My experience with Grammarly / My writing process

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If you've been around here for any time at all, whether it be a week or a year, you know and I don't really "do" sponsored posts. It's not because I'm opposed. It's because this is a personal blog that I don't put a lot of effort into finding those opportunities. But when Grammarly contacted me I was intrigued. (For the record, this post is not sponsored. I wanted to share my experience because that’s what I do here.)

I am not a grammar person. Writing isn't my profession, it's a release, and I like to keep it that way. So I was honestly a little wary to try Grammarly, but it was surprisingly enjoyable to work with. I used it to edit the essay I posed on Valentine's Day, There is always tending to be done. While there were times that I ignored the corrections it gave me, there were also many times it forced me to rethink my writing, and I know that made it a stronger essay. 

The essay began with maybe a hundred words of messy handwriting in my journal on our trip to Europe. It continued with another few pages written at the end of August. Then it sat there, until I decided that I wanted to flesh it out into a fully written piece. I began by continuing in the new notebook I’ve been using (the little Europe one being long finished by then.) spent one evening furiously typing into a word document, and finally finished writing one evening at my typewriter. (I re-wrote and compiled everything on my typewriter.)

After that I typed it all back into word, rearranging a few minor things. Normally, I would read it once more, possibly change a few more things, and be done with it. This is where Grammarly comes in. This time, I used their proofreader to edit it.

Here are some reasons to love Grammarly:

Explanations. They're the single most important reason that Grammarly is actually worth your time. It's not simply that you need a comma there or that you have a fragment, consider revising. There are long explanations for every correction. They include examples of correct and incorrect usage. This turns the editing experience into a learning experience, instead of just listing all the places you did something wrong. 

Choosing the paper type. One of the nice things about Grammarly is that you can choice what paper "type" you're reviewing and it will catch different mistake. For instance, running it under the general paper type my essay brought up 74 issues, but running it under the creative paper type brought up only 18 issues, which I eventually brought down to 9.

There's also a plagiarism check, which will check your paper for un-intended plagiarism. My essay linked me to a Harry/Hermione Fanfiction, a porn site, and a really cute hedgehog. So, probably useful when writing an academic paper that cites sources and quotes original material. Not as useful when writing a personal essay. 

Should you get it? While it definitely would have been useful during school. (Hello late night paper writing…) I actually think it would be more useful out of school, when I'm no longer getting any feedback on my writing. I will definitely consider using Grammarly for real in the future. And though I will continue to ignore corrections where I see fit, it's nice to know exactly why having them there is important to me stylistically, and when I'm overusing them. 

the book heart: no. 5 (the history of love)

Monday, February 17, 2014

This post is sponsored by Grammarly, an online proofreader that manages to turn editing into a seriously enjoyable (and valuable) experience. I will be following up this post later in the week with a more in depth explanation of Grammarly and my experience of it. 

The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, is a book that holds the best kind of characters. That is, the kind of characters that exist off the page. They're real enough that even the unwritten parts of them, the parts us readers don't get to see, still exist. And you know that somewhere in their book universe they go on living long after you've finished reading. 

It's the kind of book that all comes together in the last 50 pages. The kind of book that you read to the end with a tight chest, and then as soon as you reach the last page, all the breath rushes out of you. I won't get into the plot much, because it all sounds strange and silly when you say it out loud. Somehow Krauss ties it together perfectly. She writes it with just enough heart to make it meaningful, and just enough imperfection for it to resonate. 

It's a book that I will read again, with pleasure. I'm also pleased to have been just as affected by another book by Krauss. (Her debut, Man Walks Into a Room was one of the books in the first Book Heart series.) I'm looking forward to reading more by her. 

There is always tending to be done

Friday, February 14, 2014

In honor of Valentine's day, after the jump is an personal essay about love. This is the first thing in a while that I have been nervous to post. I don't want to write an essay before the essay, but I will say that love is a thing that flexes and changes. It can't be contained in one story. This is a very small portion of the love I have with Steele. But it is a real & hard part. Hopefully it's something someone out there can relate to.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm sure you've heard, it's snowing in Portland. Snow in a city is much different than snow in the mountains. Here, it piles up, on the sidewalks, among trash, and it turns to dirty slush in the roads. But still there's a quietness to it. Snow is always a blanket. Muting the sound and blurring the lines.