I watch a lot of YouTube videos about the best ways to clean your bathroom, which doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with editing tips for writers, but stay with me for a moment …
See, I realized that I spend way more time watching “hacks, tricks, and tips” about how to efficiently clean a bathroom than I do actually cleaning my bathroom.
Given the hundreds of thousands of views on these types of videos, perhaps it’s not just me. And I then started thinking … this might be similar to writers who read about editing.
Editing tips for writers that don’t feel like chores
Editing, like cleaning a bathroom, isn’t always the most fun, so writers might spend more time reading about editing tips than actually implementing them.
We’d like to have a polished bathroom or a polished blog post — we just don’t always want to perform the work required to produce that shiny end result.
The 10 modern editing tips for writers below should invigorate you to put in the elbow grease … at least when it comes to your blogging.
1. Become the Editor-in-Chief of your blog
Even though blogs have been around for a long time, some people may still associate them with sloppy, weak information posted on a website. And that’s what some blogs are.
But that’s not the goal of business blogging.
While the writing rules you follow certainly depend on the audience you serve, your presentation must be thoughtful.
Blog posts that work for your business ideally satisfy a need for both you and your readers.
Here’s my definition of an Editor-in-Chief that professional writers can use to demonstrate a commitment to quality:
Editor-in-Chief (noun): a person who assumes complete responsibility for, and ownership of, all of the communication he or she puts out into the world to enable a self-directed, creative career.
2. Build editing momentum
You don’t start physical exercise without some gentle stretches, and you probably don’t start drafting your blog post ideas without some writing warm-ups either.
Similarly, don’t just jump straight into editing your writing without the proper preparation.
Instead, energize your brain to tame wild words with your audience’s best interest in mind.
You want to feel ready to shape and craft your text rather than simply read it.
To build momentum to edit with ease, begin your editing routine by:
- Reading some inspirational quotes for writers
- Studying the structure of the lyrics in a song from your favorite musical artist
- Writing free-form creative content that is separate from your blog
Those are just a few activities you can try. How do you get ready to edit? Share in the comments below at the end of this post.
3. Bond with your audience over a shared worldview
As I mentioned above, your blog post should be a thoughtful presentation that considers your audience’s desires, hopes, and needs.
And you don’t always need to write more to create the most engaging, useful, content possible. Sometimes you just need to arrange your ideas in a way that is easy to consume.
That might include:
- Improving your headline writing
- Adding bullet points
- Rearranging your sentences or paragraphs
- Deleting confusing tangents
- Turning a long blog post into a series
Editing is more than just checking for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s your opportunity to extract your winning difference from your draft and shine a spotlight on it.
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4. Sleep with one eye (and one ear) open
We know writers are always working, so look for meaningful snippets everywhere, even if they seem to have nothing to do with the topics you write about.
Why is this an editing tip?
Your draft may be a straightforward article that offers helpful information, but during the editing process you can infuse it with your own writing voice and incorporate interesting elements that hook readers on your blog’s style.
Go ahead, make the competition irrelevant.
5. Ask yourself questions when studying editing tips for writers
It’s common to take a break after writing before you begin editing to help clear your mind. After all, it’s difficult to review your own writing objectively.
Another thing you can do to avoid blogging mistakes is to ask yourself critical questions about your content:
- Does this introduction explain why someone should keep reading?
- Is there too much hype and not enough value?
- Can I simplify this point?
Since your headline is always a good place to start, check out: 3 Simple Questions That Help You Write Better Headlines.
6. Add carbonation to your flat water
Plain water is fine, but isn’t sparkling water a little more fun?
As you examine your draft, vary your word choice and fine-tune your language throughout your post — especially at the beginning of paragraphs.
For example, if you begin the majority of your paragraphs with “Something you could try …,” or “Make sure …,” the text is going to look repetitive to a reader.
Also, take a look at the list items in this post. They aren’t merely “1. Edit,” “2. Proofread,” etc. They state unpredictable, unusual actions that guide the reader through the post in an unexpected way.
Be an artist. Play with your words and look for different ways to present your content ideas.
7. Bring an umbrella (just in case it rains)
It happens to the best of us. We can all get a little … wordy.
Shield your final draft from extra explanations with your trusty word-repellant umbrella.
Aim to not get too attached to your words and swiftly cut out sections of your draft if they don’t benefit your audience. (Save them for later because they might fit perfectly into a different post!)
You want your article to be complete, but communicate your main message in a precise way.
8. Complete a “revision triangle”
Once you’ve set up a post:
- Edit in the Text Editor screen
- Proofread in the Text Editor screen
- Proofread once again in Preview mode
I call this a “revision triangle” because a triangle has three sides and these are three steps that help ensure you have thoroughly reviewed your writing.
Since many mistakes are often not caught until you proofread, let’s look at my favorite proofreading technique.
9. Keep the reader in your created reality
In the draft of this post, I accidentally typed “learn” instead of “clean”, “person” instead of “perhaps,” and “always” instead of “also.”
If these errors had published, they would have jolted readers out of the experience I created for them.
They could reread the text and figure out my true intentions, but that’s a bit disappointing for readers — and extra work for them.
Catch these types of mistakes by proofreading from the end of your post to the beginning in Preview mode.
Remember that proofreading is not reading.
You need to slowly inspect each word in your draft.
10. Zig when others zag
This tip is also known as “double-check details other writers may overlook.”
Properly attribute any quotations you use and verify their accuracy (no missing or incorrect words).
Look up the exact names of companies and products. You don’t want to write “MasterMix 300” when the product you’re talking about is actually called “Master MixIt 2000.”
It’s easy to skip over hyperlinked text when you proofread, so give those words special attention. Fact-check event information, such as the day of the week, date, and time.
There isn’t just one set of editing tips for writers that help your blog stand out. You build respect and trust by getting the details right over time.
More editing tips for writers and content creators
If you think you need to brush up on your editing skills, you might be experiencing this discouraging scenario … Inbox 0: in a bad way.
Has your brilliant content still not scored you that dream writing position, lucrative business partnership, or sweet recognition among your peers and target audience?
If you think your article ideas are top-notch, but there’s a lonely tumbleweed blowing through your barren website, it might be because you’re just a writer.
You heard me, Gloria.
If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody calling? Once you create a blog or email newsletter, you need to also actively take part in its evolution.
While keeping diligent focus on your content production, you must also review your past choices, looking for ways to allow more readers to engage with your writing.
In other words, you might need to think more like an editor.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, here are 30 additional editing tips that will help you become a more effective editor-in-chief of the content you create.
11. Fall in love with your website
Forget “like.” No one will be head-over-heels about your online home if you’re not thoroughly impressed with your presentation.
Commit to making your site a masterpiece before you even think about your next post topic.
12. Sit down; stay awhile
“Web furniture” sets the tone for visitors. These elements include your headshot, logo, and layout.
Does your design welcome people into your hub and make them want to find out more?
13. Turn the spotlight outward
Remember that a good About page is as much about your audience as it is about you.
14. Highlight a reason to subscribe
Since your story continually unfolds, encourage visitors to stay in the loop and get your fresh content as soon as it’s published.
15. Have discerning taste
Thoughtfully select the media that complements your writing. Stock photos can be used strategically, or they can look generic and bland.
16. Break the rules for a good cause
If the latest and greatest widget, post style, or social media app won’t benefit your readers, don’t use them.
17. Demonstrate authority
Display certification badges or testimonials that represent your expertise.
18. Check your WordPress before you wreck your WordPress
Secure your website with reliable hosting so that you feel confident about growing your web presence and readership.
19. Tell them what you want
When someone arrives on your site, what do you want him to do next? Subscribe? Hire you? Collaborate?
Explicitly state your website’s purpose as if it were a physical storefront.
20. Say no to “yes men” to focus on editing tips for writers
Friends and family will say “looks great!” without even clicking on your URL. Get objective feedback from professionals before your blog launch.
21. Water the plant
Each edit you make to your content should directly contribute to the goal you’d like to accomplish.
22. Prepare; don’t plan
Structure your editorial calendar in a way that allows you to adjust your posting schedule if you naturally think of new ideas or need to fit in time-sensitive content.
23. Take yourself out of the equation
If you’re preoccupied with impressing others, you may feel pressure and forget how to start writing. Concentrate on helping your audience instead.
24. Research what’s hot
Get the right visitors to your blog with sensible SEO. You simply need to find and use the keywords they use when they search online.
25. Fascinate your audience
Educate and entertain in equal measure.
26. Diversify your topics
If you’re tired of your blog posts, it shows. You may need to switch topics completely or expand your approach to keep yourself motivated and readers enthusiastic.
27. Look in nooks and crannies
Can you provide additional information in new posts that enhances content you’ve already published?
28. Tighten up
Instead of writing many mediocre posts, dedicate your efforts to one powerful piece of content per week.
29. Walk the line
Strike a balance between your passions and your audience’s dilemmas that positions you to provide practical relief.
30. Log out and mute distractions
Respect your blog and block distractions until you’re finished with your writing sessions.
31. Try the Fat Ass Fudge diet
Fat Ass Fudge says it all. Do your descriptions also convey a precise message?
32. Divide and conquer (a difficult editing tip for writers to hear)
If you truly serve a specific niche, you will exclude another group. It’s necessary. There should be certain people who hate your writing.
33. Use concise language
When you name your blog, develop a tagline, or craft a headline, pick easy words that differentiate your business in a straightforward way.
34. Outline main points
You’ll flesh out the details of your content when you write each line, but you should outline your main points before you begin writing to ensure your posts are cohesive.
35. Write one compelling line
The stress of writing a blog post, landing page, or ebook is imaginary. Each line you write is the only reality. Put your head down; do the work.
36. Learn language rules
Grammar and usage can be boring, but what’s worse than boring? Losing readers because they don’t understand what you’re saying. Editing tips for writers help make your writing clear.
37. Avoid word choice mistakes
Don’t carelessly write “effect” when you mean “affect.” Do you know the difference?
38. Examine each letter
As I mentioned above, proofreading is different from writing and editing. Each final read-through should be a slow inspection that catches subtle errors you’ve previously missed.
39. Leave time
Write in multiple rounds so you have more time to reflect. It sounds counterintuitive, but planned breaks can help you make significant progress.
40. Regard everything as practice
Be proud of the work you’ve already completed and aim to get better. Don’t take anything you read or write for granted. It’s all a lesson.
Try these editing tips for writers
Drafts aren’t only rough versions of documents and manuscripts. Most creations (and household chores) are ongoing works in progress.
So now that we’ve got a handle on a practical editing mindset we can all use going forward, I’ll resolve to also stay on top of my bathroom cleaning.
Should I straighten up the area around my sink?
It’s a start.