Please raise your hand if you’ve ever felt lost in the process of editing your blog post.
Of course, you’re thrilled that you’ve finished writing, but your happiness dampens when you admit you’re at a loss as to how to go about editing the post. It’s hard enough to come up with interesting and compelling ideas but now you have to make sure your work is readable and flows well from beginning to end.
Well, there’s good news. Editing doesn’t have to be that daunting. With the right steps and process at your fingertips, you can review and polish your work with an uncompromising eye and without the expense of hiring an editor.
I’ll walk you through how to edit your blogs like a pro. When we’re done, you’ll feel less stressed about completing this important step and more confident when you hit publish.
1. Forget What You Wrote
Write your first draft and then walk away.
Wait at least 1 day, if not more, before you start editing. Try to forget what you wrote so that when you edit, your eyes are fresh and see what’s there and not what your brain expects to see.
If you don’t have time to let your work sit for a few days, then at least forget about it for a few hours. Try to do other activities that take your mind completely off what you’ve written so that when you look at it again, you do so from a fresh perspective. New ways to improve your writing become clear when you create some distance from the first draft.
2. Read Your Post In A Different Format
Print your work, then read and make notes on the paper copy.
Another option is to change the font, color or size of the print. This is important because to view your work with a critical and constructive eye, you need to trick your mind into seeing it from an outsider perspective.
3. Read Your Post Out Loud
Good writing should sound conversational.
Read slowly from beginning to end. This practice helps to identify awkward words and poor phrasing that make sense to the eye but not to the ear. Add contractions too, which also helps to make your writing sound more conversational.
4. Read In Reverse
Read your post starting with the last sentence and ending with the first. Then read it again starting at the end, this time paragraph by paragraph. Changing the flow of your story forces you to pay attention and find mistakes you’d otherwise miss.
5. Be Ruthless
Don’t fall in love with your prose.
We almost always use too many words. Be as detached as possible and remove every unnecessary word while still getting your point across.
Make sure you understand how each sentence and paragraph helps your reader.
Concise writing is easier and more enticing to read than long paragraphs. If a word or phrase doesn’t add value to your writing, ax it.
6. Be Sparing With Adverbs
Whenever possible, get rid of adverbs and use descriptive words instead.
Rather than say, the girl ran home quickly, say the girl raced home. The man didn’t yell loudly, he screamed with delight.
7. Lose The Fancy Words
Long, complex words have the effect of excluding readers when your goal is to be as inclusive as possible.
Use everyday language that’s inviting and unpretentious.
If you’re stuck, use a thesaurus to find simpler words that are more familiar to the average reader.
8. Avoid The Passive Voice
Passive voice is where the object of the activity becomes the subject of the sentence.
It makes for weak, unconvincing writing.
Instead of saying, “Nathan is loved by Mary,” say “Mary loves Nathan.” In the active voice, Mary is the subject who is performing the action of loving Nathan, who is the object of the sentence.
Becoming a good self-editor takes time but like most worthwhile endeavors, it gets easier with practice. I hope these editing tips help you to create more polished and concise blog posts and feel more confident before you publish.