How to Edit Effectively and Quickly

The process I follow, when editing my articles.

Editing is a difficult part of writing, but an essential one. It is the part of writing I dislike the most.

My advice to writers publishing a large piece of work, such as a novel, is to hire a professional.

Months of working on one piece of work can do strange things to your mind. Words you read are what you think should be there, not what is there. Hiring a second person helps overcome this.

It may cost a little extra, but the gain in the long term with increased sales makes it worth it.

I edited my first children’s book and there are mistakes. I should have hired an editor, but funds were tight. For my second novel, I have learnt from my mistakes. I will be hiring an editor.

To hire an editor for every post you write, would be slow and expensive. For blogging, we need to rely on our skills.

Once you have written your post, let it sit for a day or two.

Re-Read

The first process is reading back through your original draft. Start by correcting any parts, that don’t flow. Are there any areas and arguments that you can develop further? Do your paragraphs flow and answer all questions asked? Are there areas where you can break paragraphs down into smaller chunks?

With all blogging, white space is your friend. Use as much space as you can. The best is 4–5 sentences per paragraph. Take out anything that isn’t essential to the post.

Flow of the Article

Next copy and paste the article into a website called Hemingway Editor. Hemingway Editor is brilliant for looking at sentences that are too long and don’t flow. It will suggest areas where simpler words can be used. It will also show if you have used too many adverbs or too much passive voice.

Look through the options, that Hemingway suggests, but remember this is your post. If it doesn’t feel right to change, then stick to your original ideas.

Grammar and Spelling

Then copy and paste the writing, into a website called Grammarly. I use the free version but have been considering upgrading. Grammarly will look for the majority of grammar issues.

Again look at the changes it suggests and don’t go for every suggestion.

Final Read Through

Your final task is to read the post through, once more, this time out loud. When you do this you can hear where the post fails to flow. You may also pick up any wrong word use. To further enhance this process, I paste the post into a text reader and allow someone else to read my work to me.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to carry out the final check on formatting.

Now hit publish.

Editing is a time-consuming process, but essential to all pieces of work. As we write our first draft our brain downloads onto the paper. There will be problems with grammar and spelling. We are too busy creating ideas to worry about the technical aspects of writing. By following this simple five-step process you can edit effectively and quickly.

  1. Re-read
  2. Hemingway Editor
  3. Grammar and Spelling
  4. Final Read Through — Out loud
  5. Check formatting and publish.

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