Editing: Your Path to Divinity (and Divine Writing)

Prewriting ✓     Drafting ✓     Revising ✓

Don’t put down the red pen yet. Now, it’s time to edit.

Edit your writing!

Editing is messy work, but the results are worth it!

Wait, didn’t we just do that? No, we revised our writing. Revising and editing go hand-in-hand, but they focus on different results. While revising makes your work sound good, editing makes your work look good. In the world of writing, both are necessary.

We’ve heard it all before: spelling, punctuation and grammar are important. Blah, blah, blah… But before you file away this grade school knowledge, consider this: grammar, spelling and punctuation can be the difference between your writing being read or not. Why?

  1. Proper punctuation and structure help tell your story. New sentences, paragraph breaks and choosing a hyphen over a comma (or vice versa) help the reader navigate your road map to your point. Imagine trying to read a blog post with no punctuation — one long block of text with no signs where to pause, stop or anticipate a new idea.
  2. With every missing comma or spelling error, you’re asking your audience not to take you seriously. People are interested in what you have to say because they think you know what you’re talking about. But that’s only half the battle; presenting your knowledge is just as important as having it.
  3. Spelling, punctuation and grammar make you look polished, which is important if you’re trying to present a professional image. Stand out from the crowd in a positive way by dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s (and knowing the difference between a hyphen and a dash.

So the next time you’re in a rush and tempted to go straight from writing (step 2) to publishing (step 5), remember Stephen King’s words of wisdom. “To write is human, to edit is divine.”

Sound Off on Editing

What mistake do you always catch in editing?

Do you prefer to edit on screen or on paper?

Share your favorite editing advice below!

If you’re too busy with what you do, we’d love to help you edit your work. Contact us so we can discuss your writing-related project or answer your questions. We may not be all-knowing, but we are here to help. 🙂

Your Editor-in-Chief,
Jaime

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The Power of the (Red) Pen

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”  -Stephen King

When I was in school, there was nothing I hated more than the red pen. Teachers would use it to correct mistakes on your paper and make suggestions. As a perfectionist, I attributed any red marks to failure, which was not high on my to-do list. As much as I hated the red pen, I now understand its importance.

Revise, revise, revise!

Maybe I still haven’t gotten over the sting of the red pen in school. I use black, even for revisions.

The basic writing process has five steps: prewriting (thinking/outlining), writing, revising (rewriting), editing and publishing. Did you notice that 40% of the writing process is dedicated to revising and editing? That’s why, in my humble opinion, it’s the most important aspect of writing. All of the steps are necessary, but not doing a proper job of revising and editing your work will turn readers away. Have you ever read an article that goes on forever — well past its point? Or a blog post saddled with poor grammar and spelling errors? It’s enough to make me walk away.

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” -Stephen King

What makes me want to read your work (and others too)?

  • Revise, revise and revise some more. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Strong punctuation and grammar. A lack of one or both makes reading difficult.
  • White space (especially on screen). Use short paragraphs, quotes, images and lists for easier reading.
  • Reduce your adverb dependency. These suckers lead to passive writing and empty word use.
  • A clear point. What are you trying to say?

“The biggest illusion about communication is that it’s taking place.”  -George Bernard Shaw

Yes, rules are made to be broken, but you have to know the rules first. The more that you know (and follow) the “rules” of writing, the easier your writing will be to read. So what are these rules? They differ depending on who you talk to or what you’re writing, but Mr. King’s Top 20 Rules For Writers are a great place to start.

More people are expected to write today than ever before (social media, blogging, etc.), and some just aren’t comfortable with it. I hope this post and upcoming series on the writing process will help. (p.s. Fellow writers, feel free to chime in along the way!)

Of course, I love writing. If you don’t, let me know. I’d be happy to help.

FREE Download –> The Power of the Pen: 5 Steps to Writing That Produces Results

Reader Feedback

What are your most important rules of writing?

Is there a rule that you routinely break?

When did you start writing?

Who’s your favorite writer?

A writer at heart,
Jaime

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