3 Solid Reasons Every Writer Needs to Use an Editing Tool

A few years ago, I decided to start freelance writing. I didn’t have any clients (or any idea what I was doing), so I began where most freelance writers begin: trolling job boards. 

I probably sent out at least 100 applications before I finally landed a solid gig.

Want to know how I landed it? Using an editing tool.

This particular job posting asked for a standard cover letter and writing sample. However, it also had a unique request: I needed to identify the grammatical error within the post. 

I read the post through a few times and couldn’t easily identify the error. So, I did the logical thing: I copied the whole post, pasted it in an online editing tool (ProWritingAid, to be precise), and ran a report.

Bam. There was the mistake.

I popped it into my cover letter and got the job. Just like that, I was officially a freelance writer…with a real client!

If you want to be a freelance writer or editor, you need to be using an editing tool.

Stop resisting using an editing tool

I resisted using an editing tool for a long time.

For some reason, I thought that using an editing tool made me a less legitimate writer. If I wanted to call myself a writer, I needed to be able to catch grammatical errors or inconsistencies myself.

Still other writers I know resist editing tools because they worry that using technology will remove the style from their craft. They want their work to remain unique and worry that using technological suggestions will affect the personality in their work.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

All writers make errors and can benefit from an extra set of eyes. And editing tools don’t take the personality out of your work – they simply give you an informed set of options that you can engage with and decide if they fit your work.

Editing tools are the best way for freelance writers to improve their craft. Here are three reasons why.

1. An editing tool can help you produce work more efficiently

One of the best parts about working with editing tools is that they can help you produce higher quality work more efficiently.

For many writers (myself included), the writing is the fun part. Editing? Not so much.

But editing is a necessary part of every good writer’s process – even if you work with a fantastic human editor. 

Editing tools are perfect for those first-round edits. A tool like ProWritingAid can help you catch missed commas, repeated words, spelling errors, and more — all with the touch of a button. By using an editing tool, I save myself hours of carefully reading my work to catch mistakes I missed. That means that my drafts are higher quality when I eventually submit them to my editing teams.

2. An editing tool can help you improve as a writer

Even the best writers can develop bad habits.

For instance, I get very fixated on specific words. I’ll use them over and over in my work. My latest phrase of choice is “simply put.” I can’t stop dropping it into the posts I write!

One of my favorite parts of using an editing tool is catching those mistakes. When I proofread on my own writing, I often don’t catch repeats or any of my other usual gaffes…because they sound right to me! My impartial editing tool is handy at highlighting those habits and helping me fix them.

Plus, getting reports about what I’m doing wrong helps me improve. I wouldn’t have even known I was overusing “simply put” if ProWritingAid hadn’t told me. Now, every time I type those words, an alarm bell sounds in my head and I stop to think about how I can write something fresh.

3. An editing tool can help you transition between different types of writing

As a freelance writer, you’ll likely find yourself transitioning between different niches and different types of writing. Sometimes, I work on grants and formal types of work. Other times, I’m writing blog posts. Occasionally, I even write content for children!

Editing tools can help you transition from one audience to another. 

ProWritingAid offers a readability report, which helps me adjust the difficulty of my language up or down depending on who I’m writing for. Similarly, I can change up my writing style, so that the reports compare my work to other pieces in my niche. These reports help me understand my writing and recalibrate as I shift from assignment to assignment.

You can’t afford to not use an editing tool

Once I started working with an editing tool, my freelance writing career took off.

Now, I’m able to quickly and easily write strong content – and more of it. Working with an editing tool allows me to catch silly mistakes and make changes that improve the substance of my work. Rather than letting my weaknesses distract from my writing, I’m able to overcome them.

Better still, I’m learning, and becoming a better writer, every day.

Editor’s note: Looking for an editing tool to use for your own writing? You’re in luck! ProWritingAid is offering The Write Life community a 25% discount on the ProWritingAid Premium tool

This post, written by a member of the ProWritingAid team, contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!

Photo via Lamai Prasitsuwan/ Shutterstock 

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Is the Freelance Writers Den Worth It? Here’s Our Honest Review

Editor’s note: We review ebooks, courses and tools for writers, so you can make good decisions about how to invest in your writing career. As you know, The Write Life only promotes people and products we can stand behind 100%. 

That’s why we’re excited to partner with Carol Tice, award-winning freelance writer and the founder of the Freelance Writers Den. The Den is only open for a limited time! If the membership program is a good fit for you, join by Tuesday, June 25, 2019.  

I’ll be honest: a huge part of the reason I became a writer was to avoid networking.

I’m an introvert and also one of those kids who, when tasked with group projects, made everyone else in the group give me their stuff so I could do it all myself. “Teamwork” and “collaboration” don’t have prominent places in my vocabulary.

But as I quickly learned (and as you know if you’ve spent more than two seconds trying to freelance), this is not a business where you can go it alone. Finding a writing community, or at least some reliable industry resources you can turn to, is a critical step to creating the kind of freelance career you’re dreaming of. And fortunately, there’s an option that doesn’t require leaving the house — or even putting on pants.

What is the Freelance Writers Den?

Taking place entirely online, the Freelance Writers Den is the perfect place to find a resource-packed writing community, especially for socio-phobes like me.

But since its 1,100+ members come from all over the world, it’s also helpful for bona fide extroverts, even if they do already have access to a real-life writing circle. Even the richest local writing community can’t compete with global!

The Den was founded in 2011 by Carol Tice, the “Den Mother” and mind behind the Make a Living Writing blog. She’s been a successful freelancer for more than 15 years and today earns six figures doing it. She wanted to help other freelancers find real financial success as efficiently as possible — and also to stop the influx of one-off how on earth do I do this? emails she had in her inbox.

Membership to the Freelance Writers Den comes with a host of useful tools, content, and learning opportunities, which we’ll dive into below. It costs $25 per month with no obligation — which isn’t crazy expensive, but isn’t nothing, either.

So what do you get for your price of entry?

What features do you get as a Writers Den member?

For most of us, freelancing isn’t exactly a get-rich-quick scheme — so when we pony up for a writing resource, we want to know we’re getting our money’s worth.

Here’s what the $25-per-month Freelance Writers Den Membership gets you.

Online community forums

Ever sit down to write a story (or pen a pitch, or start a blog, or — you get it) and wish you had a friendly fellow freelancer whose shoulder you could tap to ask for advice, or even just commiserate?

The Freelance Writers Den forums are the next-best thing: an active, affable group of writers convening to swap tips, ask and answer questions, and share both challenges and success stories.

Unlike even the most active real-life writers’ group, the Den’s forums are open for your musings 24/7, and they’re organized into helpful and relevant categories. Maybe you’re looking to amp up your marketing skills or ask a specific writing question — or maybe you’re just looking to meet more writers in your position. Either way, there’s a board for it, and a writer (or ten) on the other end waiting to connect.

Live and recorded resources

The Freelance Writers Den is first and foremost a community, and the ability to connect with other freelancers working to meet their goals is invaluable on a fundamental level.

But there’s also a whole lot of expertise to be mind from that community, and it’s available in the form of more than 300 hours of evergreen resources — as well as an actively-updated calendar of live events.

  • Bootcamps are essentially four-week-long ecourses, and your Writers Den membership gives you instant access to almost two dozen of them. They’re designed to help you get to the next step in your writing career no matter where you are on your journey, from finding your first-ever paid gig to breaking into business writing or building a better writer website. Each bootcamp comes complete with videos and engaging homework assignments, and the ones offered live on a monthly basis feature real-time Q-and-A calls to help you make the most of the effort you’re putting into the course. They’re also augmented by discussions in the forums so you can connect with other writers diving into the same topics, and get feedback from the experts dishing the details. (In other words, it’s nothing like being yelled at by a Drill Instructor.)
  • Webinars and Podcasts are also offered by industry influencers on a regular basis, including a helpful “Ask the Editor” series which gives you an insider view of what, exactly, editors are looking for. You’ll also learn to overcome fear, increase productivity, and figure out the business end… not to mention, of course, honing the craft itself.
  • The Resource Library is where all this content lives once their livestream has passed, and it’s packed with over 300 hours of content. So even if you can’t make the scheduled events, you’ve still got plenty of helpful goodies to wade through.

Non-crappy job board

Finding gigs is one of the hardest parts of freelancing, hands down. Finding good gigs is even harder.

That fact is why I really appreciate the Den’s built-in job board, which is heavily moderated. You won’t find anything that pays less than $50 per post.

New listings are added twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays, so you’re not inundated — but there’s also no shortage of opportunities to scope out. You’ll find both remote and on-site listings for copywriters, editors, content marketers and more, and along with regular old freelance gigs, there are also part-time, contract, and retainer positions. The nature of the gig is made clear before you even click on the listing. Pretty darn cool.

That’s really just the start of what’s available; as the helpful Orientation Guide puts it, the Den has “a lot of nooks and crannies.” Fortunately, you can easily keep tabs of it all with once-weekly newsletters that come out every Monday, getting you ready to tackle your week with strength and success.

What do I like about the Freelance Writers Den?

I’ve been making a living as a freelancer for a while now, and only just learned about this resource. Which parts made me say, “Man, I wish I’d known about this earlier?”

Well, I’ll admit it: I’m not really the ecourse type. I’m midway through my third full year of freelancing, and I’ve yet to find one I’m willing to drop money on. (Of course, I was lucky enough to learn a lot of my freelancing skills through friendships with other writers, giving me a jump-start that not everyone gets. There’s that networking thing again!)

But I know plenty of writers adore ecourses — and I have to say, a Den membership seems like a great way to access them. It offers both an active, rotating calendar of live events as well as scores of pre-recorded bootcamps, podcasts, and webinars, and you get into all of it for just $25 per month. That’s way less than the fees I usually see advertised on private ecourses.

What I do love about the Freelance Writers Den: the job board and the forums.

  • The gigs posted on the job board are authentic, high-quality, and easy to filter, and I saw a few that hadn’t already crossed my radar via the grapevine or my newsletters. It’s nice to know they’ve been pre-screened for non-crappiness, so I don’t have to be quite as critical as I usually am while I’m clicking through. No freelancer has time to work for peanuts, and we have even less time to scrounge around on the internet trying to figure out where the well-paid jobs are. So for me, the Den’s job board is easily worth the price of entry all on its own.
  • The forums are an amazing way for a work-from-home writer to interface with other real, live people — who actually understand the unique challenges we face as freelancers and can help us find the resources, opportunities, and advice we need. I especially love the board dedicated to feedback and critiques, which allows you to get some gentle constructive criticism from other writers before you ship off your piece to an editor or potential client. Hey, better to hear it from a peer than a paying customer — or to have it derail your pitch!

What do I not-so-like about the Freelance Writers Den?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about this community. The recorded content could keep you busy for months, and with a vibrant group of writers ready to chat in real time, you’ve got other minds to bounce those new tips and tricks off of.

But no platform is perfect — and if I had to pick a part of the Writers Den that could use improvement, I’d say the user interface could be a little bit more intuitive. Those “nooks and crannies” Tice mentions are well-described; it’s easy to get lost back here! And while the main parts of the site are helpfully listed as links in the site header, I constantly feel like I might be missing something as I click around.

Ready to sign up for the Freelance Writers Den?

So what’s the catch? Well, the Freelance Writers Den only opens its digital doors to the public twice a year… but the good news is, the window’s open right now!

So if you’re interested in joining a worldwide community of freelancers and hustlers just like you, jump on in. As we mentioned above, it’s only $25 per month and you have no contract to sign or obligation.

In fact, if you decide it’s not right for you within seven days, you’ll get your money back. So if worst comes to worst, you spend a week networking with other cool writers who might even become long-term contacts.

When it comes to freelancing, few decisions are this easy.

Click here to grab your seat in the Writers Den today.

Remember, the The Freelance Writers Den is only open for a limited time — register by Tuesday, June 25, 2019 to save your spot. Click here to join the Freelance Writers Den

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!

Photo via apichon_teeShutterstock 

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