We hear this often:
Good writers don't need to use editing tools; they can just edit their own work.
This sentiment couldn't be farther from the truth. I make my living as a full-time, professional writer, and here are three reasons why I use an editing tool.
1. An editing tool finds the insidious edits you easily miss
Do you always check your work for repeated or overused words or phrases? I know I don't. Sometimes I can be so close to my writing that I don't notice when I've used a certain word too many times in the space of 3 or so paragraphs. In my mind, it sounds natural.
Do you analyze every sentence for length and pacing? Again, I don't. An editing tool will graph your sentence lengths and pacing to make it easy to see where and how you're using variety.
Do you notice when you start too many sentences with pronouns? You might catch this if you know you have the tendency. If you're not entirely aware of your tendencies, you may miss a few things that would tighten your writing.
An editing tool can instantly find edits that can benefit your writing. As Thomas Lewis said on The Write Life, "Why pound a nail with your fist when you could use a hammer?"
2. You choose the changes to make
An editing tool doesn't change your writing or your voice. It merely makes suggestions for ways to improve your writing technically and stylistically.
My college degree is in Professional Writing and Psychology. I say this not to brag, but to point out I should know grammar and style. However, after over a year of using ProWritingAid, I've become a better writer.
I've learned more about my writing style and my voice by using this editing tool. And I'm much more aware of technical and style issues as I type, meaning I have less editing to do.
Which leads to my final point…
3. An editing tool saves time so you can make more money
If you write for a living, your time is money. The more you can produce, the more you'll get paid. Anything I can do to increase my output helps my bottom line.
ProWritingAid can find the grammatical and stylistic errors I can find on my own—but in seconds instead of hours of revisions. I go through my work quickly and accept or reject the suggestions. I've cut my editing time down to less than a quarter over last year's editing time.
I can now produce 3/4 more work than I could last year, with a dramatic impact on my financial situation.
If I can find more tools like ProWritingAid to help me be more productive, I'm going to use them. Hands down. Doesn't make me a lazy writer; makes me a more productive writer.
Change is hard
I get it. I understand that change can be baffling, too.
When texting first came out on cell phones, I wondered why in the world would I send a text when I could call someone.
I'm sure someone in history wondered why they would ever need a clothes dryer when they could hang their clothes on a line to dry at no cost. Look at how much time modern conveniences have saved in our lives.
Henry Ford understood change, too.
"If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse."
Yes, change is hard. Don't let fear hold you back from becoming a better, more productive writer. Your bank account will thank you, and your editor will love you.