Be a better writer with Evernote

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In the late 1940s, Jack Kerouac wrote his iconic Beat-era novel “On the Road” in a series of notebooks. In 1951, he typed the manuscript out on a continuous 120-foot scroll of paper. It took him three weeks and, as legend has it, a friend’s dog ate the original ending.

More than six decades later, the laptop holds court where the typewriter once reigned. We still carry trusty notebooks, but now we can easily digitize the words within to keep them safe. The tools have evolved, but the need to turn ideas into written words is still vital to work and life.

You may say you’re not a writer. But if you have a job that requires communicating with others, you are. If you keep a to-do list, that’s writing. If you draft a project plan, report or meeting agenda, that’s writing. And, if you’re like most writers, you want to be more skilled at using your words.

Evernote is a boon for writers of every stripe. Even a few low-tech Luddites we know use it in tandem with their handwritten words. Here’s how it can support your writerly efforts:

1. Phone it in. If you haven’t downloaded Evernote for mobile, be like Neil Gaiman and do it today so you can capture ideas on the fly: in the office, waiting in line, sittin’ on the dock of the bay.

2. Do your research. Acclaimed writer Susan Orlean loves Evernote for collecting research. We do, too. Got Web Clipper? Start using it on the regular to clip and curate what you find online.

3. Nurture an idea. Put a germ of an idea in Evernote and keep adding to it ‘til you’re ready to write. Along with your words, gather related web clips, emails, Word docs, and PDFs in a single note or multiple notes in a notebook.

4. Make an outline. Many a grade school research paper would have gone nowhere without an outline. And so it is for grownups. If you’re stuck, outline the sections of your writing project in a note. From there, it’s easier to complete a draft.

5. Don’t lose your notes. Our Scannable app makes quick work of handwritten notes. Grab a quick scan of meeting notes or other spontaneous scrawls and add them to the appropriate notebook, where you can work with them later.

Evernote isn’t just for taking notes. It’s for shaping great ideas into accomplishments. How do you use Evernote for writing? Share your advice in comments.

https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2015/05/14/put-it-in-writing-be-a-better-writer-with-evernote/

Best Editing Apps

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1. After the Deadline

After the Deadline (AtD) doesn’t just flag and give suggestions for your spelling, grammar, and style. It also concisely explains the reasons behind the corrections given. That means that the longer you use AtD, the better a blogger you become!

According to the developers, AtD can:

Recommend the right word 90 percent of the time;
Detect approximately 1,500 misused words;
Help you write clearly and concisely using thousands of rules in “Plain English” style
Use statistics to find exceptions to grammar rules.
AtD is available as a plugin, add-on, or extension for platforms like WordPress, bbPress, Firefox, Google Chrome, OpenOffice.org Writer, and the IntenseDebate comment system.

2. ProWritingAid

Like AtD, ProWritingAid not only tells you what to improve, but also how to improve. It has the ability to generate a detailed analysis on overused words, sentence length, writing style, plagiarism, clichés, redundancies, “sticky” sentences, consistency, and the like.

Although you need to download the Premium version to enjoy all of its features, ProWritingAid’s free version is enough for most types of blog posts.

3. EditMinion

Don’t let the site’s inelegant design fool you. EditMinion takes only a few seconds to check your work for the usual signs of weak writing, like adverbs, overuse of “said”, passive voice, ending with prepositions, tricky homonyms and more.

EditMinion generates a report card for your reference, and allows you to add “hashtags” for easier editing. As of this writing, though, the site is still in Beta stage, so use it with care!

4. HemingwayApp

Ever wish you had Hemingway’s terse yet punchy writing style? Well, your wish can come true now, thanks to the brilliant minds behind HemingwayApp. Here, your copy will be assessed based on readability, number of adverbs, number of complex words, and number of times you use the passive voice.

The app also detects spelling errors, although it’s not much help in the grammar department. In case you need to use it offline, a desktop version of the app is also available for $5.

5. WordCounter

Whether you want to check for keyword frequency, or you just have a tendency to be repetitive with words, WordCounter.com is the answer. As its name suggests, WordCounter counts and ranks words according to frequency. The apps is great for reducing redundancy and/or repetitive writing in your copy.

You can also include “small” words, use only root words, and adjust the number of words listed by the app. You can use this primarily as an analysis tool, checking your drafts as you keep honing them to perfection.

6. ClicheFinder

Do cliches drive you crazy? If “Yes”, ClicheFinder might be a godsend for you. Just paste your post in the space provided, click the “Find Clichés” button, and presto! Every cringe-worthy phrase will be highlighted in red. You can either rewrite these phrases to make them sound simpler and fresher, or toss them into the back-burner like the blights on language that they are (har har)!

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/blogger-editing-tools-better-writing/

Eats, shoots and leaves

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Description

Product Description
We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

From Booklist

This impassioned manifesto on punctuation made the best-seller lists in Britain and has followed suit here. Journalist Truss gives full rein to her “inner stickler” in lambasting common grammatical mistakes. Asserting that punctuation “directs you how to read in the way musical notation directs a musician how to play,” Truss argues wittily and with gusto for the merits of preserving the apostrophe, using commas correctly, and resurrecting the proper use of the lowly semicolon. Filled with dread at the sight of ubiquitous mistakes in store signs and headlines, Truss eloquently speaks to the value of punctuation in preserving the nuances of language. Liberally sprinkling the pages with Briticisms (“Lawks-a-mussy”) and moving from outright indignation to sarcasm to bone-dry humor, Truss turns the finer points of punctuation into spirited reading. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Review

Review

‘A punctuation repair kit. Passionate and witty…fresh and funny., Independent ‘If Lynne Truss were Roman Catholic I,d nominate her for sainthood., Frank McCourt ‘I laughed, I howled, and I immediately wanted to join the militant wing of the Apostrophe Society. This is great stuff: genuine, heartfelt and rousing., Jenny Colgan ‘Enchanting, full of jokes and anecdotes and information. It makes you love punctuation; you want to conserve what is left and perhaps call for more of it., Sunday Telegraph ‘It can only be a matter of time before the government seizes the chance to appoint [Truss] minister for punctuation. The manifesto is already written., Guardian ‘Truss deserves to be piled high with honours., John Humphrys, Sunday Times ‘Worth its weight in gold., Independent.

About the Author
Lynne Truss is one of Britain’s best-loved comic writers and is the author of the worldwide bestsellers ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’ and ‘Talk to the Hand’. Her most recent book is ‘Get Her Off the Pitch!’ She reviews for the Sunday Times and writes regularly for radio.

Bird by Bird

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Description

Amazon.com Review

Think you’ve got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn’t afraid to help you let it out. She’ll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott’s witty take on the reality of a writer’s life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer’s block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

Product Description

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'”

From Publishers Weekly

Lamott’s ( Operating Instructions ) miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight. Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: “Just take it bird by bird.” Lamott’s suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. But she’s even better on psychological questions. She has learned that writing is more rewarding than publication, but that even writing’s rewards may not lead to contentment. As a former “Leona Helmsley of jealousy,” she’s come to will herself past pettiness and to fight writer’s block by living “as if I am dying.” She counsels writers to form support groups and wisely observes that, even if your audience is small, “to have written your version is an honorable thing.”
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Lamott (Operating Instructions, LJ 3/15/93) makes her living by selling magazine articles and books. She also teaches writing. Reading this work is like sitting in on one of her workshops. While discussing elements of the craft such as character development, plot invention, and rewriting, she presents much more than an instruction manual in this small text. Writing is by nature a personal and solitary trade, and Lamott offers thorough examples and anecdotes that explain how she copes with self-doubt, writer’s block, professional jealousy, and the discipline necessary to turn thoughts into words on a page. Her work is an honest appraisal of what it takes to be a writer and why it matters so much. Collections supporting creative writing will want to include this because it offers unique inspiration to would-be and struggling authors.
Denise Sticha, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Lamott (Operating Instructions, 1993, etc.) gently explodes the fantasy that writing will solve all of a fledgling author’s problems–an ailing bank account, low self-esteem–and at the same time argues that writing “does turn out to be its own reward.” Beginning with her first exposure to the writing life through her father, Lamott introduces some practical points: shaping credible dialogue; thinking of a first draft as a Polaroid photograph that slowly develops beneath one’s fingers. Her cardinal truth is that there is no secret to writing well other than sitting down to do it every day; she also encourages by noting that even the best writers produce “shitty” first drafts. Offering time- tested tips, such as carrying around index cards to jot down fortuitous phrases and observations and focusing on plot as an outgrowth of character, Lamott intersperses stories and prose from her own experience that delight with insight and descriptive acumen. The incident from which the title and folksy aesthetic have been taken is typical: When, years ago, her ten-year-old brother was panicking, unable to write a report on birds for which he’d been preparing for months, their father calmed him with the advice “Just take it bird by bird.” While she suggests finding a writing partner for feedback and describes her own traumatic escapades in taking a novel through several drafts, Lamott offers no advice about revision–the most important skill a working writer must master. Still, paragraph by paragraph, this humorous, insightful, no-nonsense approach will remind novices why they are writing: to tell the truth, to live from the heart, and to share their gift with others. A writer’s guide that is bound to teach and inspire by example. — Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and  provocative.” — New York Times Book  Review.

“A warm, generous and  hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its  treacherous swamps.” — Los Angeles  Times.

“A gift to all of  us mortals who write or ever wanted to write…  sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately  cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs  and start writing now, while we  still can.” — Seattle  Times.

From the Publisher

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and provocative.” — New York Times Book Review.

“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” — Los Angeles Times.

“A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing now, while we still can.” — Seattle Times.

From the Inside Flap

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
From the Back Cover
“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and provocative.” — New York Times Book Review.

“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” — Los Angeles Times.

“A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing now, while we still can.” — Seattle Times.

About the Author

Anne Lamott lives with her son, Sam, in northern California. She is the author of five books, including the novels Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, and All New People. Her last book, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, was published by Pantheon in 1993.

Chicago Manual of Style

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Description

From Publishers Weekly
Countless publishing professionals have learned the details of their business from this classic guide for publishers, editors and writers. It’s updated every 10 years or so, and the 15th edition is the most extensive revision in decades. The Internet’s influence is pervasive, with substantial sections on preparing manuscripts for electronic publishing, editing for online publications and citing electronic sources. The “Rights and Permissions” chapter is by attorney William S. Strong (The trace the publication process for books and journals, both print and electronic, from manuscript development to distribution and marketing. For the first time, the manual includes a chapter on grammar and usage, by Bryan A. Garner (A Dictionary of Modern Usage). Gone is the 13-page table showing when to hyphenate compound words of all sorts, but it’s replaced by a six-plus-page list and a narrative overview, which will be simpler for the overworked manuscript editor (“copyeditor” has vanished, and the index relegates “copyediting” to a cross-reference to manuscript editing) to use. Traditionalists may be bothered by the new edition’s preference for ZIP Code state abbreviations and dropping periods from such abbreviations as Ph.D. and even U.S. Some things do remain the same. The style guide still endorses the serial comma (which PW does not) and numerals are still spelled out from one through one hundred and at the beginning of a sentence. Those in the publishing industry will need this edition, both for what’s new and for what they will want to argue about.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description

In the 1890s, a proofreader at the University of Chicago Press prepared a single sheet of typographic fundamentals intended as a guide for the University community. That sheet grew into a pamphlet, and the pamphlet grew into a book–the first edition of the Manual of Style, published in 1906. Now in its fifteenth edition, The Chicago Manual of Style–the essential reference for authors, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers in any field–is more comprehensive and easier to use than ever before.

Those who work with words know how dramatically publishing has changed in the past decade, with technology now informing and influencing every stage of the writing and publishing process. In creating the fifteenth edition of the Manual, Chicago’s renowned editorial staff drew on direct experience of these changes, as well as on the recommendations of the Manual’s first advisory board, composed of a distinguished group of scholars, authors, and professionals from a wide range of publishing and business environments.

Every aspect of coverage has been examined and brought up to date–from publishing formats to editorial style and method, from documentation of electronic sources to book design and production, and everything in between. In addition to books, the Manual now also treats journals and electronic publications. All chapters are written for the electronic age, with advice on how to prepare and edit manuscripts online, handle copyright and permissions issues raised by technology, use new methods of preparing mathematical copy, and cite electronic and online sources.

A new chapter covers American English grammar and usage, outlining the grammatical structure of English, showing how to put words and phrases together to achieve clarity, and identifying common errors. The two chapters on documentation have been reorganized and updated: the first now describes the two main systems preferred by Chicago, and the second discusses specific elements and subject matter, with examples of both systems. Coverage of design and manufacturing has been streamlined to reflect what writers and editors need to know about current procedures. And, to make it easier to search for information, each numbered paragraph throughout the Manual is now introduced by a descriptive heading.

Clear, concise, and replete with commonsense advice, The Chicago Manual of Style, fifteenth edition, offers the wisdom of a hundred years of editorial practice while including a wealth of new topics and updated perspectives. For anyone who works with words, whether on a page or computer screen, this continues to be the one reference book you simply must have.

What’s new in the Fifteenth Edition:

* Updated material throughout to reflect current style, technology, and professional practice

* Scope expanded to include journals and electronic publications

* Comprehensive new chapter on American English grammar and usage by Bryan A. Garner (author of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage)

* Updated and rewritten chapter on preparing mathematical copy

* Reorganized and updated chapters on documentation, including guidance on citing electronic sources

* Streamlined coverage of current design and production processes, with a glossary of key terms

* Descriptive headings on all numbered paragraphs for ease of reference

* New diagrams of the editing and production processes for both books and journals, keyed to chapter discussions

* New, expanded Web site with special tools and features for Manual users. Sign up at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org for information and special discounts on future electronic Manual of Style products.

From Booklist

The Chicago Manual of Style maintains its vitality by adapting to its ever-changing environment. None of the changes from one edition to the next are capricious; that which remains vital carries over, and that which must change, changes.

From the 1906 first edition’s limited focus as “a compilation of typographical rules” for books, it has evolved to provide guidance to authors and editors working in other forms and media such as journals, newsletters, Web sites, and even, with the fifteenth edition, American Sign Language. The editors now “assume throughout that most writers and editors, whether preparing print or nonprint works, use computer software.” That assumption is most visible in the chapter dealing with presentation in type of mathematical expressions and formulas. Software has collapsed the division of labor between author and typesetter, giving the author the power to fulfill both roles simultaneously. Mathematicians have faced that special challenge; all scholars have been vexed by uncertainty about citing electronic resources.

Various specialized manuals from other publishers have attempted to codify practices for citing electronic publications, but none has enjoyed the authority Chicago has earned over nearly a century. The fifteenth offers deeper guidance for citing electronic books, articles in e-journals, electronic editions of older works, and online newspapers and magazines. The clear, practical, and easily applied rules for citing these sources recognize the problem an author must solve when a URL is subject to change; they also offer advice on matters such as when to provide the date a cited e-work was accessed. U.S. copyright law, driven by the same technologies the fifteenth edition addresses, has also experienced significant changes. An expanded section on copyright offers clear albeit not exhaustive coverage of the current complexities of copyright. All authors would do well to study this primer.

Chicago’s mantra throughout is consistency in support of clarity. Helping authors and editors achieve consistency in practice when creating or editing a manuscript and presenting it to readers is Chicago’s raison d’etre. The prescriptive tone of some entries serves consistency, but usage is determined by users of the language. Chicago acknowledges variants in practice, often noting that an author may use a variant even though its entry first describes preferred practice. Bowing to popular influence, the editors concede that they “no longer urge deletion of the d in 2nd or the r in 3rd” and they “now recommend the month-day-year form of dates” prevalent in the U.S. The editors also have the wisdom and the experience to uphold rules that, if ignored, can create confusion in readers’ minds. All of the rules and recommendations are easily accessible through the thorough index, a hallmark of every recent edition.

New to the fifteenth is a lively chapter on grammar and usage contributed by Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage (2d ed., Oxford, 2003; formerly A Dictionary of Modern American Usage). Its first part reviews basic rules of English grammar, and the second offers succinct explanations of words easily misused (decimate, precondition) or confused (e.g., healthy and healthful; purposely and purposefully). Added features discuss bias-free language and prepositional idioms.

Evolution is never a lockstep uniform process. Although the heart of Chicago embraces changes wrought by digital publishing, its concluding bibliography lags. Only the print editions of general-purpose encyclopedias and several English-language dictionaries are noted. Even though the entry for the Oxford English Dictionary indicates its availability on CD-ROM, it neglects to mention its online incarnation. But one must not miss the forest for these few trees. As it has done again and again, Chicago offers sensible, clearly articulated, and defensible advice to authors and editors who want to do their best to present an author’s text to readers. Every library that serves authors, especially those producing scholarly works, simply must have the current edition of chicago. RBB

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

In the 1890s, a proofreader at the University of Chicago Press prepared a single sheet of typographic fundamentals intended as a guide for the University community. That sheet grew into a pamphlet, and the pamphlet grew into a book–the first edition of the Manual of Style, published in 1906. Now in its fifteenth edition, The Chicago Manual of Style–the essential reference for authors, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers in any field–is more comprehensive and easier to use than ever before.

Those who work with words know how dramatically publishing has changed in the past decade, with technology now informing and influencing every stage of the writing and publishing process. In creating the fifteenth edition of the Manual, Chicago’s renowned editorial staff drew on direct experience of these changes, as well as on the recommendations of the Manual’s first advisory board, composed of a distinguished group of scholars, authors, and professionals from a wide range of publishing and business environments.

Every aspect of coverage has been examined and brought up to date–from publishing formats to editorial style and method, from documentation of electronic sources to book design and production, and everything in between. In addition to books, the Manual now also treats journals and electronic publications. All chapters are written for the electronic age, with advice on how to prepare and edit manuscripts online, handle copyright and permissions issues raised by technology, use new methods of preparing mathematical copy, and cite electronic and online sources.

A new chapter covers American English grammar and usage, outlining the grammatical structure of English, showing how to put words and phrases together to achieve clarity, and identifying common errors. The two chapters on documentation have been reorganized and updated: the first now describes the two main systems preferred by Chicago, and the second discusses specific elements and subject matter, with examples of both systems. Coverage of design and manufacturing has been streamlined to reflect what writers and editors need to know about current procedures. And, to make it easier to search for information, each numbered paragraph throughout the Manual is now introduced by a descriptive heading.

Clear, concise, and replete with commonsense advice, The Chicago Manual of Style, fifteenth edition, offers the wisdom of a hundred years of editorial practice while including a wealth of new topics and updated perspectives. For anyone who works with words, whether on a page or computer screen, this continues to be the one reference book you simply must have.

What’s new in the Fifteenth Edition:

* Updated material throughout to reflect current style, technology, and professional practice

* Scope expanded to include journals and electronic publications

* Comprehensive new chapter on American English grammar and usage by Bryan A. Garner (author of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage)

* Updated and rewritten chapter on preparing mathematical copy

* Reorganized and updated chapters on documentation, including guidance on citing electronic sources

* Streamlined coverage of current design and production processes, with a glossary of key terms

* Descriptive headings on all numbered paragraphs for ease of reference

* New diagrams of the editing and production processes for both books and journals, keyed to chapter discussions

* New, expanded Web site with special tools and features for Manual users. Sign up at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org for information and special discounts on future electronic Manual of Style products.

http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Manual-Style-University-Press/dp/0226104036