?

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9 replies »

  1. That was a very interesting article, Marsha! I have thought about using grammarly and others but I haven’t yet. So you used grammarly on this post? Cuz I found a typo–near your cake metaphor (…putting it a fancy box…). My copyeditor/proofreader eyes still work! 😉 Don’t hate me! Oh and I love how you made use of the image with the book and glasses!

    Like

    • hahaha. Yes, I used it, but some things I clicked ignore. However, I’ll check it out and see what I missed. I would never hate you. My eyes are horrible! 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I proofed it and revised it! Well I could, but not while I’m writing a comment! hahaha

      Like

      • Hahahaha! I couldn’t find it even reading it over two or three more times at 2:00 in the morning. Maybe the problem was the 2:00 in the morning! So the moral of THIS story is to read it out loud, not just a whisper voice. Even then sometimes I miss those errors because I read them correctly even though they are incorrect. I had a funny experience (not hahaha) when I worked for Walter Drake as a proofreader. A card came through signed BRAIN in huge print. I missed it. My boss showed it to me and asked me if I saw anything wrong with the card. I studied it. “No,” I answered truthfully. “Look again.” I studied it some more. We’re talking minutes here, not seconds. Finally, I saw it. My boss took me out of the proofreading department and put me into paste up!

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  2. Enjoyed reading about your grammarly experiences. I once thought of using it but for some reason didn’t follow through. It is interesting how style changes – no more indenting of paragraphs, not so many commas used and exclamation marks are a no no. Each year the government printers put out a revised style guide that if you are seriously writing you have to have. I am guessing that you are the younger of the two children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, no, I’m the older of the two of us. But I am the younger daughter of my grandmother, who’s only other child was my mom. So sometimes I felt like my mom was my sister. I have struggled with not using exclamation marks. I guess I use them as emojis. Shame on me. Commas have always been a total mystery. Grammarly doesn’t like a comma before but, but that just feels wrong. I had to erase the exclamation mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a complicated family positioning. Hard to get my head around younger daughter of my grandmother and your mom was your sister. I know what you mean – just hard to get head around. LOL. Feel sorry for exclamation mark!!!

        Like

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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