When you ask writers about the tools they commonly use, Hemingway and Grammarly take the top-most positions.
Well, they make lives easy.
But, even if the writers do not want to, they need to use them in most cases. There is no escape.
And, guess what? While making the lives of the writers easy, they make their content lifeless.
Before we talk about how these tools make content lifeless, let us see why they are used by writing professionals and the corporate world.
Why are content editing tools used?
Content editing tools like Hemingway and Grammarly are useful as they give you suggestions to rephrase/add/remove/replace words to make them grammatically correct and “easy to read.”
Grammarly particularly focuses on making the text grammatically correct and in the right tone.
Hemingway Editor aims at simplifying the text to the extent that even children can understand it easily. It does so by highlighting the areas that need your attention.
For newbie writers and those with not-so-good command over language, these tools might help improve the sentences structures and make the content more presentable.
Running the content through the editing tools before finalizing/publishing might help by highlighting some mistakes and offering suggestions that might save one from obvious mistakes.
But then, why are these tools not so cool?
Although made to make writers’ lives easy, the editing tools actually make their content lifeless.
Let us have a look below:
1. No creativity, only simplicity
The structure and style of content have become uniform for most content online. The editing software suggests changes in words that remove the creative side of it.
For example, Hemingway suggests removing words that are not directly related to the content.
If a writer does so, the content does not offer a new perspective but instead serves information that is provided elsewhere.
So, simplification is not the only thing that makes content shine.
2. No personal voice of the writers
If you read books, you might have some favorite authors, which makes you read more books.
They have their own voice that you resonate with.
But, in digital times, due to online tools and algorithms for ranking, that unique voice has faded away.
It is like putting on a colorful t-shirt with bleach and take it out bland.
3. Sometimes they are also wrong.
If you are a user of Grammarly, you might already know how it sucks at times by suggesting some incorrect words, and after you change those, it shows that as incorrect again and gives more suggestions.
For instance, on typing “you’re,” it suggests “your” even when there is no possession. Changing it to “your” leads to another suggestion, i.e., “you are,” which actually is correct based on the context.
It seems like a hit-and-trial method, isn’t it?
And, these tools are mostly against using passive voice, but they must realize there are no better alternatives at some point.
4. Machines are machines!
No matter where the technology is taking people, AI cannot be as real as humans.
Humans write with emotions, experiences, and their personal touch. But machines simply cannot!
Humans can tell stories; machines cannot!
By suggesting to remove certain words like “really” and “actually” and “own,” these tools take away those emotions that connect the writer with the readers.
Using these editing tools might make your content clear, but along with that, it would also make it clean. So clean that your own voice and style of writing would vanish away.
It is high time we start acknowledging the distinct voices and styles of writers and stop expecting them to incorporate all the suggestions that editing tools highlight.
So how should you edit your content?
Editing content should include fact-checking, checking for grammatical errors by proofreading, and asking a WHY to yourself after every sentence to ensure it has some logic.
You can read out the content loud to make sure it sounds right and conversational.
For the formatting, you should consider the platform where it will be published, the audience who would read it, and the brand pattern.
Should you never use editing tools?
Irrespective of the fact that these tools take away your unique voice, they simply help the content for the general audience.
Thus, completely eliminating the use of this software might not be a wise decision.
You can run your content through these tools before finalizing to reconsider the highlighted parts.
Remember, RECONSIDER and not mandatorily change. Because the suggestions they show might act as constructive criticisms and not MISTAKES.
Whether you should accept those and modify them or not depends upon how you want to convey something.
If you feel like the sentence reflects your unique voice or personality or gives it a personal touch, it is fine to keep it and not be bothered about the suggestion.
But if it doesn’t, it is better to adhere to the suggestion to make the content clearer to the readers.
Mandatory proofreading and optimization, incorporating every single suggestion offered by the content editing tools, just do not let the writers be writers. Yet, writers usually depend upon these tools because of the fear of making mistakes or being rejected.
So, the next time when someone asks you to “improve” your writing style by incorporating every suggestion that these tools provide, you are a human and not a machine.
You have your voice- your unique voice for a reason. You should use it to make the most out of it.
No matter how well you do, everyone may not appreciate your writings or understand them well. But you don’t have to please EVERYONE.
So, focus on connecting well with those who acknowledge your distinctness and wish to know more of you through your writings.