Crossposting from my original Reddit Post. Hope this helps!
I recently discovered that ChatGPT is quite effective for editing copy, fixing grammar, and revising text to be more concise. At first, I treated it as an automatic turn-key solution, thinking that I could simply feed it a blob of text and say “fix this!” However, I quickly learned that ChatGPT is not a quick fix for your copy. Rather, it’s a powerful partner in helping you grow as a writer and communicator.
To get the most out of ChatGPT, I found that it’s important to provide clear instructions and pay attention to how it responds, creating an active feedback loop. I use a split-pane editor to compare my old copy to ChatGPT’s revised version, making manual adjustments in each cycle. I have learned to include specific requests for grammar corrections, the inclusion of specific details, the format and tone of the narrative, or specific revisions to sentences or paragraphs. I have found that providing examples is much more effective than abstract instructions.
With ChatGPT as my partner, I’ve been able to make significant improvements to my writing and become a better communicator and delegator.
I’d like to share some of my tips and tricks and hear yours.
- Be Specific: To get the best results from ChatGPT, communicate clearly and specifically. If it doesn’t understand your instructions or preferences, try explaining them in more detail or using synonyms. Giving specific examples is the best way to help it better understand your desired style or tone. For example, “Please give this list in the format : , for example ‘green house gases: global warming’.”
Cutting Off: ChatGPT usually cuts off mid-sentence after 3-4 paragraphs when editing large blocks of text. To fix this, tell ChatGPT: “You got cut off. Please continue from .” ChatGPT works best when editing 3-4 paragraphs of text at a time.
Getting Off Track: If ChatGPT gets off track, you can reset it by saying “Let’s start over. Here is the copy I want to fix the grammar for: .”
Missed Instructions: If ChatGPT misses instructions, you may need to repeat them 2-3 times to get it back on track.
- Optimal Input Size: ChatGPT works best when editing 2-3 paragraphs of text at a time. But you can first give it the full text for context, and then tackle
- Fixing grammar: Sometimes I feed ChatGPT a few paragraphs and it comes up with a paragraph summary. That’s nice sometimes, but often I want it to just fix my grammatical mistakes. To fix this, tell ChatGPT: “Please fix the grammar in this copy, but leave the structure and narrative the same.” Often, it may be necessary to repeat this instruction in the first and second message.
- Summarization: ChatGPT doesn’t understand “Please summarize this in 6000 characters.” To get a better summary, tell ChatGPT: “Please summarize this in 3 paragraphs.” Even then, when summarizing a large piece of text, make sure to include specific points that you want to focus on, “Please summarize this in 3 paragraphs. Make sure to mention the following examples in the revision <copy and paste 1, 2, 3>.”
- Specific names and details: ChatGPT has a tendency of cutting out specific project and people’s names. To fix this, tell ChatGPT: “Make sure to include specific project and people’s names, such as <person’s name>.”
Adding Examples: By default, ChatGPT tends to write in generalities. You can try saying “Please provide more examples/details/explanations in the revision such as ”.
Specific Changes: To make specific changes to the text, try saying “Please include/exclude the phrase ‘[phrase]’ in the revision,” “Please address my point about [issue] in the revision,” or “Please revise the following sentence/paragraph: [copy and paste the sentence or paragraph].”
- Context: To give ChatGPT context for your edits, try using phrases like “My main concern is…” or “I’d like you to pay special attention to…” or “I’d like to focus more on because ”
- Flow and Themes: ChatGPT is generally good at maintaining the flow/themes through a narrative, but sometimes you have to give it some help, by reordering stuff manually in your text. In fact, the BEST way to work with ChatGPT is to make edits yourself, then feed in the revised copy, and let it do its thing, in a cycle.
Tone and Style
- Writing Style: If ChatGPT writes in a dry, professional tone, add a human element by telling ChatGPT: “Please make the language in the revision more casual/conversational/romantic/poetic/epic.” If ChatGPT still doesn’t understand your desired style or tone, try giving it an example by saying “I would like for you to write examples in [some] style. For example, [copy and paste your wording].”
- Perspective: Also, ChatGPT has a tendency to write in 2nd or 3rd person. You can fix this by saying “Write this in first person please." You can also say “Write this in past tense”
- Themes: Use clear categories and criteria to group your narrative into bullet points and themes. You just need to give it your categories/labels/theme/criteria in one message, and your narrative in another: “Here are the categories/parameters/requirements for my . In the following message I will give you a list of my accomplishments.”. “Then in the next message say “Please use the categories from the previous message to group my accomplishments.”
- Auto-Sorting: ChatGPT is excellent at automatically sorting a list of items in sections and subsections, according to certain themes or parameters: "Please give me a list of headphones categorized by price”.
- Extract specific info: ChatGPT can extract names, project names, accomplishment, whatever you like from a piece of text. Just say “please extract all the from this text”. Provide clear instructions and repeat them across messages if necessary: “Please use the categories from the previous message to group my accomplishments.”
Credits: ChatGPT, my unfaltering writing partner