Blog Editing is not a suggestion, it’s mandatory!
Editing a blog is more than slashing words and phrases. It’s also the art of strengthening what remains. It, too, takes work. Pruning a fruit tree makes it heartier and more fruitful. Keep that in mind as you continue to trim and shape your writing.
The first part of Rule #2 gave tips for eliminating the unnecessary. In part deux we’ll look at strengthening what remains.
4 Tips for editing your blog or any other social media content.
1. Use strong verbs. “She walked across the room” tells me not much more than there was a girl, a room, and movement across it. Changing “walked” can alter the whole picture. “She sauntered across the room” lends a new perspective. “She skipped across the room” paints a different picture than either of the previous phrases. “She slunk across the room” negates all the other images.
I can tighten this up a little more by ridding the sentence of its prepositional phrase. “She traversed the room.” It’s up to you. The prepositional phrase isn’t a bad thing, but it’s sometimes unnecessary. It all depends on your purpose. Do you want to just get the girl across the room or do you want to convey a mood as she crosses it?
2. This extends the first part of eliminating extraneous words. In the last post I said to eradicate most occurrences of that, which, and who. It’s a good place to start.
Tightening up your blog writing takes time, thought, and patience. Sometimes it requires a thesaurus, too. Often I use two words (or more) when one suffices.
For example in the last sentence, I originally wrote, “Often I use two words (or more) where one will do.” Substituting “suffices” for “will do” creates a tighter sentence. Writing well requires slashing and substituting something stronger.
3. The thesaurus can be your friend if you use it well. It will be your enemy if you don’t. Don’t substitute words indiscriminately. Choose words you know and would actually use. If you pick something that looks impressive, you may choose correctly; but there’s a great chance you’ll misuse it. Stick with the familiar.
4. Read aloud what you’ve written. You’ll discover spelling and grammar errors. You’ll realize the tone you use when you read may not automatically come through with your chosen words.
If you still aren’t sure if grammar is correct you can always try Grammarly, it is a online grammar checker that you can cut and paste your text and it will tell you if you have any problems. You may want to hone your grammar skills and checkout a grammar blog. Motivated Grammar is an exceptional resource for all things grammar. I almost cringe at mentioning Motivated Grammar because of the fear of having my own errors pointed out, but that’s the whole purpose isn’t it?
Editing your Blog can feel funny and awkward, but it always helps. When you take the time to do some blog editing you realize that you are taking the time to ensure that your work is easy to read and therefore easy for the readers to digest. The easier that they can digest your work the more likely they are to follow suit and take your advice. Blog Editing becomes a win, win for everyone!
Be aware that when you are blog editing, it requires perseverance. It demands time. It pays off. We would also be remiss if we didn’t make this clear. Whatever we say about blog editing can also be held true for other types of Social Media. As a Social Media Consultant I often see people run and hide after we are done talking and it never occurs to them to have a dictionary nearby! Blog Editing is good, all around editing is Great!
What’s your favorite tip for strengthening your work?