Improve Your Writing With TextSoap

Along with PaperEdit, I'm using TextSoap, as a proofreading tool. Not the editor itself, but it's ability to combine RegEx with text highlighting and capitalization to call out words and phrases for improvement. My original "cleaner" had a list of common words I wanted to avoid, such as "just" and "that." I've made several enhancements to look for past tense words, prepositions and others. These are in separate "cleaners" I can call on as needed. Or I can chain them together in a single pass. For example, I've added \b(been|has been|being|to be|was)\b to call out specific past tense words. There is also a check for words ending in "ed," which is usually past tense. Of course, Ted isn't past tense, so it's not foolproof. \b(was \w+ed\b) Same goes for adverbs and "ly." Again, Lily isn't an adverb, so you have to take the good with the bad. \b(\w+ly\b) I've also created a list of prepositions, just to see how often […]

Improve Your Writing With PaperEdit

When it comes to revising your first draft, whether it be blog article or book chapter, the task can be daunting. Of course, there are tools like spellcheck and grammar check in macOS that are great, but what about other problems like, weak phrases, long sentences, passive voice, hyperbole, and other wording to clean up. While it’s no substitute for manually proofreading, tools like PaperEdit can help you focus your editing efforts on these specific areas. PaperEdit allows you to load or paste text, then highlights sentences that could be improved. As mentioned it will highlight passive voice, long sentences, recycled starting words, and repeated words. At a glance you can see where to focus. You can then cycle through each highlighted passage to see if you agree. I find this a great first step in the revision process. If there’s a rainbow of color, it’s time to make some serious edits. That’s not a bad thing because I know […]

How I Use Scrivener for Journaling

Despite the "dear diary" image the word journaling may conjure, it's an extremely beneficial tool and process. It's something I have been doing with Scrivener for years. Travel writers keep a journal of the places they visit, sites they see, people they meet. Scientists keep a journal a of their experiments, the results, and discoveries. Why not do the same thing for the journey of life? The "journal" can take many forms and isn't always written. Some people meditate to clear their minds or to focus on specific ideas. Some use yoga for the same purpose. Others listen to music and step away from tasks and chores for an hour. This allows their mind to explore and wander to new ideas. Others take time to write gratitude and affirmations. Some keep track of goals, activities, or events. For me the journal and the process of writing in it serves several purposes. At times it's a way to warm up for […]

How I Use Scrivener

Scrivener was one of the first, if not the first app I purchased for the Mac. When researching writing tools, Scrivener ranks at the top of the list. And for good reason. It's a complete writing environment that changes the way you approach text, pages, documents, and the writing process as a whole. In my previous life before the Mac, like so many others, I used and was a fan of Microsoft Word. I thought Word 2.0 was quite amazing after all those years of Wordperfect and it's "reveal codes." Word 2003 was an impressive evolution and allowed us to install more fonts than we could ever use. The 2007 version brought a ton of new features, but were they really about writing? That was also my last Word version. The UI and push toward desktop publishing features didn't work for me. When the Mac opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to use Scrivener. For the way I […]

Improve your writing with TextSoap

While getting ready for 2020, it occurred to me I can use TextSoap’s regex engine to improve my writing by finding and highlighting common and overused words. There are 3 steps to the process: Use the “If Text Matches” action with a list of words I want to highlight Format the foreground and background colors of the text Set problem words to capitals so they stand out After checking a couple of websites, I created this short list of words to focus on. \b(and|or|for example|but|just|other|more|new|good|best|many|first|able|basically|interesting|honestly|literally|very|really|quite|seems|had|even|that|seriously|to be honest|ridiculous|know)\b From there I used the Set Text Color, Set Background Color filters, followed by the Convert to Uppercase action. When finished, the “cleaner” can run inside Scrivener itself, so I don’t have to leave my main app to get feedback. It’s a simple formatter, but I think this will have a powerful impact.