If you are like most bloggers I know, you try to write your blogs well the first time so you won’t need to spend a lot of time going over it again to edit it. But if you hurry too much, you could leave your readers in the mud.
I have recently begun the monumental journey to edit a full-length book. Sometimes it feels like I have an avalanche of paper in front of me just waiting to for me to chip away at it piece by piece. So I get it, editing is hard.
It is so much easier to whip your thoughts down once, scan for typos, and call it good. You got your point across somewhere in there, right?
But have you ever gone back to read your blogs later? This is a habit of mine. When someone comments on my blog, I usually end up going back and re-reading the whole post to understand what they are saying.
You know what I find? Errors. Mistakes. Things I could have said more clearly, or ways I could have better explained a point. They aren’t typos, usually. Instead they are imperfections in my craft as a writer. Sometimes I go back and edit my blog posts, other times not, but they always leave me wondering if my readers really understood what I meant.
That is why I recommend editing your blog using a 3 step process:
1. Read It Through.
After you are done writing and have added your catchy signature, go back and read it through to make sure the thoughts in your head made it onto the screen.
2. Preview Your Post.
Most blog writing software, from WordPress to Google Blogger, lets you preview your post to make sure it looks right on the page. While you are there read everything again. The different setting and formatting will help you see errors you may have missed on the edit screen.
3. Walk Away, Then Read It Again.
Have you ever read something the same way three times just to come back to it later and see it was wrong all along? Your brain will read what it thinks is there – what you meant to write – instead of what is actually on the screen.
Before you click publish, walk away. Read some email, or go to the bathroom. Engage your brain on something else. Then you can come back and read it one last time with new eyes to make sure everything is as it should be.
All that reading may feel redundant to edit a blog, but if you really want to make your point clearly to the readers, you have to make sure you are reading it like one of them – without your professional hat on, and without making assumptions about what you actually wrote. By reading, previewing, and then walking away, you can distance yourself enough from the text to read like a potential client, instead of a busy professional.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist. She helps attorneys and small businesses create a professional, well written web presence to bring customers to their door. If you need help editing your writing, contact Legal Linguist today to set up a meeting.