We all wear many hats when we run our own online space; we're writers, social media marketers, photographers, designers, and much more. How we edit our blog posts can play a huge part in the quality of our content, though since most of us left school many years ago staying on top of our grammar game isn't always as easy as it sounds. Mistakes happen and that's where proof reading comes in. If you're a one woman band taking the online world by storm, learning to be your own copy editor will probably come in very useful along the way.
Building copy editing into your process and routine is your best option; if you get into the habit of not letting a post go live until it's been thoroughly edited then mistakes will be far and few between. I'm not perfect, I'll still cringe a few days later when I see a silly mistake on a post I've published but I always try and make sure I'm editing as best as I can. Copy editing is way more than just grammar and spelling though. It's also about correcting any jargon or terminology and making sure your written content flows and fits the style of where it's being published. If you're doing this solo and struggling to create a good editing routine, today I'm sharing my best advice for being your own copy editor and making the process as streamlined and fuss free as possible.
Make the time for editing First and foremost, building time into your routine for editing is the most important step you can take. Preparing your post a few days before it's set to go live means you can come back to it with fresh eyes and spot any mistakes and areas in need of improvement. More than just grammar, sometimes I find that a sentence just doesn't flow properly or that I've missed out a few words and the piece needs a little adjusting before it's ready to be published. Putting aside enough time to proof read and edit your posts means that it will start to become part of your content creation routine, and like with everything else in life, the more you do it the better you get.
Brush up on your grammar skills The last time I studied English was back when I was in college (and that was Literature - the last time I studied English Language was way back in high school) so there are many areas of grammar, syntax, and semantics that I need to brush up on. I'm always Googling to double check a word or phrase, and the more I learn, the more I retain which helps in the long run. There's no shame in not feeling as clued up as you think you should. Sometimes I shudder at how much editing I have to do on a piece before it's ready to go live, as there really is nothing that a quick Google search can't help with. Kenzie's The Writer's Guide series is also super helpful for brushing up on your skills.
Find a buddy Most of us create our blogs in solitude; at times I really love the complete freedom I have with my online space, but at other times I wish there was a team around me to bounce ideas off and ask for advice. I'm super lucky in that my other half Alex usually comes on board throughout the week as my copy editing buddy. I'm always asking him to read through my posts and get his opinion, to check if the purpose of the piece is expressed clearly, and of course as an extra pair of eyes for any grammar and spelling mistakes. If copy editing solo is a little stressful for you, if there's someone you can turn to for some extra support I'd really recommend it.
If you're really struggling to find your feet when it comes to editing your posts, the best advice I can share is:
- Take a step back before editing so you can revisit it with fresh eyes.
- Slow proofread - take the time to really pick up any typos and mistakes.
- Put your editor hat on; be okay deleting anything that doesn't fit and make your number one priority creating the best piece possible.
- Read out loud to get a better feel for the piece.
- Edit in a different font (this really helps to spot any mistakes you might have missed)
- Let the internet help - there are tons of useful grammar and spellcheckers out there.
- Know your purpose and your audience; assess who the post is for and if it's reached its intended goal.
Do you ever struggle with being your own copy editor?
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