Why I learned to love editing – and why you should too

I spent most of my university days putting off writing until the very last minute. Editing didn’t get a look in. What was messing about with a few words going to do in the long run?

I have changed. Editing is awesome (I don’t use that word often).

You need to do it when you write about your work. Editing is the way you set your words on fire. Here’s why.

 

Less is more

You’ve not got much time with your reader. You’ve got to make your words count, and that means using as few as you need. What’s easier for you to absorb:

Editing is the way to power-up your message. OR

By editing, you can create more powerful-sounding messages for readers of your website.?

It’s not often you get the clearest message out first time. Far better to look again and work out what you need to hit home.

Maybe more is more?

On the other hand… You may find that you need to spell out more clearly what you want your audience to do. When you’re writing about stuff that you know about really well, it’s easy to make assumptions about what the rest of the world knows too. I found a cool Zadie Smith quote that puts this perfectly:

The secret to editing your work is simple: you have to become its reader instead of its writer.

Editing gives you a chance to step back and look at your work the way your audience would. And they are who this is all for.

Typos are unforgivable

They look unprofessional. They look as though you don’t care very much about your work or your readers. They will drive people away. (By the way, I just had to check the spelling of ‘unforgivable’. Glad I did.)

You don’t want to sound like a robot

Unless you’re providing some cutting edge robot-tech and using some clever marketing strategy or something. People want to connect with other people. Getting a sense of you, what your work stands for, who they’ll be dealing with if they buy your idea/product/service. It’s crucial.

It’s funimages

Thinking about what you want to say and how best to say it is a game. You can try different things, see the effect they have. It’s not just the words you use, it’s the order (why do you think I’ve ordered these points the way I have? Answers on a postcard – or comment…), it’s driving your message home, it’s the picture it builds. I love it.

OK, I appreciate you might not love it too. But it’s powerful magic. Some tips on ‘how’ coming soon…

 

 

 

2 Replies to “Why I learned to love editing – and why you should too

  1. Congratulations on your BAFB win. Some months ago Sophie Lizard managed to wheedle her way into my overstuffed inbox and so far has avoided being relegated to the Gmail promotions folder and usually doesn’t get archived right away.

    Today she hooked me with her subject line “Smart or Stupid?[And did you win?]”, and there you were. I enjoyed my stroll through the Red Tree blog forest and now it’s time I got back to work (err play) editing my latest efforts.Thanks for the tips and good luck.

    1. Ha! Thanks Gary. I know what you mean about overstuffed inbox, I had a phase of subscribing to everything, but her stuff always gets read, it’s ace. Thanks for dropping by and happy working/playing to you.

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