As an aspiring screenwriter, I need a job that didn’t impede my writing goals. In 2015, I quit my call center job and transition back to full-time writing. In preparation for the upcoming writing contest and fellowship submission season, I found myself with little time to write and edit my freelance assignments as well as my web series. Burning the candle at both ends made me slower and sloppy. Missing the deadlines was not an option. Submitting poorly-written work was a waste of money. I had a decision to make: should I hire a freelance copyeditor or should I buy grammar software?
Hiring a Professional Copyeditor
I needed an editor to correct my script and application materials. Specifically for the scripts, I needed an editor to correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and -- if possible -- provide writing feedback. Because many of my scripts are intended for Caribbean audiences, my ideal editor should be able to distinguish mistakes and colloquial English.
Eventually, I hired a respected playwright to edit my 8-page web series pilot. I explained some mistakes were intentional (e.g. Caribbean English). Their rate and delivery time fit my schedule. Because we didn’t have a chance to fully discuss the project, I found a few mistakes. I needed an editor who already understood the story and my artistic voice. There was no time to read and wait for another round of edits; I needed real-time writing help.
I haven't completely given up on humans. This month I joined a screenwriting group. Hopefully, I get the feedback and tips I'm looking for.
Buying Grammar Software
After doing research and discussing with friends, my top three writing enhancing software picks were Ginger, WhiteSmoke, and Grammarly. I compared features, pricing, and sample text. Last April I purchased a one-year Grammarly subscription.
My favorite Grammarly features
April 28 marks my one-year anniversary with Grammarly. I’m definitely renewing my subscription! It's also good to know that I can always use their free grammar checker.
Grammarly vs. Human
Still wondering if to hire a human copyeditor (psst, pick me!) or if to buy Grammarly?
Invest in grammar software if your main goal is to improve your English and appear professional in written communication. Grammarly points out mistakes as well as explains grammar rules.
Hire a professional proofreader if you want to outsource your writing projects and receive feedback. A professional editor also helps with large documents and team collaborations. For example, if you’re a media publisher with several writers. Only a human can review all the documents to ensure the branding and writing style is consistent.
Oh yeah, the script I was working on didn't win any awards, but I became a Sundance/YouTube New Voices semi-finalist! I'd like to think Grammarly helped give me the edge I needed.What's been your experience with proofreaders and grammar software?
Related: 9 Creative Ways to Finance Your Art
A creative with type-a tendencies. I come from a family of artists and entrepreneurs. While I wait for my big screenwriting break, I share my BA in Communication and work experiences to help fellow artists get organized and put more art into the world.
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