Taking My Own Advice: Using the Writing Reviser Google Add-on

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Since we launched the Writing Reviser Google Doc Add-on, I’ve been recommending it to everyone I meet: professional development participants, friends, colleagues, waiters, strangers at gas stations, everyone. Simply put, it’s an exciting, free tool that will improve your written work.

But truth be told, while I have long familiarity with Writing Navigator tools (and have demonstrated them many times), I had not actually integrated the Google Doc Add-on in my own regular writing. So recently, I set out to do just that.

Like most of us, I’ve used all the major word processing software, with an occasional recent foray into Google Docs. So, for a blog post on our recent adventures at iNACOL’s annual conference, I started in a Google Doc. After my rough draft was complete, I fired up the Writing Reviser Add-on.

The first function I chose was prepositional phrases. You may have noticed that I like them. Here’s what the Add-on showed me.

parallel

Writing Reviser can highlight all your prepositional phrases.

Yup, that’s a lot of prepositional phrases. Nothing necessarily wrong with that. But they can be a symptom of awkward writing and poor verb choice. Because Writing Reviser provides the powerful ability to focus on a single element of writing (at both macro and micro levels), I scanned the highlighted phrases and found a few that were unnecessary. But I do like prepositional phrases, so I kept most of these.

Proper parallel construction was another element of good writing I wanted to examine. Sometimes in my writing—and particularly in my revising —I can lose my focal point. Writing Reviser helped me ensure my nouns were balanced with nouns and my verbs with verbs.

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The Google Doc Add-on not only highlights key writing elements, but also provides definition and examples for each.

Again the Writing Reviser Add-on provided a clear view, allowing me to review and make changes as necessary.

parallel2

Lo and behold, I seemed to be fairly parallel. Yay!

One key point I emphasize with teachers in our professional development courses: there is no rule that you must use every tool in the toolbox. The Writing Navigator series is powerful and multifaceted. Without a phased introduction, students can be overwhelmed by the choices available. When first showing the Writing Reviser to students, adopt a "go slow" approach, starting with a few key elements and building from there. 

Taking my own advice, I checked a few other functions, such as dangling modifiers and verb tenses. After a few revisions, my work was done. If you have a minute, here's the final version of the blog post.

What particularly struck me during this adventure in taking my own advice was the ease with which the Writing Reviser Add-on melds into the Google Doc writing experience. The panel is not obtrusive, and you can easily choose to heed, or ignore, the many options available to improve your draft. In the end, whatever extra time you devote to the process is well-spent.

And so, I suspect from now on that my written work will almost always begin as a Google Doc, with the Writing Reviser Add-on up and running. In fact, in one of those meta sort of moments, here is this blog post as I first began my revision process!

preposition1

This blog post in the Writing Reviser Add-on! Big surprise, there are a lot of prepositional phrases.

Get started using the Writing Reviser Google Doc Add-on today: it's free and easy!

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About Author

Ralph Moore

Ralph Moore coordinates and conducts professional development for Curriculum Pathways. He works with schools and organizations around the country and has presented at conferences for organizations such as the National Council for the Social Studies and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. A former army officer and social studies teacher, he spent 10 years on the Curriculum Pathways humanities team creating new digital curriculum products.

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