You’ve had a flash of inspiration and put your idea into words. On your computer screen sits your next blog post. But first-rate writing doesn’t occur in the first draft. Your next job is to edit your work into a punchy piece of blog gold.
To use a tailoring analogy, think of your first draft as the cloth. Getting your idea onto your screen in all its ungrammatical glory is like assembling your material. You have chosen the texture and color of the cloth; the subject and tone of your post. What you have written in a flurry of creativity must now be cut and stitched.
Make no mistake, the hardest work lies in the editing. This is where you are going to shape your cloth into a wearable garment. Your lifeless piece of fabric (your rambling and unintelligible musing) is going to be transformed into a couture suit (a top-notch blog post).
Get your scissors. Metaphorically speaking these are your cut and paste functions. Not to forget the best editing tool of all, the delete key.
1. Aim to cut at least 10% of your text. You can’t make a good suit without leaving plenty of off-cuts. If you have written a 400 word post, try to get the word count nearer 350.
Delete all that is not to the point. Think of your well-tailored suit. There are no frills, flounces or bits that don’t belong. Be ruthless.
2. Recognize when an idea or sentence does not fit your post; a scrap of fabric that doesn’t match the rest of your suit. There may be nothing wrong with the sentence or idea itself. It simply doesn’t belong in that particular article. Cut it.
3. Cut long sentences (over 30 words) into two shorter sentences. The same goes for long paragraphs. Keep your paragraphs to no more than 80 words. That’s between 3 and 5 sentences.
4. Banish all adverbs. Find one strong verb that will do the job of a common verb and adverb. For example,
Fervently take out adverbs to bring your post vigorously to life
Annihilate adverbs to energize your post.
5. Include strong verbs, they add movement and impact. Use an online thesaurus to help you find the right verb. But be wary here and don’t get carried away with fancy-sounding words. Stay focused and look for the verb which best describes the action.
6. Delete all unnecessary words like just, actually, really and very. They weaken your writing and make it drag.
Actually, if you just edit your post it really will fizz.
Edit your post and it will fizz.
See? More punch.
7. Delete all exclamation marks! They will make you sound like an over-excited puppy! And reduce any impact your writing has! And become exhausting!
8. Above all, edit your post for your reader. It is your reader that will be wearing that well-cut suit.
Over to you…
Do you write for or manage a blog? Are you a ruthless editor or an anything goes type of person? What tips can you add to the above? Share your wisdom…