Today at our Writing Group meeting, one of our neighbors who has had several articles published in magazines gave us some hints about writing. There were the usual hints - write to your audience, keep it simple, etc.
There was one that got us all interested. He said that when we do a spell check, we an check a box that will give us more information such as word and character count, along with the grade level readability. This is something that none of us thought of doing and we couldn't wait until we got home to try it.
He also said that the New York Times is written for a 6th grade level reader. I was quite surprise to hear that. I would have thought it was higher since the Times seems to appeal to the more educated among us.
Of course, when I got home I checked most of my previous articles. It was quite an attack on my ego to find that some of my writing is on a 4th grade level. I did go up to a 10th grade level. That was the proposal for video equipment that I made when I was working. No wonder we got the equipment.
If you're interested in checking your work and have Microsoft Word 2003 or 2007 just do a spell check, then click on options. There you will find a box to show readability statistics. Then, whenever you do a spell check, you will also find your readability level along with a word and character count.
By the way, I seem to have improved my writing even if it's only today. This is written for a 6.5 grade level reader.