Over the years, one thing I have come to appreciate is good writing. I started casual blogging in college during the wee days of online journaling. I feel I have come a long way. Still, I am no writer. However, I have learned to write like one.
There are many tools available online for non-writers like you and me. Some of these tools are free, and some are paid (and worth it). I haven’t reached that deal of sophistication yet, so I don’t use any paid tools, but I use many free tools.
Today, I will share two writing tools I use to ensure my writing is clean, clear, and concise.
1) Hemingway App
Think of the Hemingway App as your digital (better) proofreader. It can weed out common writing errors, part of a non-writers flow. It is a simple and effective app that does exactly what it’s supposed to – fix common mistakes.
As soon as I have the final draft, I copy-paste it into the online version of the Hemingway App – the free version. Right away, it does the magic, and I know exactly what I need to fix to make my post clean, clear, and concise.
You might think that it’s not that big of a deal. But it is when time is money. Yes, if you were to re-read your piece a few times, you might end up clarifying and making things simple.
The question is, do you have the time? If not, the Hemingway app is your best friend.
Hemingway’s online editor will highlight common problems associated with sloppy writing, such as:
- Sentence difficulty (read)
- Passive voice
It will color code the problem words and sentences and allow you to make a judgment call. Sometimes, you might need a specific sentence to sound a certain way. That’s okay, as long as you know there is a better alternative, no problems.
But if you thought your piece was already quite good, you get a second chance to keep your ego happy.
As mentioned earlier, the online version is free, but if you are the download type, there’s a PC and a Mac version available for $10.
Think of Expresso as a Hemingway App on mild steroids. It offers everything that Hemingway offers but takes it a little step further. Here’s what it highlights:
- Weak verbs
- Clustered nouns
- Rare words
- and more…
There will be times when using Expresso is overwhelming because it considers many technical details. Depending on the sophistication of your piece, it might be a good idea not to use it every single time but from time to time. I think the metrics it provides for writing can help you improve your writing in the long run.
That said, I have had some issues regarding what it suggests. E.g., it suggested that I use the word ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use.’ I cringe every time I read the word ‘utilize.’ This business jargon plaques good writing all over the web. I refuse to use it on my blog or at my job.
There you go, two great tools to keep your writing clean, clear, and concise.
Did I miss your favorite tool? Please let me know below.