The A-2-Z of business blog writing: E is for Editing

HTWB knifeEditing is a topic writers (and editors, natch) have been arguing about for decades, if not centuries.

Writers often say that (nonfiction, especially) editors are ruthless butchers who shred good writing right down to its knickers … and impose all kinds of their own suppositions on someone else’s stuff, so nixing all creativity on the author’s part and turning the text into robot-speak nonsense.

Nonfiction editors often say that writers think they can bore readers with their elaborately and painfully long expositions of their own thoughts when in fact all readers want to know is the facts without the bullsh*t, especially if it is long-winded.

Both are right, but both can be wrong, too.

When it comes to business blog writing, we bloggers in 99 percent of cases do not have ruthless and unsympathetic editors breathing down our necks which is a mercy. But … this means we need to learn how to be our own editors, to make sure we don’t write bullsh*t and/or any more text than our readers need and want to know.

Guidelines on editing

Where blog posts are concerned, you need really to focus on the following points once you have written your first draft. Ask yourself the following questions:

**Does it grab your readers by the throat in the first sentence or two? If not, it should

**Does it get to the point reasonably quickly, or does it waffle? If the latter, chill – a little waffle is OK amongst friends – but make sure you make some useful points pretty soon

**Are there any spelling, grammar, syntax or other goofs in it? Correct them. Now. These make you look unprofessional

**Does it conclude with a relevant “call to action?” Don’t let it just dribble off – tell your readers what you’d like them to do next even if it’s just to check out a website or comment on what you’ve just written about

Some other editing help

Other articles on here will give you some detailed tips on editing depending on what your exact needs are … for example:

Never mind how to write: learn how to edit

Editing – chop until you drop?

The secrets of how to edit your own business writing

Editing: why you may need professional help

Good luck! (And don’t be afraid to prune your writing hard … usually it’s a benefit!)

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is coming soon)…

photo credit: Aurimas Adomavicius via photopin cc

Comments

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Thoughts

  1. Great tips here thank you. I usually write the post, walk away from it, and read it again, making whatever changes I think it needs before posting. Before I started blogging, I wrote a couple of books on meditation. I wrote the books in about 3 days, but then I spent the next month editing it. Sometimes the editing is harder than the actual writing!

    • I would agree with you there, Andrea. Editing is hard, especially as it can make you feel like you’re cutting off your own fingers when you chop out a lovingly-crafted sentence that doesn’t add anything to the narrative!

  2. Editing’s always the hardest part…very often I’ll draft a blog post, save it, then rewrite before I actually publish. You can’t really expect to be taken seriously as a blogger unless you’re prepared to put the work into making good copy…

  3. You’re absolutely right Katherine. It makes me angry when I see advice from so-called blogging “experts” telling us how to rattle off batches of blog posts in less than no time. Blog posts represent us, our personalities and our professionalism, and must reflect those qualities without fail.

  4. I find it helps to keep my posts down to around 500 words! No room for too much extraneous BS 😉

  5. Hey Suzan! Awesome series (I didn’t know about it till now). Editing is very crucial. I usually write my posts and allow it a day or two to come back to it and edit. When I come back the next day, I usually have fresh eyes on it and I can look at the post with a critical eye and spot errors. When I look at the post on the same day, I am usually blind. I don’t know if its just me 🙂

    Thanks for the tips!

    • No, it’s certainly not just you Jane – in fact what you describe is what I teach people in my workshops. Even if you only have time to leave your post for half-an-hour, that’s better than nothing.

      Overnight is ideal though because it’s long enough for your right brain and left brain to have had a chat about it, but not so long that they have forgotten about the topic! And no matter how pleased we are with what we have written at the time, after an interval we will always find a few ways to make it even better … sharper, crisper, more to the point.

      Thanks for sharing and stay tuned… there’s lots more blog writing advice to come…

Trackbacks

  1. […] and some fly in the face of conventional wisdom on the subject (even, on occasion, going against Suze’s advice!). Not all will apply to you, your website or blog, but they might just make you think differently […]

  2. […] find more about editing your writing here, and here…good […]

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