Pobody’s nerfect: the value of editing your writing

Value of editing

Pobody’s nerfect: the value of editing your writing

Imagine if we never proofread or edited what we wrote. The sheer number of typos, mistakes, and nonsensical writing that would exist would be staggering. Imagine if you submitted work the second you finished typing it up - would the result be readable, clear, or effective? Probably not.

The initial writing and putting of pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard - is only half the battle. It’s editing that takes us over the finish line. Whether it’s proofreading your own work for silly mistakes or having an editor tweak your finished product, it’s only after editing that writing becomes its most accurate, effective, and evocative.

Remove easy mistakes

Let’s take a moment to clarify the difference between editing and proofreading, because, believe it or not, they are different. Proofreading is surface level - the spelling errors, the missed commas. Editing, on the other hand, is deeper; it involves changing entire sentences, adjusting the overall tone, and improving readability.

The most basic way to edit your own work is to proofread. Whether you’re sending an email, writing a blog post, or finally finishing that book, you should always read your work before sending it on. 

If your business communications are full of silly mistakes, you aren’t going to appear very professional or as someone worth doing business with. Similarly, if your business’s website or blog posts contain obvious errors, your audience may doubt your professionalism or skill set. 

An extra few minutes is all it takes to wipe out any typos, spelling mistakes, incomplete sentences, or grammatical errors. There are even websites that can proofread the majority of it for you, so there’s no excuse.

If someone else edits your work, you make their job that little bit easier by removing the glaring, obvious mistakes. Then they’re able to get straight on to making important edits with the tone, content, and more complex grammar. 

Improve clarity

When you initially finish writing, what’s on the page will likely be a brain dump of information without much direction or clarity. You’ve got all your thoughts out and now it’s time to make sense of it. By rereading and editing, you define your writing’s purpose. You make it a more easy, enjoyable read.

Research suggests that 55% of online readers spend less than 15 seconds on a page. You don’t want your audience to spend this time struggling to understand what’s being said. Instead, you want the text to be clear, concise, and convey its message well. If you’re expecting people to take something away from your writing, or for it to encourage a response, why not make their job a little easier?

Try and get some distance from your writing before you get down to editing it. If you’ve been poring over something for hours, days, or weeks on end, you’re going to know it like the back of your hand and skim when you read it. If you allow yourself some time to forget, it’ll be much easier to edit, and the finished product will be a lot more effective.

When working on your writing’s readability, it can be useful to hear the piece aloud. You’re able to hear how it flows, how the sentences fit together, and where the pauses are. You can either read it yourself or there are websites which will recite a body of text back to you.

Get an outside opinion

At Coster Content, we have an editor who reads through everything we write before it goes anywhere (hope there aren’t too many mistakes in this one, Sam! ;)) 

The benefit of bringing someone else in to edit your work is you get an outside opinion. There’s a tendency for us to get an attachment to our own work. If there’s a paragraph or whole piece you’re particularly proud of, you might be blind to how it could be made even better.

Editing someone else’s work is also a lot easier than editing your own. An outside editor is impartial and able to maintain a detachment from the writing. They’ll notice things you can’t and can be brutally honest where necessary.

Writing without editing is a bit like eating a five-star meal with terrible presentation. You won’t be putting yourself or your writing forward in the best light. Any effort you’ve made will be wasted. Silly mistakes will distract your audience, or deter them from listening to what you have to say. Through the editing process, you can remove any obvious mistakes, make your writing more clear and concise, and potentially bring in help from a grammar expert.

At Coster Content, clear, effective content is what we do best. Whether you want our team to write your content for you, help with writing better, or a head start in a content writing career, we’ve got you. If you have any questions or think our services could help, get in touch on 0161 413 8418.

Alia CosterComment