With previous experience working as a deputy editor, I have learnt a number of tricks to improve writing. Magazines and publications have the luxury of a second pair of eyes to proof-read copy. For bloggers, this task falls to them. Here are the best editing tips to know.
Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you notice these mistakes in my work.
Cut the clichés
Post New Year’s, it seems every blogger types this line: Now that it’s a new year, it’s time to start thinking about goals.
It’s a great event for bloggers to discuss, but you want to stand out from the crowd. Likewise, if you’re planning a post on activities in the summer, think about saying something that’s unique. Make a reader feel as though they have to read your post because nowhere else will give them your insight.
Shorten your intro’s
Introductions are like a secondary title. Just because a reader has clicked on your post, it doesn’t mean they will continue to read. What’s going to entice a person? Take this introduction paragraph below:
Editing is challenging. Amongst taking photos, writing and marketing, it’s another skill that a blogger has to master. It’s important because spelling mistakes and poor grammar, makes your work look unprofessional. Learning how to edit will make your writing better.
This intro above is not important. You as a reader have not clicked on this post for an editing explanation. You want the editing tips. Think about what’s gripping to your readers. How will your first few lines compliment your blog title?Get straight to the good stuff. You’re a magician and you need to make others believe in your magic. Are you going to begin with a 5 minute talk on your background, or are you going to whizz out an awesome magic trick?
Be wary of disclaimers
Yes, I added a sarcastic disclaimer to this post. At times they’re crucial – giving out professional advice without being a professional, for instance.
But disclaimers can show a lack of confidence. A classic example: warning readers that a post is long-winded and will take time to sit through. Considering how busy most of us are, this will likely encourage a reader to focus on time and click elsewhere. Worrying about time at the start of a post is not positive. Also, don’t apologise. Make a reader feel that reading your work is worth it.
Shorten long sentences
Focus on one point per sentence. For example: Editing is extremely time-consuming so it helps to take a break and revisit in a few days when you are feeling more relaxed and can then check over spelling.
More digestible as: Editing is extremely time-consuming so it helps to take a break. Revisit your work after a few days because you may notice hidden spelling mistakes.
If you go on too much of a ramble, you could lose the reader.
Remove fancy words
Remember that episode of Friends when Joey uses an online thesaurus? His speech to Monica and Chandler made no sense. When you write, you have to consider your audience. A formal publication may welcome complex vocabulary. If you have written 500 words using a casual tone, you want to avoid randomly adding in a fancy word or two. Writing is not about the amount of terms you know, nevertheless…
Look out for repetition
Because, because, because, because…
Repeatedly reading “but”, “however” and “amazing” can get tiring. I recommend keeping an online thesaurus tab open and using whenever you notice a word reappearing. Simple phrases such as “rather than” can become “instead of’. These switches throughout will keep your post feeling fresh.
Cut as many words as possible
My editing tips amount to nothing without this point. Sentences are sharper when you delete unnecessary words. Take these two sections below. Which one feels quicker and catchier to read?
“I’m going through Laura’s editing tips and I’m thinking that she has ruined my blogging experience, by making me think about all of these editing points. Why can’t I just write how I want?”
“Going through Laura’s editing tips, I’m thinking: Why can’t I write how I want? She’s ruined my blogging experience“.
When you’re cutting out words, consider which words help to explain a sentence, and which hold little to no impact. For example: “I personally feel”. If you’re already using the word I, do you also need to add personally?
Read out loud
Skimming through text silently to yourself can cause grazing. You can flick through sentences – with your brain imagining certain words are in place. By reading out loud, you pick up on the tone and flow of your text, better understanding a reader’s perspective. And I believe you also notice more grammar mistakes. Particularly with your use of commas.
Do you have any editing tips to share? Do you notice how your writing has improved since blogging?
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