By Heather Ritchie
*There are no affiliate links here. The ones included are for people or services that I have learned from or currently use. I receive no money from them.
Most people will agree that editing your writing seems like a tedious and sometimes frustrating job. I hear ya! I know it seems sometimes that no matter how careful I am, that I always seem to miss something and usually its on something that REALLY counts like a proposal to a client.
I just want to say, “Oh please that’s not a true representation of me. You’ll love my writing, I promise!” If…you…just…give…me…a…chance…too late. (ENTER SOUND OF HEAVY SIGH.) They’ve probably tossed out your hard work thinking that if you can’t get the proposal right, then you certainly can’t write for them.
Fear not! There are ways to help you with the editing process that will leave you less anxious and more confident in your writing, whether its an article, a blog post, a proposal, or something for school.
Make editing your writing easier!
Somehow, I fall in between the categories of the really organized people on one side and the total disasters on the other. Well, maybe that’s not that abnormal.
I’m VERY deadline driven though. Seriously to the point of anxiety if I know I have things on my list to do even though they may not be due for a few days. This helps me with organization, though.
No matter how busy you are, if you establish a routine, it will make editing infinitely easier. Every article or post that I write, I follow the same steps with proofreading and editing.
I’ll run spell/grammar check in Word first. Then I run Grammarly. If you don’t have Grammarly, you seriously need to get it. Even the free version. It finds things that Word’s program doesn’t. I snagged the paid version on a super sale, so sign up for the free version and watch for those sales to come up. Otherwise, it’s a little pricey.
Then I check any links that I’ve added throughout the article to make sure that none of them are broken or incorrect. Broken or improper links are NO GOOD.
Then I leave my article alone for at least several hours. This is where it helps to be driven by deadlines and be organized. You have to plan in advance to leave yourself time for this step.
I usually will write a piece and perform all of the steps above, then I leave it overnight. This allows you to come back and look at your piece with fresh eyes. You’re more likely to pick up awkward sentences and places that need to be re-worded when you come back to a piece later.
Perhaps I should have saved this for last, but so far it has been critical to my success because it saves me time. I had Evernote for a lonnnnnnngggg time but never really used it. This was because I didn’t really understand how it worked and as a result, how it could help me.
Charles Byrd changed that and opened my mind up to the whole wide world of Evernote and its capabilities. Mind blowing to say the least. If you are like me and become frustrates when trying to figure out which organization method works best for you, sign up for his news letter and he will send out information on a free webinar that he does that gives you the basics of Evernote and how it can work for you.
I couldn’t afford to take his full class. so I looked for someone with a good reputation that taught a class on Udemy and this actually showed me that Evernote was definitely for me.
Education is great, just don’t overdo it!
And what I mean when I say “if you don’t know which method works best for you” is that I love to overeducate myself and sometimes too much information can be worse than not enough. It paralyzes me, and I spin my wheels trying to learn more about what works for other people instead of just jumping in and trying a system. Believe me.
Everyone has their perfect information management system out there. Mine just happens to be Evernote and one major reason is the fact that you can access all of your information on your phone, online, and on your computer. You can label and tag things, so they are EASY to find. How often do you find yourself looking through emails for something? Maybe its pictures for an article or information about a contact. Even personal budgeting information. I can’t tell you how many minutes in a day I’ve wasted looking for one document or another.
Take a look at Evernote.
Other suggestions are Trello and Excel worksheets and sometimes I actually use both of these still for things like managing blog content or making a spreadsheet to keep up with the articles I’ve submitted for payment and those that have been paid.
Step Away from It (Repetitive I know but SO important.)—AND—Don’t stop writing your first draft to edit every 5 seconds.
As I mentioned before, I have a routine and I stick to it. Each article or blog post that I edit I do the same things in the same order so that I don’t neglect to check links, grammar, spelling, etc. Most important for me is that I completely step away from it after I write it.
Get your first draft on paper then leave it alone, at least for a few hours. If you are writing your first draft like you should be, you are just writing your piece without stopping to edit.
Do you ever wonder, “what was I thinking when I wrote that sentence??” HAHA it’s okay if you do. It’s a sign that you’re writing the first draft as you should, without editing as you go!
It’s tempting I know, but constantly stopping to edit a rough draft can cripple your creativity and cause writer’s block to set in! Then you become frazzled and your editing process will suffer as a result. So, make editing your writing easier!
Just. Step. Away. Say it with me!
Don’t. Stop. To. Edit. Every. 5. Seconds. Say it with me!
If you want something to become routine, repeat, repeat, repeat and before you know it, it’s like second nature.
I purposely kept this brief so as not to overwhelm you. Even if you just apply one of these ideas you will be well on your way to editing more efficiently, and let’s face it, anything to make our life easier helps, right?!
Don’t get discouraged if these ideas don’t work for you. Maybe it will spark and an idea that you can adapt for your projects and sometimes you need to try things more than once to see true results.
If you have any questions, any questions at all, hop on down to the contact box and shoot me a message. I’ll be glad to help any way that I can!