Particularly useful for fundraisers who write a lot of copy, there are two tools that I’ve taken to using more and more since I’m now a solo practitioner who gets a lot of work done in the hours after the rest of my house has gone to bed.
Now, please don’t get too excited about my violating my own “sleep, dammit” advice – the kid’s down at 8:30, the husband retires at 9:15 at the latest…but it’s not my own finest hour for creating inspired prose, which means I edit in the mornings. Here are two tools I want you to know about.
It’s a web form…cut and paste your stuff in there and click the button that says “find cliches.” Some cliches can be useful in a piece meant to appeal to public emotion…but cliches that aren’t a deliberate choice are probably doing you a disservice. You spellcheck, right? Cliche check.
OK, I don’t use this much, but then again, my first boss was the analog version of this bookmarklet that hunts out and scolds you for using the passive voice. Thanks to him, I reflexively review my work for passive verbs and useless adverbs all on my own. If you’re either starting out as a professional with writing duties or a mid-career professional who’s never developed into a star writer (it’s such an important job skill – good writers are in high demand, always), this tool might help. (Again, it’s not *always* a no-no, but you want to be intentional about your choices and how they impact your readers.) It’s a little more involved than a web tool, but worth installing and trying.