*This could be seen as an extension of my previous blogging post so I’m treating it as a part 2. And just to let you know, I am not an expert.*
Self editing is a big bone of contention for me. As a writer, whether said writer is professional or amateur, we are more used to the actual act of putting our thoughts and fancies on the page and not double or triple checking our output. It seems that when we edit our own work, we tend to miss the more obvious mistakes while looking for the more eclectic ones.
For example: recently I uploaded a post that I had taken ages to edit. *”Ages” to me means more than three passes over the article, it doesn’t really equate to a real time.* Once I was satisfied that every thing looked okay, I posted it. Only to cringe with embarrassment when I first read the posted product. My first sentence had a word missing!
Face Palm moment.
Of course one of the great things about WordPress is that we can always go back and re-edit our stuff after we’ve posted it. But that really isn’t what we should be doing. We should do a decent edit before we send our baby out to be read by strangers (and friends) who will most likely not be impressed by the fact that we cannot spell or write an intelligent sentence.
I don’t read other blogs nearly as much as I should. I am, by my very nature, lazy. I only have so much energy and attention span available to me and I have to share it with everything from doing the housework to taping a video for YouTube. So in my mind three passes is the longest that I can take to edit my own written material.
But when I do read other blogs, I cringe when I see a barrage of misspellings and sentences that have great holes in them where a word should be. Now I will admit that I have an almost phobic distaste for writers who cannot get the difference between to, two and too. I also have real problems with those who cannot differentiate between their, there and they’re.
*My most cringeworthy moment came when I’d incorrectly used their instead of they’re. I was mortified.*
With the use of spell checker software that is available, not just on WordPress, but on every word processing software in the world, I find it inconceivable that these common mistakes still appear on people’s blogs and (I’m sad to say) their books. I know that I have not followed a blog that has been full of spelling mistakes and despite the content being fantastic, I couldn’t in all honesty follow someone who did not care enough about what they wrote to edit it properly.
Granted we are writers and not editors, the two things are not mutually inclusive. Being good at one does not automatically mean you are good at the other. But, and this is a big but, we have to make that effort. If we don’t take ourselves seriously enough to send out a polished product when we upload, how can we expect anyone else to. (and that is to not too or two)
And we do want to be taken seriously, don’t we? The blogging world is full of people who can write just as well as we can and a lot more folks who can write better. A lot of successful bloggers don’t just add pictures and videos and GIF‘S (that’s for you Tyson) they add a professional touch that includes ruthless editing.
1) Try reading the blogpost in reverse order. It’s a lot easier to spot boo-boo’s that way.
2) Have a trusted person read the post. My daughter used to do this for me and me for her. It works.
3) Try reading the post out loud. A lot of times this will save you from making sentencing mistakes.
4) Leave your post alone for a bit. Go do something that is not writing related and then come back, the mistakes will sometimes leap off that page at you.
5) Take your time. There is no rush. No-one is breathing over your shoulder screaming hurry up.
6) Last one I promise. Try reading it in preview mode (WordPress). I find mistakes show more clearly on preview.
Now following these tips is no guarantee that your future blog posts will be mistake free. But they will go a long way toward making it read more smoothly and improving the look of it.
I do feel that standards are slipping. I’ve read no less than three Freshly Pressed articles that were “shot-gunned” through with misspellings. Great stories all, but to read? I kept stumbling over misspelt words and it took the enjoyment out of the article. Just as it takes the enjoyment out of posting my own articles and discovering that I’d either turned word-check off, or I hadn’t bothered to really edit properly.
Just things like using the wrong “tense” or the wrong adverb or adjective can throw the reader out of the moment or cause them to miss your point. This can lose you views, followers and the confidence you need to continue writing.
We owe it to the good people who take the time to read, like, or comment on our babies. More importantly we owe it to ourselves. Because we are writers, damn it and we are proud of that fact.
Do you have any editing tips that work for you? If so, please feel more than free to share them. We’d love to hear them, I know I can use all the help I can get.
- What you need to know about blogs and blogging (kathrynmarketingpro.wordpress.com)
- Tips for Becoming a Freelance Writer (howtolivethefreelancelife.wordpress.com)
- 15 Useful, Little-Known WordPress Plugins to Add to Your Collection | RYP Marketing (rypmarketing.com)
- Blogging Part 2: The Creative Side (InsuranceFiles.com)
- On Blogging (shesamaineiac.com)
- On Editing (portablemagicblog.com)
- The Terror of the Blank Page (writingishardwork.com)