Three Steps To Good Self Editing

Copy of ecommerce2If you’re like me you need to buck up to edit your own things. Now I don’t mind editing other people’s words ( and I make part of my living at that ) but after I’ve written a blog I generally take a deep breath before I go back and check it for any inconsistencies. In fact if I’m not careful I find my mind skimming over the top like a rounded stone off a lake because I want to keep moving forward and stopping to edit slows me down.

Still, we all know how necessary it is and I’ve found over the years that there are a few things that keep me on track and the things that slip by to a minimum.

Finish Writing And Then Move On

When ever possible let the blog ferment. You’re less likely to see the errors that you need to right after you finish, so it’s best to leave yourself enough time so that you can move on to something else and come back to what you’ve written a few hours later. Granted that takes the ability to juggle a few things in the air and know which blogs you’ve saved as drafts, but in the end you’ll be surprised how much you catch when you go back after shifting mental gears for awhile.

There’s another good reason to let things settle for a bit too. When you’re on a roll writing blogs and riding that nice mental current where the words and phrases come easily, stopping to edit and then starting again is jarring. When you’re on a roll stay with it and finish a few blogs or articles and then go back to see what you’ve missed.

Slow Down And Read Out Loud

I don’t fully understand why this works but I don’t need to. I’ve tried to edit reading silently to myself and I find that I still miss the things that I catch when I read out loud. And really read the text too. The Internet is full of people who skim rather than read articles and blogs, but if you try to edit that way, you’re sure to miss some errors. It’s best to slow down and take your time as well. You’ll be surprised how many little things try to squirm away from the harried eye.

Use Proper Style

Although you want to makes things conversational and easy to read and you want to set a tone that’s close to the way you speak, it’s essential that you use proper grammar. If you don’t have it, get The Elements Of Style by Strunk and White. It’s short and easy to read and it will answer all of your grammar questions.  Editing using the simple rules from this book will become a grooved habit when you’ve referred to it a few times and your writing and editing will be vastly improved.

Remember that while self editing can be tedious, it’s essential so that all your blogs are polished and you readers respect what you’ve got to say.

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21 Comments

  1. Rob Mangiafico October 18, 2009
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