Writing styles

Get organized! How To Improve Your Writing Today | The St. Clair Times

If you know a young person who has an article to write, do not hesitate to forward this article to him. If your life is about creating written content to inspire, inform, or persuade, read on. What I have for you are two technological tools to improve the writing skills of people of all ages.

Hemingway App

Ernest Hemingway gave us treasures such as “The Sun Also Rises”, “Farewell to Arms” and “The Old Man and the Sea”. He is famous for his short and powerful sentences. This style was something he learned as a little reporter for The Kansas City Star.

Hemingway App is a free website that helps you write in the same powerful style as the legend. The process is simple. Compose your text as usual. Then copy and paste it into the Hemingway app.

Check your ego

Check your ego at the door. The Hemingway app flags sentences as “hard to read” and others as “very hard to read.” The site reports the passive voice faster than your English teacher.

Don’t try to impress the Hemingway app with complex words. It offers simpler alternatives. It also underlines adverbs and encourages the author to minimize them.

The sidebar counts letters, characters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. It expresses “readability” by grade level.

The site does not require any login. It does not save your work. The best idea is to type in normal word processing software first. Then copy/paste into the Hemingway app.

The first attempt

The first step when visiting the site is to highlight and remove the sample. Then paste your own text. Get ready for a surprise. If you think your English teacher’s red pen was bad, that’s worse. But you can improve it.

Look at the highlighted items and start rephrasing. The colors start to fade as you make the changes which result in crisp, clear writing.

Over time, you’ll get a sense of what clear copy and powerful prose looks like. You see less “red marks” when pasting in the Hemingway app.

However, the site signals me the sentences that it considers too difficult. When I am satisfied with the site, I must admit that the writing is better. It’s easier to understand and more enjoyable to read for me. And if it’s more enjoyable for me, it may be more enjoyable for others to read too. I never press “publish” until I’ve run my copy through the Hemingway app. This post is an example.

voice instead

Am I the only person who can’t proofread their own stuff? When I reread, my eyes see what my brain wanted to write instead of what it wrote.

I tried to read my copy aloud. This exercise helps some. Usually my brain just tells my mouth to say what I wanted to say, not what I wrote.

But, if someone else reads my copy to me, my ears pick up the errors. Something doesn’t “sound right,” even though the words are being spoken at a rapid pace. It is then that I scrutinize the text and correct the error.

The tool I use is a free Chrome extension called “Voice Place”. It is a text-to-speech tool. After the one-click install, you will see its icon on the Chrome toolbar. Click on it and choose the desired voice and speech rate. Change them anytime. My favorite is “IBM Watson” with the voice “Allison”. The quality is surprisingly human.

How i use it

As a Chrome extension, Voice Replace works on any text in Chrome. So it’s not going to help with a Word document, but will help with something in Google Drive or a blog post. For material composed in Word, I copy and paste the text into the Hemingway application.

First, I work on items reported by the Hemingway app. Then I highlight a few paragraphs of text and run Voice instead. Highlight some text, right-click, and you’ll find “Voice Instead” in the menu. Sit down and listen. The combination of the Hemingway app and voice instead makes it easier for me to write.

Writing is important

I went to school at a time when the only people who read what you wrote were you, your mother, and your English teacher. I entered the job market at a time when the outlets were books, magazines and newspapers. Only “writers” have published.

Today anyone can start a blog and do it for free. Instantly anyone with something to say can write for anyone they think is worth hearing. It’s a huge change and a huge responsibility. It is also a huge opportunity. Today we are all writers.

Technology has changed our reach. If your goal is to write something good enough for the whole world to read, doesn’t it make sense to let technology help craft the message?

Frank Buck is the author of the Get Organized! and get organized digitally! “Global Gurus Top 30” named him #1 in the Time Management category for 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Dr. Buck speaks in the United States and around the world on organizing and managing the time. You can reach him through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.