The power of writing fascinates me. It helps move ideas from one time and place to another, minimizes corruption in communication, and incites people to pursue causes greater than themselves.
Writing leads to useful outcomes. What do I mean by that? Well, writing does not complicate thinking, it clears things up. Writing does not decay the faculties of reason and imagination, it nurtures them. Writing does not kill collaboration, it encourages it. Writing does not disrupt communication, it improves it. That all is powerful stuff.
The idea that software can enable good writing excites me. And because of this, I created software that analyses text and provides feedback on how to make it simple and clear. To my surprise, the software gained some traction. People used it and shared it with others.
I thought that would be the end of it.
But I consistently heard positive feedback from people in different professions around the world. In a single day, I got an email from a graduate student at Harvard University, another email from a manager in a tech company in the U.S., and another from an English teacher in Singapore. In each email, people said they found the software interesting, gave good feedback, and asked for new features. That made me think. The software I had built required some technical knowledge to install and operate it. But, I thought, if people from different walks of life found this software helpful after overcoming technical hurdles, then why shouldn’t I make the software accessible to a wider audience?
At the same time, I was reading books by Steven Pinker, John McPhee, Robert Graves, William Zinsser, William Strunk Jr., and other masters of the writing craft. Reading these books further fueled my passion for writing and gave me some ideas for writing software.
During this time, I developed a strong urge to create an easy-to-use web application to enable better writing. This urge became irresistible until I founded Homer. I believe in it. I use it. And I want to continuously improve it. Homer brings clarity to writing, as it tries to identify vague text and offers useful feedback to correct it.
You might be asking yourself, “will I lose my voice as a writer if I rely on Homer?” The simple answer is no. As a writer, you have the power to decide whether to pay attention to feedback or go with your instinct. But I have found that feedback almost always helps. The impact of great feedback on writing is not small, sometimes it could even be huge. Great feedback can create a lot of value both for the writer and the writing itself. My hope is that Homer provides some of that value.
Homer can be your valuable guide in your writing process. That said, I would also like to touch on what Homer is not. Homer is not a tool that forces feedback on the writer. Homer is not a replacement for a good (human) editor. Homer is not a tool that offers artificial intelligence-based recommendations for writing.
That said, Homer does have some features that no existing writing software has, like displaying the "structure" of your writing and highlighting lengthy paragraphs and sentences. The ultimate goal of Homer is to help people write better. And this is a noble goal if it helps people stand out, persuade others, get better jobs, and better the world.
I would like to thank my family for their support throughout this journey. I would also like to thank Susan Dimmock and Elizabeth Melton.
I hope you join me on my quest to design a tool that helps writers enjoy their craft. I welcome all your feedback. Please say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours ever sincerely,