An aid for blogging

ProWritingAid – a tool for bloggers and writers

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now and it’s a very different discipline to taking and editing photographs. I find it harder.

Until yesterday, my method was to write the post and then use Yoast’s features to check my writing. That worked for shorter posts but the longer ones were a nightmare. So many suggestions. So many things to improve. I spent almost half the time implementing its suggestions.

I have two main faults – I tend to use too many words when fewer would do and passive voice is used instead of active voice.

Oops! I just did it again! Buty now I have a ‘friend’ who points it out right away:

ProWritingAid
Faults spotted immediately!

The above picture is a screenshot of my friend in action. He’s immediately underlined two parts of the sentence. If I mouse-over them he tells me what’s wrong and, sometimes, how to fix it:

Mistakes in style
The mistakes and what to do about them

Who is this friend?

ProWritingAid

My friend is a software program called ProWritingAid. As I write this post, it is sitting in my browser (Chrome) as a plugin, watching everything I type. As soon as it spots an error, it highlights the word or phrase. When I mouse over it, ProWritingAid tells me what the problem is and how to fix it. Sometimes it can fix it for me; I just have to click the suggestion or one of several suggestions. Other times, I have to figure it out for myself.

I will admit I was sceptical of using such a tool – I had read of other programs picking holes in top writers, such as Hemmingway or Dickens, and it put me off. However, I’m not writing a novel. I’m not writing an ‘arty’ piece of prose. I’m just trying to write clear, understandable information about photography and software.

Other ProWritingAid features

The web browser plugin offers the following:

  • Grammar checking
  • Style checker
  • Readability
  • Spell checking
  • A thesaurus

The ProWritingAid advantage

I no longer face a long, boring task at the end of writing my blog posts. ProWritingAid ensures I correct mistakes as they happen. Yesterday I posted a long review and, for the first time, Yoast told me the first draft had achieved Good readability.

The full ProWritingAid package

ProWritingAid is more than a browser plugin. The plugin offers its basic features, but the full desktop application (Windows and Mac) has a larger set:

ProWritingAid Desktop
The Desktop App

In this picture, ProWritingAid is assessing a Scrivener project. ProWritingAid can then check the whole project and I can quickly implement its suggestions. I can use the App to check Word documents, Open Office documents, Rich Text document and Markdown documents.

Other Integrations

ProWritingAid integrates with most Web Browsers, Google Docs, Microsoft Office and has a Web app, so I can use it on my iPad or Chromebook.

Try it for yourself:

 


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