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Many content writers will resonate with me that we do not normally produce the best copies at our first draft. In fact, the best-produced articles took us several days to research and curate before the tedious task of multiple edits. While many of us can write, some still have challenges writing well. Nevertheless, with practice, one can overcome this hurdle.
Once you have mastered the art of writing, the next skill a writer should acquire is editing skills. The editing process is the mechanics, where we ensure accuracy and consistency in our language, grammar, spelling, punctuation, structure, and usage. If you have some challenges in creating a copy that shines, here are several copy editing tips that I use. Give it a try!
Do not edit while writing. Focus on writing first before doing any editing. Pour all your thoughts and ideas into the article. You can rewrite sentences or conduct a spelling check later. Having said that, if you spot any glaring errors along the way, you can make changes as long as you do not spend too much time pondering over them.
Take a break. If you have been writing for hours, take a break. Sleep over it for a day or two or if you are working against a tight deadline, come back to it after you have taken your coffee or lunch break. Sometimes a jog or a chat with your colleague can help clear your mind. A fresh pair of eyes and refreshed body may just be the answer to a better copy outcome.
Print your copy. Printing your article on paper (and, if need be, with a bigger font) can help you edit better. The ‘pen and paper’ method has been a magic solution for me as I can detect spelling and grammar errors much more quickly with my bare eyes, than staring for long hours at a computer screen. When you read your copy line by line using a pen, you tend to pick up errors faster as well.
Use a green or red pen to edit. When you use a different colored pen to edit, you can quickly identify the words you edit compared to using a blue or black pen. Red-colored pens are the best as it stands out from the white paper and black ink.
Turn on your track changes. Turn on your ‘Track Changes’ tool on Microsoft word during your editing process. The track changes tool allows you to make any changes to the document without you losing the original copy. This process can be reversed if you change your mind about your earlier edits and helps preserve your original content.
Read aloud. When we write, we sometimes don’t realise how clumsy our sentences are. Our ideas can be written all over the place without a proper flow. We may have repeated words, wrong spelling, or unnecessary phrases. Unless you read your article, you will not realise these mistakes. Alternatively, you can also use an app to have it read back to you.
Choose your ideal setting. Editing work requires concentration. Avoid places that can distract you from giving your best. Finding an ideal setting either in one corner of the office space, your study room, or even at the quiet café may just do the trick. For me, my co-working space is my haven for my writing gigs!
Do not use bombastic words. Nothing is more pleasing to the eyes when you read with simple words and less complex sentences or language. Keep your reader’s focus with words that are easy to understand and short phrases that keep them on track. If you are stuck in finding a proper word, come back to it later, or you can consider using the thesaurus in your Microsoft Word tool to find a more suitable word.
Use a Grammar check tool. Unless you are a pro, there is no shame in using grammar check tools or spell checks to make your article shine. Always turn on your spell check took on your word processor or use Grammerly.com to check for spelling and phrases.
Get a friend to read your copy. People may consider writing as a solo effort. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Always get someone you trust to read your copy. Their feedback, suggestions, and ideas can be a big help in perfecting your pieces.
There are many other ways to edit your copy effectively. Hope these ten tuips will give you a less painful experience in editing. Tell me how it goes! At Tin Communications, we offer blogging and article writing to help you ease the pain of curating your marketing content. Drop me a note or DM me to discuss how we can help you.