I have a Writing Tutor now ...

So, I’ve been reading a book on prompt engineering and decided to practice a little…

Here’s a conversation I had with chatGPT regarding a small essay I wrote recently and fortunately, there’s room to improve.

Here’s how it went…

Criticize my writing …

Raj: You are my writing critic for this session; do not make any intellectual changes in any text I paste; do not heavily influence my style; only analyze what I say and generate pointers as to how I can become a better writer.

chatGPT: Of course, I’ll provide constructive feedback and suggestions to help you become a better writer while respecting your style and content. Please go ahead and paste the text you’d like me to review, and I’ll provide pointers for improvement.

Raj: The following is an essay I wrote recently, titled “The Definitive Guide to Books”…

The Definitive Guide to Books

Books play a pivotal role in the life of any aspiring and existing intellectual. I began reading diversely and seriously when I was 19 and immediately regretted not starting sooner.

Reading sets you up for an involved existence. If you read vastly, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Over the span of 3 years (2019 - 2022), I read around a 100 books ranging from the classics, biographies, auto-biographies, physics, computer science, anthropology, data science, etymology, theology, game theory, mathematics, history, how-to-books, nutrition, physiology , fitness, health, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, business (okay, don’t judge - we all do this), economics, writing, self help (guilty as charged), spirituality, humor (guides to being funny and similar stuff), young adult (only 1 - please don’t chastise me - I could not handle the cringe), philosophy (a lot - please don’t chastise me) and meta books (speed reading, how to consume books, taking notes, etc).

I probably did miss out on some very eccentric oddity that could put me up there in the league of undiagnosed sociopaths - I recited that list based on what I could recall. (I’ve deleted my old goodreads (the one linked is a new index that I’m still building) that had these indexed, for a fresh start -> too many shelves and tags and I’m more of a destroyer than I’m a cleaner).

The habit of reading may have granted me access to the ocean of abstractions and intellectual entities but writing is the guru that teaches you how to swim and dive and evaporate seas and make it rain on deserts and communicate with marine life and unlock secrets from the deepest trenches and generate tsunamis and … well …, yeah …, you get the point..

I have blogged regularly for the majority of my last 4 years of existence and then felt like writing a book after a point. I felt so for the first time a year and a half ago but circumstances (code for excuses and procrastination) did not align the stars for me to get that off my check list.

Yesterday, while cooking my morning post workout feast, in this podcast, Derek (Sivers) discussed the idea of writing a book by building a series of blog posts.

Writing a blog post seems easier than writing down a chapter of similar complexity. It also encourages intermittent feedback rather than a final review of your ideas. I liked the concept and have finally decided to begin writing my book about “The definitive guide to books”.

It should serve as a good entry point for any lexically starved individual (as I was when I began) on how to go about reading diversely, efficiently and consolidating all that you consume in a dense and mentally index-able manner.

The final piece of the puzzle for any bibliophile to graduate into a telepath of abstractions is writing a book. That shall be the final section of my first book and I’ll be collating the experiences of writing these book-oriented blog posts into that final section.

Discussing my plans is a habit that keeps me accountable and pushes me harder on actually sticking to the promise made to no specific individual but to the edges of the internet that won’t be read so easily by those who actually care - that is something I would do: pseudo-accountability taken to the extreme.

“Do let me know what you think of this confession and commitment in the comments below” is a very generic call-to-action I could use, but that doesn’t matter if I actually don’t write the book now.

chatGPT: You’ve written an engaging and personal essay titled “The Definitive Guide to Books.” Here are some pointers to help you improve your writing:

  1. Clarity and Structure: Consider breaking down your essay into clear sections or paragraphs to enhance the overall structure. This will make it easier for readers to follow your thoughts and ideas.

  2. Conciseness: While sharing your personal journey and experiences is valuable, try to be concise and avoid unnecessary repetition. Keep the focus on your main points and insights about books and reading.

  3. Vocabulary and Word Choice: Your essay could benefit from a richer vocabulary. Experiment with more diverse and precise words to convey your ideas effectively.

  4. Sentence Variety: Vary your sentence structure to add rhythm and flow to your writing. This can make your essay more engaging.

  5. Proofreading: Carefully proofread your work for grammar and punctuation errors. For instance, “check list” should be “checklist.”

  6. Elaborate on Key Points: When discussing the importance of reading and writing, consider elaborating on specific experiences or examples that illustrate your points. This will make your arguments more compelling.

  7. Tone: Maintain a consistent tone throughout the essay. Your writing style should match the overall mood and message you want to convey.

  8. Engage the Reader: You can enhance reader engagement by asking questions or using rhetorical devices strategically. For example, instead of saying, “you get the point,” you could elaborate on your analogy to make it more vivid.

  9. Personal Touch: Your personal anecdotes and reflections are a strength of the essay. Continue to weave in your own experiences to connect with readers emotionally.

  10. Call to Action: Your call to action at the end is good, but it could be more specific. Instead of a generic “let me know what you think,” you could ask for feedback on a particular aspect of your essay or invite readers to share their own book-related experiences.

Overall, your essay has a strong foundation, and with some fine-tuning and attention to these pointers, you can enhance its impact and readability. Keep writing and refining your skills, as practice is key to becoming a better writer.

Raj: I see, what do you think of the tone of the essay as a whole?

chatGPT: The overall tone of your essay is conversational and personal, which can be engaging for readers. It feels like a candid and reflective exploration of your reading journey and your decision to write a book. However, here are some points to consider about the tone:

  1. Consistency: Try to maintain a consistent tone throughout the essay. There are moments when the tone becomes more formal or academic, such as when you mention “abstractions and intellectual entities.” Make sure the tone aligns with the essay’s purpose and target audience.

  2. Engagement: While a conversational tone is relatable, consider adding moments of emotional engagement or passion. Share anecdotes or personal stories that connect with readers on a deeper level.

  3. Clarity: Ensure that your tone doesn’t obscure your main points or ideas. Some sentences, like the one discussing writing as “unlocking secrets from the deepest trenches,” may

be metaphorical to the point of confusion.

  1. Humor: If humor is part of your writing style, feel free to infuse it where appropriate. However, be cautious not to force humor if it doesn’t naturally fit the context.

  2. Reader Engagement: Encourage reader engagement and interaction throughout the essay. For example, when discussing your commitment to writing a book, you could invite readers to share their own writing goals or challenges.

In general, your conversational tone is appealing and makes the essay relatable. To enhance it, focus on maintaining consistency and using anecdotes or personal experiences to connect with your audience.

Raj: Hmm, alright. Can you rewrite the whole with the improvements without changing the meaning of the text?

chatGPT: Certainly, here’s a revised version of your essay with the suggested improvements in vocabulary and tone while preserving the original meaning:

The Definitive Guide to Books

Books hold a vital place in the life of any aspiring or established intellectual. I began my serious and diverse reading journey at the age of 19, and I immediately wished I had started sooner.

Reading paves the way for a rich and engaged existence. When you read widely, you become a formidable force.

Over three years (2019 - 2022), I devoured approximately 100 books spanning genres from classics and biographies to physics, computer science, anthropology, data science, etymology, theology, game theory, mathematics, history, how-to guides, nutrition, physiology, fitness, health, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, business (yes, we all do this), economics, writing, self-help (guilty as charged), spirituality, humor (guides to being funny and similar content), young adult fiction (only one – please don't judge – I couldn't handle the cringe), philosophy (a lot – please don't judge me), and meta-books (covering topics like speed reading, note-taking, and more).

I probably forgot some eccentric gems in that list, but that's the best I can recall. (I've deleted my old Goodreads account, the one linked here is a new index I'm still building - too many shelves and tags, and I tend to destroy rather than clean.)

While the habit of reading may have granted me access to the ocean of ideas and intellectual concepts, writing is the guide that teaches you how to navigate these waters. It teaches you to swim, dive deep, make the seas evaporate, rain on deserts, communicate with marine life, unlock secrets from the deepest trenches, and generate tsunamis - well, you get the idea.

I've consistently maintained a blog for the majority of my last four years, and at some point, I felt the urge to write a book. That urge hit me for the first time about a year and a half ago, but circumstances (which is just a code word for excuses and procrastination) didn't align to make it happen.

Then, during my morning post-workout meal preparation yesterday, while listening to a podcast, Derek (Sivers) discussed the concept of writing a book by creating a series of blog posts.

Writing a blog post appears more manageable than crafting a chapter of similar complexity. It also encourages intermittent feedback rather than a final review of your ideas. I found this concept appealing and have finally committed to starting my book titled "The Definitive Guide to Books."

This book should serve as an ideal entry point for anyone craving a richer vocabulary (as I once did) and seeking guidance on how to read diversely, efficiently, and consolidate what they consume into a dense, mentally indexable manner.

The final piece of the puzzle for any book enthusiast aspiring to become a master of abstract thinking is writing a book. This will be the concluding section of my first book, where I'll compile my experiences from writing these book-related blog posts.

Sharing my plans is a habit that keeps me accountable and pushes me to stick to my promise, not to any specific individual, but to the corners of the internet that may not be easily reached by those who genuinely care - yes, I tend to take pseudo-accountability to the extreme.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on this declaration and commitment. Your feedback and engagement will keep me motivated on this writing journey.

Raj: Interesting, say you had to score both essays out of 10, what would the scores be?

chatGPT: Both versions of your essay have their strengths, and the scores are subjective, but I can offer an evaluation based on the improvements made:

Original Essay:

  • Clarity: 7/10
  • Vocabulary: 6/10
  • Structure: 6/10
  • Tone: 7/10
  • Engagement: 7/10

Revised Essay:

  • Clarity: 8/10
  • Vocabulary: 8/10
  • Structure: 7/10
  • Tone: 8/10
  • Engagement: 8/10

The revised essay scores slightly higher in most aspects, particularly in vocabulary and clarity, as it incorporates the suggested improvements. However, the scores are subjective, and what matters most is how well the essay communicates your message and engages your intended audience.

Raj: Well, thanks a lot, this was pretty productive.

chatGPT: You’re very welcome! I’m glad I could assist you, and I’m pleased to hear that you found our session productive. If you have any more questions or need further assistance with your writing or any other topic in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out. Happy writing!

Concluding remarks

I’m impressed, this will definitely speed up my progress… - that’s a commendable editor.