I have been busy since my last post. I have released two new books, attended YALLfest in Charleston, SC, survived a cold I caught from my seven-year-old which caused me to miss my own book release party, and survived the birthday party for said seven-year-old (who is now 8!).
Like most people with a blog, I sometimes struggle with what to post. I need to post something in order to keep and grow readership (or so everyone tells me). However, I have so much else going on in my life; I don’t often think about what my next blog post should be about. In lieu of just putting something out here to fill up space, I have decided to give a plug to a writing tool that I have begun to use recently called Grammarly.
My wife first put me on to this handy little tool when she purchased it for use in editing papers for college. One version of it can be used online for free, and the premium paid version can be downloaded and installed as a plugin for MS Word and Outlook email (and possibly other apps – check the website for a complete list). I have begun using it to correct grammar mistakes in my manuscripts, and I have to say I am impressed. It catches far more than the MS Word grammar and spell-checker does, and it gives contextual notes for every suggested correction if desired.
Not 100% of the suggestions the program makes are worth taking, but the vast majority of them are, and it has helped improve my writing. I’m sure my editor will be thankful I have begun using this little jewel when I send her my next manuscript. The program also checks for plagiarism in an extensive online database (I haven’t seen this part in action, though). This tool saved me from three comma placement errors in this post alone. At $139 a year for the paid version, it is a bit pricey, but if you are a full-time student or seeking to be a professional writer, it is definitely a tool you may wish to consider. You can always use the free version if the price isn’t right for you.