4 Tools to Improve Your Writing

By Laura Powers: Writer, Entertainer, and Coach, and host of Write Hot Podcast, Behind the Scenes Podcast, and Powers Hour Podcast.

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Whether you are writing a book, an email or a Facebook post, chances are you want it to be error free. There are some great tools that I have recently learned about that I wanted to share with you. They will help you avoid typos or other grammar mistakes as well as improve the quality of your writing. The best aspect of each tool is that they are easy to use.

Grammarly

I have been using Grammarly and I have found it very useful. There is a plugin that allows it to check any webpage including emails, blog posts, facebook posts, etc. When there are possible errors, they are highlighted in red and you can click on them and see what it suggests as a fix. It is like spell check and grammar check included for word but way more comprehensive and works on web pages which is really useful. No more accidental Facebook or email typos. It also works in Microsoft Word and is fairly comprehensive. It does use AI and it isn’t always correct but in many cases, it has helped me catch simple errors that I have overlooked. There is a free version and a premium version. I have found that the free version works well enough for me in most cases but if you are working on a more significant project like a book and want to save some time and money in the editing stage then premium may be a good option. The premium version may also be good for you in are not a native English speaker.

Pro-Writing Aid

This service has some crossover with Grammarly in terms of grammar and spell-checking but it does offer some of the premium services that Grammarly does, such as plagiarism checking, at a lower price point (just $50/year). One of the features I really like is that it looks for overuse of certain words or phrases and readability. There is also a web browser plugin like Grammarly. Another benefit for serious writers is that Pro-Writing Aid also works for Google Docs and Scrivner. You can also copy and paste anything into their website and it will find errors that way.

Between Grammarly and Pro-Writing Aid, you can catch a lot of errors. One of the interesting things I have found for myself is that when I see a common error that I have made in my writing through these programs, I am less likely to continue to make the error. So these programs have improved my writing in ways wouldn’t have expected.

One-Look Reverse Dictionary

This site is pretty simple, think of it as a quick reference for synonyms. Back when I had a lot of print books, I would use a thesaurus but now with just a click, you get similar information here. Another great advantage of this site is that you can search phrases in addition to works. This is a great tool if you find that you are overusing certain words and want variety.

Hemingway

This service offers some of the same features that Grammarly and Pro-Writing Aid though one of the things I like about this particular service is that it gives you details about why something is incorrect. This can make it easier to fix errors in the future. You can cut and paste text directly into the browser or download the software for mac or pc for $19.99.

Sources

Global Digital Citizen

Grammarly

Hemingway

NY Book Editors     

One Look Reverse Dictionary

 Pro Writing Aid

The Muse

Resistance: What it is and How to Move Through it

By Laura Powers: Writer, Entertainer, and Coach, and host of Write Hot Podcast, Behind the Scenes Podcast, and Powers Hour Podcast.

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Resistance is the avoidance of whatever is good, beneficial and necessary for positive change. As the Borg said is Star Trek, “resistance is futile.” In most cases, resistance is futile in our lives, it simply delays our progress and growth. When we experience resistance, we are often simply holding onto old ideas, patterns and beliefs, and resisting change. And change, as we all know, is inevitable.

Resistance can manifest as procrastination or avoidance at what we want to do. It can also manifest as feeling heavy or tired when we try to focus or do whatever we ultimately want to do in our lives. It can also manifest as distractions, or lack of focus. Is there something on your to-do list that always gets pushed back even though you really do ultimately want to get it done? This is resistance and it is a part of being human.

Here are some tips to help you work through resistance:

·       Take baby steps: We can often convince ourselves to make small, incremental progress. Over time, these baby steps can turn into giant leaps.

·       Get support: Get a partner, coach, or team to encourage you, provide accountability, and help you work through that resistance with support.

·       Get at the heart of the matter: See if you can address why you have the resistance. Is there an underlying fear that keeps you from making progress? Fear of success and fear of failure are two common roots to resistance. Sometimes even identifying this fear or pattern can help minimize it.

·       Make a plan: When working through resistance, putting concrete plans in place can be a very effective strategy. You can sign up for a class, set-up a meeting with an accountability partner, or hire a coach to help you create plans and stick to them. These are all incredibly effective strategies.

I also find it helpful to have patience and compassion for ourselves when working through resistance. Do not beat yourself up, or send negative energy to yourself by getting frustrated with your resistance or lack of progress. Have compassion but be firm in your approach to working through it. Resistance goes away, the more you do something which brings it up.

I had incredible resistance to screenwriting when I started. I felt overwhelmed and it was easy to avoid it completely. Except here is the thing – I really wanted to be a screenwriter! So I took baby steps: I downloaded screenwriting software, I read articles, and then books on screenwriting, I went to conferences, I talked to experts. I even submitted to contests to give myself writing deadlines. I still experience some resistance to screenwriting but it is so much easier than when I started. I now have 3 completed feature-length screenplays, 2 short screenplays (one of which I have produced), and two others feature-length screenplays that are in progress. It is not easy but it has gotten so much easier! Resistance is a completely natural aspect of learning something new and can be expected when you are embarking on a new undertaking.

As you work through it, remember it gets easier, resistance is normal, and focusing on what you want to accomplish or experience can help you move through it more easily. If you’d like support making a plan and working through your resistance, you can learn more information about working with me on the services page of my website: http://www.powershour.biz/services/

Hang in there and keep working through it! It is rewarding and your muscles to working through resistance get stronger as you go.