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How to edit your way to an excellent article?

Updated: Jul 24

The importance of writing the content that is grammatically accurate and expresses the thoughts of the writer efficiently is undisputed. Our content can achieve enormous spread through social media and sharing. Hence, it is also crucial for a content writer to ensure that there are no syntactical and semantical mistakes in what we publish. Thankfully, there are a variety of tools available to help us ensure that we can generate content with excellent quality every time. However, in this article, we are not going to discuss the tools, but a few techniques that writers can adapt to develop their own routine to proofread and edit the content that you write. Use these proven techniques, and your content will open the doors of opportunities for you.

When to edit?

The overwhelming opinion, at least on the internet, is that one should write the first draft without worrying about corrections, proofing, and editing while doing that. Understandably, this advice comes from the thought that editing while writing may disturb the flow of ideas, and carries the burden of context switching. However, this advice may have originated when the writing was done on paper, by hand. Editing in that situation would have required the author to pay attention explicitly to identify the mistakes and correct them. It would also have involved a lot of back and forth. In such a case, it makes sense to dump the thoughts on the paper and then edit iteratively later.

Now, technology empowers writers to identify where they are going wrong in real-time. These tools identify spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, and other syntactical, obvious mistakes without you having to spend any extra, explicit efforts behind that. It is almost instantaneous to know if you have done something wrong. And most of the time, it is straightforward to correct such mistakes, even with just a single mouse click or a button push on your keyboard.

This ease of corrections has enabled a lot of accomplished writers we know of today to adopt a two-pronged approach. They perform different types of editing at different times. They correct syntactical errors, like typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, etc. while they write. But they look at the semantical problems once they have already finished the first draft. Then there are iterations of editing and correction to get the structure, flow, and emotions right.

We, however, do not expressly advocate any single technique. Every writer should find her own comfortable routine. We have known writers who apply either one of the methods, but with equally amazing results. So, to each its own.

Since syntactic corrections have become more manageable, we are going to discuss techniques for better editing from a semantical perspective.

Don't Edit Immediately After the First Draft

When you finish your draft, your brain is still in the focused mode. This mode is useful for quickly finishing the work, but not for analyzing creatively. Your perspective will invariably be influenced by what you have written. Coming back to the content after some time will put distance between you and your writing. Things are more evident when you are a little afar, and you will get a clear understanding of how your content has shaped up so far.

Find out how it sounds.

Our senses work differently, and putting all of them to work can produce better results. We put our vision to work when we read what we have written. Now, it's time to put our hearing to work.

There are two ways you should do this. First, you can put the technology to use. There are excellent text-to-speech tools available that can read out your text to you aloud. The hearing gives yet another perspective. It is especially useful for paying attention to the flow and choice of words. If it is engaging when you hear it, you know the chances of it being engaging is more when people are reading it.

Another way is to actually read out your words louder. That means we are actually employing three senses together. Vision, speech, and hearing. Reading it aloud makes a massive difference to everything, choice of words, arrangement, sentence construction, the flow of stories, characterization, as well as the meaning and take away for the readers.

Let Others Evaluate It

The ultimate validation of what you have written comes from your readers. Whether they are inclined to invest their time, efforts, and money to read what you write? Do they get any value out of it? No matter what you think, the response from readers can be very different from your expectations. Just like any other products, earlier, you can share what you write with your readers and get their feedback, greater the benefit for you. Quick and early feedback can help change course and adjust your efforts if need be. A lot of writers now keep their first drafts open and crowdsource the reviews. Such reviews help them understand the pulse of their readers.

So the next time when you write, try mixing all three, technology, senses, and people as we mentioned to help you make your content better. It might sound as if too many cooks, but then each of them bring a specific taste. Ultimately, it's you, the chef, who will need to decide how to mix the ingredients to serve the fantastic dish that you are so capable of serving. Keep writing!


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