Have you ever read a blog that was written by someone who, though they had an interesting piece of writing, fell short in the spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation department? Perhaps you read a story that didn't quite make sense, as the events were not listed in an orderly manner or the details were unclear.
Of course, none of us are perfect, and from time to time, I do reread old posts on my blog and cringe when I find a glaring error. However, in this case, I'm not talking about the occasional mistake; I'm talking about errors that happen so frequently within a single piece of writing that they are a distraction, and can feel mentally painful to read! I've actually unsubscribed from a couple of blogs that were making me frustrated every time I visited them!
You definitely don't want your readers to feel this way. There are several ways you can improve the editing and revision processes of your writing. First of all, understand that editing involves the brick and mortar of writing: spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Editing is what makes the writing "sound and look right" when you read it. Revision is the decorating of your piece: deleting or adding material to make it clear, interesting, and sequential. Revision is what makes your writing "interesting and make sense" to read; it literally means "to look again."
After you have written your post, don't publish it just yet. Reread it to see if it makes sense. Is it too wordy? Not detailed enough? Does it flow or do the sentences sound jerky and unrelated? As you address these issues, you will develop your own style of writing that sets you apart from others. Thesaurus.com is especially helpful if I can't remember a word I wish to use or if I'm struggling not to repeat the same words too frequently in my post.
Next, use the spell check to scan for errors. Don't rely only on spell check, however. While it may find the basic spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes, it is only a computer program and doesn't catch everything. I often write with a tab open at Dictionary.com to make sure that I'm spelling correctly and also using the correct word in a sentence.
Another useful resource is Daily Writing Tips, a blog by Maeve Maddox. It covers spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, popular expressions, misused words, writing basics, and much more! I especially appreciate her free, downloadable eBook, Basic English Grammar.
After I've revised and edited my writing, I'll read it aloud. Then I'll publish it and read it again. For some reason, my eyes will catch things I missed when the post was in draft mode after I read it published on my blog!
Don't forget that good writing skills, both in content and structure, will cause both your regular and new readers to return in the future!
Other posts in this series:
Part One: Get Listed
Part Two: Participate
Part Three: Comment and Allow Comments
Part Four: Create a Profile
Part Five: Join Social Networking Sites
Part Six: The Redux
Part Eight: Learn
Part Nine: Bookmarks, Feeds, and Subscriptions