Editing your own content is far from an easy task. For many, sore eyes, a numb mind, and words blurred together are common side effects of refining content. Having written and edited a lot of copy in our time, editing original content is no foreign language for the team at Elite Words.
Here are our top tips for editing original content…
Write first, then edit
As a writer, there’s nothing worse than sitting in front of a screen with an idle cursor, not knowing what to type. Trying to produce a perfectly polished piece of copy in one sitting will overwhelm you. That’s why we recommend writing a first, rough draft. In this draft, you should focus on channelling your thoughts and putting them onto paper (or a word document) without worrying about editing. Refining comes later.
We tend to skim over our copy too quickly when reading it in our head. Reading aloud helps us pick up on awkward syntax, tense errors, and overall flow. When reading aloud, follow along with your finger, pointing to each word as you read it. This will help you identify what needs revising.
Economise your words
First drafts are notoriously wordier than final copies. We are often confronted with clunky clauses, unnecessary phrases and passive wording. Not sure which words and phrases you should cut? Here are some examples of common but unnecessary sentence fillers:
- in order
- at all times
- in the process of
- in regards to
- during the course of
- point in time
- as a matter of fact
- as far as I’m concerned
- each and every
- desirable benefits
- totally, completely, utterly, literally
- definitely, virtually, actually.
Concentrate on saying more with less. Every word must drive the copy. If you can convey your point without a word, cut it. Economising your words will make your copy a delight to read.
Print out your work
Being in front of a bright computer screen can be disorientating. Holding a physical copy of your work will make it easier for you to identify spelling mistakes, clunky sentences, and overused words.
Have other people read your work
Studies show that we often miss typos in our own copy because we know the meaning we want to convey. That’s why it’s helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes read over our work. People reading our work for the first time won’t know our piece and will pay greater attention to details like spelling. Having someone else read our copy also gives us a reality check on how our audience will receive it. Remember, our audience is the reason our copy exists. So, we need to edit content with our audience in mind.
Take a break
When we believe in what we’re doing and want to do our best, it’s easy to overthink. But working ourselves into a panic won’t improve our content. Sometimes the best thing we can do is take a break. Walk outside, make a cup of tea, or pat your pet. There are many studies detailing the benefits of breaks. Separation from our editing gives our mind space to breathe. Think of taking a break like simmering a pot of soup. A soup needs time for the flavours to mature, just like our ideas. You might surprise yourself with what you can do to your copy when you return with fresh eyes!
Great writing doesn’t just happen. It takes practice, and we learn through our mistakes.
If you’re struggling to edit your content, Elite Words has your back. We can help you refine your copy to a professional standard, saving you sweat and tears. Writing and editing are what we do best. So, you can rest assured that you’ll be in capable hands when working with us.
Contact us today! We love helping people achieve their goals through the power of words.