It’s no secret, out of all the talents I may have, the acuity for perfect grammar is not one of them. As a child, my poor spelling was covered up only by my even worse handwriting. As hard as I try, remembering to use “then” instead of “than” seems to find a way to slip by me!
Spellcheck and other technology gave me the confidence I needed to write more often, and a 140 character limit on Twitter helps force you to find more value in fewer words. However, those technologies are limited in scope and miss simple word confusion like “then” and “than” that slip by now and again.
If there are others out there like me, and it sounds like there are THEN I need you to check out this great new tool! It will help you push out more consistently proofed and well-manicured copies of writing THAN you’ve ever had before!
The tool is called Grammerly.com. I’ve only been using it for less than 24 hours, but I’m already impressed. The basic plan is free, and it comes with this neat little Chrome extension that super-charges your browser-based text. Here are a few of examples:
Unfortunately, it still missed some “then” and “than” mix-ups, as well as a few situations where two words should be one (e.g. proofreading). These are mistakes that only a person would catch. That’s where the fun part comes in.
They have this neat feature called “Professional Proofreading,” and for $0.02 per word, you can request a real live human to read over your material. Below is my experience and what provoked me to write up this blog!
Of course, you wouldn’t use a professional proofreader all the time, but for important emails to the public or to double-check each blog post, it may be money, and time, well spent. Enjoy!
Knol (http://knol.google.com/) is a product from Google that allows users to post content about whatever they feel they have expertise in to th web. At first glance I wondered if this would cannabalise blogger or any other form of content publishing Google already has on the market. After diving deeper I realized that knol is between a blog and a wiki. In that it’s not just for posting information in a time line like a journal, although there are plugins to make blogging apps work less like a journal and more like a site, and it isn’t modertated bu some elite “truth finder” entity like a wiki.
About 6 months a go a friend asked mine asked me for some direction when trying to figure out a way to put up what he knew about his local citities night life, as he found many people came to him for suhc data, but he didn’t want it to neessacarily be a blog. A blog in his eyes was to date based and abstract. He wanted a different interaction model that allowed users to dive into specific ascpets of information about going out in his city. Not knowing of Knol at the time I told him the simplest thing to do would be to start writing a blog and if there is traction but some extra time into manipluate the front end to cater more to his needs through stylings and graphics or plugins. So based on that interaction with him then I can see exactly how Know could have an audience to cater to. I offered this tool to him recently and he seemed pretty excited about it. I awat his response on how much better it is then the blog and I’ll be sure to let y’all know what he finds as soon as I get the info myself 🙂
With all the fast paced abstract thoughts that can transpire throughout the modern mans workweek I have found yet another reason to continue blogging. I think it has forced me to take my abstract thoughts, that come and go so quickly and have a tendency to linger and repeat in my consciousness, into constructing full thoughts and letting them pass when a blog is posted. It has forced me to train myself to finish thoughts out and take ideas from a very nebulous form into one that is less so by me needing to focus enough on those thoughts and attempt to put them down on paper in some legible format. The fact that these messages will be public forces me to even further examine my thoughts into legible writings so as to not look too crazy. Man it is so much harder then I thought it would be to translate all the things swirling around in my head as some written topic. I am not a good writer but that wont stop me — My fear of writing poorly is what has probably made me such a bad writer today.
I asked an uncle of mine one day to tell m the top three things he thinks made him successful and one of his top three things was “always write what your thinking down”. As he explained it, “it exposes all the holes that your imagination so easily covers up”. So true, I so often propose things verbally and for the most part the propositions work out but since I started catching myself and writing every small to large idea down, and not just as notes. I mean I stop and draw diagrams or spreadsheets and fill in all the holes that end up revealing themselves as concepts become physical structures on paper. I have found so many mistakes or holes so much earlier then usual as a result. I have noticed that the ideas seem to evolve a few times before I present them to my peers and allows me to think about more angles since I have a full system to look at in front of me, let my mind wonder around the core of the idea instead of just try to retain the core itself in my head.
For example, this post has been swirling in my head for weeks. Without this new found hobbie of blogging I would probably have to deal with these thoughts conciously or unconsciously and they never would feel complete. You bring it up on conversation and let others know about your perspective on things but its always just a thought. Now i know the thought has been completed and exists in time and space, almost indefinitely; I can now move on completely. This realization gives me a whole new appreciation for writing that was not impressed upon me as a child. I never really saw the point other then emails, letters and books to write well. But man not being able to construct your thoughts into a written form leaves you feeling incomplete. Your legacy, your feelings are all just inside you if you cant express them in some sort of infinite format like the written word. My kids are going to write a page about something everyday while they are under my house and the will thank me for it later….
BTW another great tip for obsessively ideas swirling around in your head…put a white board up in your room or a notepad next to your bed. You may have heard it before but do it if you find yourself going to bed with sleep or tossing and turning. and just expunge every thought weather its good or bad on paper or as graphics on a boar dand you get so much better sleep. Even just having the board or notepad sitting there eases the mind.
I have been wanting to start a Blog for sometime now, as it is the thing to do for any entrepreneur these days. Although most wouldn’t argue that I have allot to say and love to share my take on the philosophy of life, business, technology and more I have found it extremely difficult to translate those passions onto the ‘digital journal’ scene.
They say a blank page is one of the greatest barriers to overcome when starting a paper, so I decided to post this post about why I’m starting to post and why I haven’ t as of yet as the ‘blank page killer’.
Another big mental barrier for me has been my disdain for the speed limiting need for perfect grammar, spelling and my fear of public ridicule and my comfort in Anonymity. Writing on a public forum is like walking in public in just my boxers and a big sign with my name attached to my chest, but F*$K it right?
Here is a simple breakdown of some popular communication-based internet technologies, in plain English. Hopefully, it will help give readers a better understanding of the basic abilities, purposes, and differences these tools provide.
For each technology, I attached an “In Plain English” video to help explain the usage of the technology. In Plain English became popular in 2008 for their extremely basic no frills explanation of – things. So click on the link for each technology to get a quick breakdown.