Editing your own work – BLAH! Who likes doing this? Frustrating, tedious, and half the time you miss the edits that need to be made. As a solopreneur with a copywriting business, it is crucial that I am able to properly edit the content I develop for my clients…with an extremely critical eye! After all, I can’t be sending copy with spelling errors and grammar hiccups, now can I? Fortunately, I’ve found five self-editing techniques that help me send awesome copy to my clients. (Did I mention that I am a humble being?)
5 Self-Editing Tricks to Help Make Your Copy Awesome!
1) Write your first draft and walk away!
That’s right, simply write it and walk away for a MINIMUM OF 24 HOURS. This will allow you to come back to your copy with a fresh eye, ready to see any spelling errors, awkward sentences, mismatched tenses and tones, and so much more!
2) Have a list of commonly mistaken word versions in your line of sight
Sometimes when you’re writing so fast, your brain forgets which version of a word to use. I am notorious for doing this – especially with your and you’re. What to do? Keep a there/their/they’re, were/we’re/where, two/too/to, your/you’re list in your line of vision when editing. By having this list beside you, there is a subtle way for you to remind yourself to use the proper tense. An remember that whatever you do:
DO NOT RELY ON SPELLCHECK OR GRAMMAR CHECK TO PICK UP THAT YOUR VERSION IS INCORRECT!!
3) Read your content out loud…slowly
This is best to do when you are alone…unless you are keen to have people overhear your reading voice. To each their own!
Start from the beginning and read through your content slowly. By slowing down the speed you read, you will be able to focus on each word, gaining a better understanding of whether or not it fits in the sentence. If it is awkward to read out loud, it’s awkward period. Switch the sentence around, find a better word choice, or delete it altogether if it isn’t adding anything to the content.
4) Read your content backwards (from end to beginning…not each word backwards or sdrawkcab)
Just as reading your content out loud and slowly, by starting at the end of the content, you’ll be able to break the flow that you originally wrote the content in. This will allow you to turn off any auto-pilot reading and focus on the content in front of you, rather than the content you thought you wrote. Breaking your reading pattern is one of the best ways to make sure your content is strong and focused on the topic at hand.
5) Make your own style guide
I often work with companies that have their own style guides, ensuring that all the copy I write for them is consistent from document to document. If your company does not have a style guide, develop your own to ensure that you keep a consistent style throughout the content you are currently working on. This will help keep your formats, grammar, bullet styles, etc. consistent throughout, making the piece easier for the reader to read.
Naturally, the best way to have your content edited is to have someone else read. However, this is not always a luxury for everyone. SOOOOO – when in doubt, follow the above five tricks and you’ll be sending out great content that will have your readers saying, “Wow, that was awesome!” rather than having them focus on spelling and grammar errors!