We all have chores we loathe doing. I hate washing dishes.

Yes, we have a dishwasher, but it doesn’t do a good job. I’ve never met one such machine that did. Nearly half of everything that goes into the dishwasher has to be washed again. I generally consider using it a waste of time and energy.

For many writers, editing is that detested chore. However, just like washing the dishes (and cleaning the toilet), it is necessary … and for much the same reasons.

The analogy of the dishwasher also applies to editing software. Programs such as Autocrit, ProWritingAid, PerfectIt, and Grammarly may be helpful, but they’ll result in a document still needing to be cleaned up. Such programs not only miss “dirt,” but they also introduce errors (i.e., depositing “dirt”) into the document.

Editing software does not and cannot distinguish nuance or context. It can’t detect plot holes or inconsistencies, such as when your protagonist has green eyes on page 17 and blue eyes on page 132. As one person put it so eloquently, editing software knows rules, not context. It does not understand when effectiveness trumps the rules.

Many writers who rely exclusively on editing programs miss the above point. Or, if they know it, often state they cannot afford professional editing.

Another wise person—also a freelance editor—noted that people save up for large expenses important to them: the downpayment for a house or car, new furniture or a large appliance, an engagement ring, or something else. If your book is important to you, isn’t it worth saving up to afford editing to make it as good as it can be?