We’d all like to think that our thoughts transfer from our brains to the keyboard in precise, punchy, perfect prose — but anything we write benefits from a once-over (or twice, or thrice-over). When editing, we clarify specific sentences and hone our overall message.
A key step in editing eliminates unnecessary words. Unnecessary words drag your writing down; since they don’t contribute to your message, they throw a roadblock between your thoughts and the reader. Finding and nixing them moves readers from “Hmm, this seems interesting!” to “Genius!” that much faster. One simple way to do this? Vigilance against weak “be” verbs.
While blogs are great places to toss up quick thoughts, lots of bloggers also use their sites to showcase in-depth posts — take a look at the WPlongform topic in the Reader, and you’ll find everything from personal essays to meticulously researched academic papers. Longer-form pieces give you the opportunity to fully flesh out a thought, exploring all the nuances, but they can be challenging to write; often, the longer length seems like an opportunity to include every related idea, until you’re left with a precarious pile of content that doesn’t quite jive.
Okay, maybe that’s just me. But on the chance that it’s you, too — or if you’re new to longer-form writing and want a little guidance — one of my favorite ways to stay focused is that old elementary school standby, the five-paragraph essay. It’s not for every post, subject, or writer, but it can be a helpful tool for organizing your thoughts.
There’s a tedious but necessary final step before hitting “publish”: proofreading. If you’re anything like me, proofreading is the antithesis of writing, cruelly shunting you from an intuitive, creative flow to the much-less-fulfilling world of misplaced commas and accidental their/there/they’re confusion.
Still, it’s gotta be done; an error dulls the shine from the most sparkling prose, and even personal, stream-of-consciousness posts benefit from good copyediting. Try these three steps to become your own best editor:
If you missed the announcement of our widget visibility feature over on en.blog.wordpress.com, we wanted to let you know you’ve got a handy new tool in the widgets section to control the visibility of each widget. You can show or hide a widget based on rules you set.
Want to see how it works and learn to use it creatively? Head to Appearance » Widgets in your dashboard and we’ll get started!