Writing is an important practice for self-examination, expression, and vocation or ministry for many of you, so I plan to start including occasional tips and resources that might improve your confidence and skill as a writer. Here's a tool to add to your writing toolbox.
Writers can overuse “empty words”
One of the biggest revelations of using an editor (and I highly recommend Karen R. Sanderson—The Word Shark) was to discover how many “empty” words I was using: words such as “something,” “anything,” and “that.” She believes being specific is so much more interesting than being generic, and of course, she's right!
As much as I write, though, I still find I often use the same word in a paragraph without realizing it, and this nifty little tool— The Word Frequency Counter—can catch that without my having to hire a proofreader.
Just copy and paste your text into the window provided at this site (see screenshot above) and press “Submit.” Here's what came up when I pasted a paragraph from a book review I wrote recently. It lists the main words in order of how often they were used in that text.
None of the words appearing more than once caused me any concern, and I didn't see any of the boring words I'm inclined to use. Even good words shouldn't be duplicated in the same sentence, so this tool lets you know when that happens too.
Writers, check yourself!
Writers, copy and paste some excerpts from your own writing to get valuable feedback on words you might be using too much.
Thank you to WriteWords, a community of writers in the UK, for providing this free tool for all of us. And a nod to my friend Dr. David Jones for discovering this and sending me the link.