I will preface this post by saying that it’s become a goal for me as a writer and editor over here at IFB to start limiting most of my posts to 500 words or under. In a very meta move, I will now attempt to do that in this post… about editing.
Self-editing is one of the most challenging parts of writing, but also one of the most rewarding. A concise, well-written post gets to the point and entertains the audience in perfect harmony. It’s not easy, but feedback from your readers will give you a good idea of what kind of content (and how much) they want, so let your stats act as your editorial assistant.
To get you started, keep these ideas in mind when editing your content:
Avoid writing a novel.
I’m sure I won’t be the first to tell you that just because someone can write a lot, doesn’t mean they can write well. Being able to prattle on and on about something isn’t always entertaining, it’s often excruciatingly boring. Blogging was always intended to be a short-form publishing platform, so keep that in mind with your posts. Avoid run-on sentences, and keep an eye out for repetitive phrases.
Watch your word choice.
Many blogs focus on being heavily image-driven, but your words can be an incredibly powerful selling point as well. Choose wisely and choose creatively! Consult a thesaurus (or our thesaurus) to give your text vibrancy and spice.
Break up your sentences and paragraphs.
Blog readers have notoriously short attention spans, so don’t expect them to hang around long if you present them with a gigantic blob of text. Readers love punchy, quick ideas and sentences that are easy to process and then move on. Keep your paragraphs down to two or three sentences – and break up text with images.
Am I right? It’s so dry and boring, and fixing it can feel unimportant and tedious. However, even if you’re not the most prolific and genius writer in the blogosphere, sentences and phrases that read correctly will put you ahead of the game. I know it sounds dry, but use capitalization and build your content around full sentences. Watch your commas and apostrophes. Lastly, watch for these common grammar errors.
Get to the point.
Say what you’re going to say, and say it with succinct creativity. What I mean is – have fun with your writing, be silly, be inventive – but don’t lose yourself in the wordplay. Tell your readers the who, what, when, where (wear), and why.
Boom. 445 words!