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Editing made fun with Grammarly!

I've spent the last two weeks putting the finishing touches on my next book, 40 Days + 10,000 Swings, a companion guide to my second book, Sink or Swing: Working Out When Life Isn’t Working Out.

Whereas Sink or Swing is an in-depth look at my life and workouts throughout 2015; 40 Days + 10,000 Swings is a journal focused solely on the workouts themselves.

After sending out my first two books to a professional editor, the amazing Jim Dempsey at Novel Gazing, my wife wanted to take a stab at editing my work. She spends her days on the copy side of advertising so has plenty of experience. Hiring a professional doesn't come cheap, especially one as good as Jim, so I didn't argue about trying to save a bit of money on production of 40 Days.

She did an excellent job, and I was going through her many suggested changes, polishing up the final draft. I started adding the text into Vellum to begin the challenge of formatting, itself a fun learning process with being my first time using that program as well.

Looking for some tips on doing that, I came across a post on Joanna Penn's site, The Creative Penn, about Grammarly. It's a software package that adds another layer of editing, particularly useful when doing it yourself before sending to an editor. Or in my case, for one final polish after self-editing.

One thing is for sure; Grammarly is addicting! Once I got past converting my text into a format readable by the software, I had to split the file into two as Grammarly has a word limit, one of the few drawbacks to the software.

From there, I selected the creative non-fiction editor, and it went through my text line by line. My wife and I had done a pretty good job on our self-edits, which Grammarly rated as 84%. It was a solid effort but still had room for improvement. That's when it became addicting. I spent a few hours going through all the suggestions, tweaking my words section by section, slowly watching my percentage rise. It even checked for plagiarism against a database of millions of online pages. I polished up my writing until I got to 98%, not able to nudge it any higher due to some quirky language I used and wanted to keep.

Happy with the results, I exported it back into Word and then added each section back into Vellum for final formatting.

The cool thing about Grammarly is that it works with both Macs and PCs. It also works as a browser plugin for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox so you can use it to proofread emails or tweets before you send them. It's also checking this blog post as I type.

There are free versions so you can test it out before breaking out your credit card. If you'd like to unlock more advanced features like the plagiarism checker or genre-specific writing style checks, you'll need to pay a monthly, quarterly, or yearly fee. If you do a lot of writing, it's well worth the paid upgrade.

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