My Secret to Perfect Writing: How to Use Grammarly

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may get paid to support this site if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. I only link to products I use and love myself. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Want to know my secret to great writing? I use an automated personal editor. This writing tool is perfect for creatives. In this post, I’ll tell you why I picked up this secret and how I use it to make my writing process painless.

Words checked with Grammarly over time. Grammarly is my secret to perfect writing.
Reports like this from my editor really pump me up.

To be honest, when someone recommended my automated editor to me for the first time, I was a little offended. I was finishing my philosophy degree. I was a writing tutor at the library. I taught English students how to structure perfect papers and fix grammar. I taught journalism students to augment their arguments to meet the requirements of their prompts. I stayed late during exam week to teach writers how to craft more convincing narratives.

So, when my boss at the Writing Center gave me a free trial to Grammarly, I was like, what?? Why? Didn’t you train me to not need help with grammar? And then I fell in love.

I quickly realized that Grammarly isn’t glorified spellcheck, and now I truly understand its power. I’m glad that I started using it back then because it helped me to where I am today. Using Grammarly helped me apply for jobs and pass every course in grad school. Grammarly’s helped me pitch grant proposals, answer customer support questions, and design products.

My Little Grammarly is All Grown Up

Blows my mind that if I had a kid when I started using Grammarly, she’d be NINE years old now. It’s been fascinating to see Grammarly evolve over the years. Each year the tool gets better as they refine algorithms and blend more artificial intelligence.

Here are a few reasons why I think Grammarly is the only writing tool you’ll ever need.

The First Secret to Perfect Writing: Grammarly is fast and easy to use.

You can use Grammarly on your phone and on your browser. There’s a plugin for Chrome and apps for iOS and Android. I use the Chrome plugin to edit messages in Gmail and any other writing I do online. I use the Android app to edit my Instagram posts and any documents I’m updating on the go using Google Docs. I also use Grammarly on my iPad, which is excellent for when I want to create a calm, peaceful environment for writing (without so many notifications).

Grammarly is somehow very accurate and tough on your writing, but also friendly and adjustable. You can set your tone to meet the needs of your audience, which is something I really love. I can tell Grammarly if I’m writing to describe, inform, or tell a story. And because Grammarly does all of this behind the scenes, it takes the energy out of writing.

I focus on the message that I’m trying to get across instead of remembering the right way to spell or notice that I’m using repetitive words. One of my worst habits that Grammarly always makes suggestions for is super long sentences. Those are not good for general audiences. My head strings a group of ideas together and writes one sentence. So Grammarly is continuously like, “Excuse me? Hello. Hey girl, you need to shorten your sentence. Okay, hey, me again here to say this is too long.” When I’m trying to get complicated concepts across clearly, Grammarly is the perfect cold splash of water, that tells me, “nobody is going to understand this mess!”

The Second Secret to Perfect Writing: Grammarly is Your Free AI Editor on Staff.

The second reason why Grammarly is my secret to perfect writing is that there’s a free option and it’s free forever. You can keep using Grammarly to improve your writing without ever having to pay for anything. I challenge you to do even take some past copy of yours and put it into Grammarly. See what your score is and what you’d do differently. Now imagine having Grammarly working over your shoulder all day.

There are two ways you can use Grammarly. You can go to the app in your browser and open a new document and then write inside your personal editor. I like to use this option when I need to focus. It’s perfect for when I don’t want to have a bunch of tabs open or have notifications popping up. I can open a browser, turn off my notifications, and zone out on the digital paper itself. It really helps me get into a good flow.

A screenshot of Glow Creatively's Grammarly dashboard. Grammarly's personal editor is my secret to perfect writing.
A peek at the dashboard for my personal Grammarly editor.

You can use Grammarly across all of your devices. I have a plugin on my browser, and I also use it on my phone, so I can check my writing anywhere. It’s like having a writing angel in my pocket! I use it on my iPad, and there’s a plugin for Microsoft Office that I’ve used before too. I love having Grammarly on the clock, making sure I don’t sound like a dumb ass even if I’m writing at 2 am. If I’m editing a paper, I don’t have to stare at the words until they blend together. Grammarly really helps me take a fresh look at what I’m writing.

Grammarly gives me simple suggestions that help me improve my writing in ways that aren’t basic. It helps me make my content informative and unique.

The Third Secret to Perfect Writing: Don’t be a Copy Cat, use Grammarly’s Plagiarism Checker

The third reason why I think Grammarly is the only tool you’ll ever need for writing is the plagiarism checker. This comes with Grammarly Premium. And I have to be entirely honest here, I’m hooked on the premium version of Grammarly. I started out with the student trial of Grammarly. I enjoyed their student discount for years. And after leaving grad school, I decided to make the commitment and pay for this as my writing assistant because it’s just done so much to benefit my work. With the premium version, I get a plagiarism checker that allows me to check any of my writing for plagiarism. The checker works really fast, and it checks millions of web pages for my writing. The free version is great, and the premium version is super powerful.

Side by side comparison of free and premium Grammarly accounts
I’m a sucker for the premium plan’s genre-specific checks and plagiarism checker.

The plagiarism checker is useful for me because I’m often writing about things that are commonly talked about. They’ve been written about before, but I need to make sure that I’m framing ideas in ways that haven’t been used previously. The plagiarism checker helps me know that I’m not just regurgitating other people’s information. Grammarly’s got my back and makes sure that everything’s clear. If your writing is unoriginal it’s far from perfect. But now you have my secret to perfect writing, plagiarism check!

A screenshot showing the notice when Grammarly checks for plagiarism. Plagarism check is the secret to perfect writing!
Plagiarism isn’t cute.

It really feels like a breath of fresh air to have the plagiarism checker go through your writing and then say “Everything is fine. None of this is plagiarized!”

And yeah, it stings a little bit when it says this is an original or you need to look into this and this to check and make sure that your writings unique, but I can assure you that it’s going to do nothing but make your communication better. And at the end of the day, Grammarly saves you a lot of energy (no plagiarism accusations to worry about!).

Okay, so those are really my top three reasons why I think Grammarly is the shit. But I’ll tell you why I genuinely believe every creative entrepreneur needs to sign up.

I 💖 automation

Because I’m all about things that save me time in my day. And I can’t add up the amount of time Grammarly’s saved me. You deserve more free time too!

The last thing I want to do is have to reach out to a friend to see if they can do me a favor to look over a resume before I send it over with an email or ask a team member to use precious time rereading something that they’ve already worked on with me. With one click, I get that one final review with Grammarly, and I can assure that my editing is done fast and effectively. Grammarly is my biggest writing secret because I’ve improved my writing and impressed a lot of coworkers and clients. Here’s what it looks like when I use Grammarly to write an email:

A screenshot showing how to set goals in Grammarly.
I spill out a messy draft, then set my goals for Grammarly.
A screenshot showing the editing process with Grammarly and Gmail. Another reason why Grammarly is my secret to perfect writing.
Grammarly walks me through all the improvements I can make. I accept the changes that fit and improve my overall score, which tells me how close I am to reaching the goals I set.

Let me know what you think when you try it yourself. But once you try the free version and realize how much time you’re saving, you’ll definitely be interested in the plagiarism checker. And all that other time that it can save you just by giving you props for alternative words that are common and fixing your sentences, making everything simple and easy to read and write.

Bonus Tip: How to Make an Automated Writing Workflow

Here’s how I used Grammarly today to write this post. Feel free to take this workflow yourself! Use my secret to perfect writing 🙂

How to Use Otter Voice Notes and Grammarly to Automate Your Writing

Time needed: 30 minutes.

How to Use Otter Voice Notes and Grammarly to Automate Your Writing Workflow

  1. Create an outline for your post

    Brainstorm and take messy notes. Make bullet points to highlight your main ideas.

  2. Record what you want to say

    Pretend you’re speaking to your audience and speak your heart out.

  3. Create an automated transcription using Otter Voice Notes

    You can record directly to https://otter.ai/ or upload your audio file. Otter Voice Notes will transcribe your voice into words.

  4. Copy and paste the transcription into your editor

    To save time, put your transcript directly into your WordPress Gutenburg Editor.

  5. Set goals in Grammarly to get writing suggestions tailored to your audience

    Use the Grammarly plugin for Google Chrome. Make sure you’re logged into Grammarly and click the icon to update your goals.

  6. Use Grammarly to work on the correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery of your writing

    Review each suggestion made by Grammarly. Accept or reject the changes as needed.

  7. Run a plagiarism check to ensure your content is unique

    Click the Plagiarism checker button and watch Grammarly compare your content to millions of websites. Update any flagged issues.

  8. Review results and publish!

    Add any images and captions. Grammarly checks those too! Review your final Grammarly score and then publish.

Interested in learning about other tools that I love? Check out my favorite resources for creatives. Want to talk about Grammarly or another tip that you want to use? Book a free strategy call with me to talk about your goals.


WooCommerce for selling art: 3 powerful ways to get ready

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may get paid to support this site if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. I only link to products I use and love myself. Please read my disclosure for more info.

My friend Iliana became a fully booked artist in less than three months. In that same time, she scored two big-deal dream illustration clients. She also sold over 50 different products thanks to her branding, website, social media, and search engine optimization.

Are you interested in using WooCommerce for selling art too? That’s what Iliana (also known as Grow Mija) uses. When she decided to leave Etsy and team up with me, we set up WordPress, WooCommerce, and Printful to sell her art.

And she quit her day job!

After selling her art on Etsy for years, Iliana hit a plateau. When we met through Instagram, her sales weren’t increasing every month. Days were full of printing, packing, and shipping orders. Her Instagram was growing, but slowly. She found her Etsy store limiting. She felt tired of paying fees to Etsy for every single purchase and paying to list items that didn’t sell.

Iliana decided to change all of that by working with me to build a store, rebrand, and gain over 10k followers (she’s currently at 20.8k!)

When we started to work together, Iliana’s goals were high. She committed to herself and the life she wants. She rebranded and opened Grow Mija.

Using WooCommerce for selling art, she achieved all the other goals she made for herself too.

Here’s everything that Iliana checked off her to-do list:

  • Leave Etsy behind
  • Create a secure shop with WordPress + WooCommerce
  • Fully automate order fulfillment with Printful
  • Optimize products and services for people to find through searching
  • Design a billboard in Los Angeles for We Rise LA
  • Work with Spotify
  • Start a mailing list and grow from 10k to 20k Instagram followers
  • Quit her day job to focus on Grow Mija full-time

I can’t promise you that you’ll be able to quit your day job too. However, if you learn from us, you’ll be well on your way to growing your business beyond Etsy by selling art with WooCommerce. Today’s post breaks down the three things you need to do BEFORE starting your store. With your store, you can meet new clients, find friends, and connect with collaborators. We’re talking about how to get your website on-point with a strategy to back you up.

Hours of research and analysis helped us find the most affordable way that Iliana can host a secure store and sell art on a way larger scale than Etsy. We considered other options like Shopify. But ultimately Iliana decided that WooCommerce is perfect for selling art. I’m going to explain how you can prepare for your shop. First I’ll explain why Iliana loves using WooCommerce.

Why Iliana loves selling art with WooCommerce

  1. You can sell anything with WooCommerce, including digital products.
  2. Thanks to WordPress and WooCommerce developer communities, there are tons of integrations available that are perfect for selling Iliana’s art.
  3. Printful, the tool Iliana used to automate her shop connects to WooCommerce (more on that if you stick around and read until the end).
  4. The plugin is super customizable thanks to plugins like Beaver Builder, Beaver Themer, and WooPack that Iliana gets through her web care plan.
  5. The SEO tools Iliana uses to describe her products for humans and search engines work well with WooCommerce.
  6. Running her art shop with WordPress and WooCommerce gives Iliana time to develop limited edition seasonal lines of products for her fans and followers.
  7. She saves time selling art with WooCommerce, which means she can take more time to work on commissions. The flip side of that is she also has more commissions to manage (hopefully not the worst problem to have 😬). We optimize WooCommerce for search engines. That means that every product is a new way to find Iliana. Now she always has a waiting list for commissions.
You're Okay, a poster showing how Iliana uses WooCommerce for selling art.
You’re Okay poster by Grow Mija

To open your store in 4 weeks or less, get my plan sent to your inbox.

So what are the best ways to get ready to use WooCommerce for selling art?

Most importantly, don’t rush. Some people work well with tight deadlines. I don’t work well with tight deadlines anymore after I burned out in my mid-20s, but that’s a different story. So when I worked with Iliana to launch her store, we didn’t restrict ourselves. We didn’t try to get everything done in a few days. We took the time to be thoughtful while creating growmija.com. Through this process, we found a few commanding steps that Iliana took. Follow her lead. Get in the perfect position to open (or relaunch!) your store, sell art, and get your dream clients.

Before you get started, you need to get a clear understanding of your current priorities and obligations. When Iliana launched her store, she worked long shifts at the hospital every weekend. She also spent the week caring for her son full-time. Clear expectations built a strong foundation for her shop.

#1: When Planning to Sell Art with WooCommerce, Set Expectations and Make Your Timeline

Iliana was realistic about her sales expectations. She made a timeline for herself, and you should create one too. It’s okay if it takes you longer than four weeks to launch your store. Above all, as long as you’re honest with yourself about your timeline from the beginning of the project, you’re doing okay. Our 4-week plan for creating a store is easy to update so you can meet your personal needs and schedule.

When Iliana and I work together, we consider how much work there is to do. Then we make a timeline that we use to check in with each other. Asking friends for support with your schedule helps set healthy expectations (without too much pressure added, hopefully!)

Yoga Mijas, a poster that shows how Iliana uses WooCommerce for selling art.
Yoga Mijas poster by Grow Mija

#2: Find a Method for Developing Your Products and Create Documentation

Figure out what products are you selling and who are you selling them too? These areas can change over time but make sure to write out a list of your first product line. For each product, make notes about the perfect customer you have in mind. This is known as a “persona” and will be helpful to recall during your store design.

Document the process that you go through from starting with an idea and ending with a finished product. I love the 39 step checklist for launching products from the $100 Startup. This checklist inspired part of Iliana’s product development method. Use one of your products to go through the spreadsheet. Find which sections of the process will work for your store.

Make sure to document your method for developing products. I recommend starting with a simple spreadsheet or writing the steps out in a bulleted list. Think of your documentation as a living plant that will grow over time. As your store grows, you can add customer feedback to your documentation to take into consideration when developing new products.

#3: Find the Perfect Flow for Running Your WooCommerce Store

Imagine your online store is open, and users are visiting at all hours of the day. How would you like to spend your time? Do you see yourself printing and mailing your art all day? Or do you see yourself creating new designs, looking for inspiration? How are you talking with clients? How much time do you want to spend managing social media and responding to DMs? When using WooCommerce to sell art, how do you want your time to flow?

There’s a lot of questions to consider. However, planning a flow isn’t as dull as “defining a workflow” or making a list. To find your flow, imagine a day in your future. Write out how you want to spend your time before, during, and taking care of your store. After writing a flow, ask yourself, what parts are necessary every day?

These essential rituals will sustain you throughout the process of building your store and launching your first line of products. Use the routines you love every day. Even on days when you have to travel or visit a client in person. Drinking mushroom tea is a core part of my flow every morning. Nothing can stop me from enjoying a cup while spending time with my husband. Caring for plants and taking baths are core parts of Iliana’s flow. And she did a lot of both during her 4-week launch!

BONUS TIP 🏆#4: Outsource or automate stressful tasks

When you run your store, tedious tasks are unavoidable. Well actually, some of them are avoidable. After printing and shipping herself for a while, Iliana decided to automate her store. She didn’t want to spend time waiting for ink to dry or dropping off shipments anymore. Printful prints, packs, and ships custom printed products for Grow Mija. This gives Iliana everything she needs to run her online business from home with no inventory and upfront costs.

Iliana spent a lot of time dealing with the post office and creating each product by hand. Now Printful covers what was stressing her out most. She can focus on what she loves to do the most. She can create new product lines for her followers, draw new mijas, and collaborate with creative partners on visual projects. Including the badass billboard she designed for a non-profit in LA!

Let go of what stresses you out

Certainly, there are so many ways that you can automate and outsource management tasks. You can focus on your highest priorities. Are you happy with your production flow but stressed at the thought of writing copy to describe your products? Does web design or store security stress you out? You don’t have to do everything by yourself! Check out my resource list to find the tools I use to automate stuff (and cope with anxiety).  Discover the best flow that works for you to start selling your art with WooCommerce!

Ready to start? My 4-week plan breaks down everything you need to cover to make money.


DIY: Cheap Website Hosting

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may get paid to support this site if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. I only link to products I use and love myself. Please read my disclosure for more info.

I learned about cheap website hosting when I was 7 years old (I’m 29 now). I fell in love with the web in elementary school because I didn’t have a computer at home. I sure as hell didn’t have any cash either, but I did have friends who were willing to share their cheap hosting.

Hosting websites started as innocent curiosity, then became a hobby, and eventually turned into my career. I publish websites and data for thousands of libraries in eight countries. My team puts links to ebooks and audiobooks into apps and search results. I also help artists create stops to sell their art and book clients.

I’ve learned SO MUCH about the web since I was a kid. I know how easy it is to create and maintain websites. And I’m here to help you! This post explains everything you need to get set up hosting a cheap website quickly and cheaply. We’ll also talk about when it’s not okay to cut corners and skimp on costs.

Why would you want cheap website hosting?

Think of your site as real estate on the web. It’s like a tiny house! Or a really big house if that’s your style. You’ll need two things to get started:

  1. HOSTING SPACE
  2. A WEB ADDRESS

To get space, you need to buy a hosting package. To get an address, you need to buy a domain. If you already own a domain, you’ll need to point it to your web hosting provider. For example, my domain name for this website is glowcreatively.com and HostGator provides my web hosting.

Like any other type of real estate, hosting and domains cost money and get really expensive. And there are so many other expenses when starting a business. Don’t let that stop you from getting started though because there are plenty of hosting options available that give you room to start small and grow over time (even if you want to start with multiple websites!).

What is “cheap” hosting?

When you buy hosting you can get your own property (dedicated hosting) or you can split the cost with neighbors (shared hosting). I consider shared hosting to be cheap. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a great fit for your needs though! You just need to understand the tradeoffs you make for using cheap website hosting. There are also a few helpful things you need to know to cover your ass and make sure you don’t end up paying more money later.

If you’re accepting credit card payments, I do not recommend using cheap DIY website hosting.

Why? Because of PCI DSS, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. PCI compliance provides a set of security standards designed to make sure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information are maintaining a secure environment for their customers.

Shared hosting is great for creating blogs, podcasts, portfolios, and any other kind of site without credit card transactions (donation buttons that link to third party services are run by other websites).

If you’re not accepting payments, the key to the cheap DIY hosting I have for personal use is HostGator’s shared hosting packages. I’ve been using HostGator since 2012 because they have plenty of affordable plans that are perfect for spinning up creative sites on the spot to experiment with friends, share ideas, and show our work to the world.

Hostgator cheap website hosting for bloggers coaches and artists

Shared hosting makes your real estate affordable. Like your electricity, you share hosting with neighbors on servers that Hostgator manages. This means that the heavy lifting is done for you. If you only plan on having one web domain, then all you need is the Hatchling Plan. Back in 2012 when I started using Hostgator the Baby Plan was the perfect place for me to start building my own sites and websites for friends. The ability to create unlimited domains makes it easy to experiment with new ideas or change the name of your brand over time (maybe that’s why the Baby plan is the most popular).

Now I partner with an agency to run secure, dedicated hosting for artists with their own shops. But there are still SO many reasons that I use HostGator and recommend it to friends:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited domains
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited email addresses
  • Free SSL certificate (super important for security!)
  • Easy admin control panel
  • 1-click WordPress installation
  • Free Google Adwords and Yahoo/Bing credits
  • Friendly support available 24/7

Need to update your sites PHP? Don’t know how to make your site secure? Or set up an email address? No worries! Chat with HostGator’s support and they’ll hook you up. I’ve learned a lot from their support team over the years. With 1-click installation, you can make a new WordPress site in less than 10 minutes. And here’s what I love most: HostGator doesn’t monitor your bandwidth, storage, or email usage.

You also have access to 100% of your systems and code. All this helps avoid additional fees charged by other hosting providers (cough cough… Squarespace…). Speaking of Squarespace, HostGator also gives an easy drag-and-drop editing interface if you prefer that option to WordPress. The free cash that HostGator gives to advertise on search engines helps boost your visibility on the web when your site is ready to launch.

Once you figure out which package you want, click “Buy Now” to add it to your cart.

Shopping Cart Step 1: Choose a Domain

From here you can register a new domain name, or click the second tab “I Already Own This Domain” if you are only buying hosting.

How to Install WordPress in Less than 10 Minutes with Cheap Website Hosting from Hostgator

Make sure you keep Domain Privacy Protection checked. This masks your information in ICANN and replaces it with HostGator’s, so you can maintain their privacy online. This is super important because if you don’t select it, your address will be publicly listed.

Scroll down to step 2. Here you’ll need to enter a user name and password that you’ll use to manage your hosting account with HostGator.

Enter your billing information in step 3.

Choose any additional add-on services you’d like to purchase in step 4.

Finally, click that you agree to the Terms and Conditions, then the big yellow Checkout Now! button.

Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of your very own real estate on the web.

How to Install WordPress

The next step is installing WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform, so you can get to work writing.

You can follow along with this video, or follow the steps I outline below.

When you completed your purchase, you should have received an email from HostGator with your control panel (cPanel) username and password. cPanel is the portal you’ll use to manage your web hosting. The cPanel link is unique to you, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

Time needed: 10 minutes.

How to Install WordPress with Hostgator’s Cheap Website Hosting

  1. Log in to your Hostgator cPanel

  2. Click “Build a New WordPress Site”

  3. Select the domain for your installation

  4. Enter the subdirectory you would like the site to load from if desired.

    You can leave this blank. Example: Should you wish your WordPress URL to be mydomain.com/site instead of just mydomain.com. Your site will always display this extension if you enter one.

  5. For Blog Title, enter the name of the website.

    This is what will appear in the header as the name of your site.

  6. For Admin Username, enter your preferred user name.

    For security purposes, DO NOT use “admin” as a username.

  7. Enter your first name or pseudonym

  8. Enter your last name pseudonym

  9. For Admin Email, enter an email address where you the admin to receive the password.

    Make sure this is a working email address.

  10. Click Install WordPress when you’re ready to use your cheap website hosting!

A progress bar at the top of the page will let you know when the installation is complete. Once complete, you will be able to start working on your WordPress site. Check your email for your an email from WordPress with a link to your dashboard. Store the login information somewhere secure. It may take a few minutes for your installation to finish up. If you step away from the computer for a while it’ll be ready when you’re back!

Welcome to the World Wide Web, my friend!!!

Now Don’t Forget to Up Your Website Security

After your site is installed, download and activate these plugins:

  1. All in One WP Security
  2. Really Simple SSL

If you’re not down for shared hosting or want to run your own shop, check out my web care plans.

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