7 Simple and Quick Editing Tips That Will Elevate Your Writing
Guest post by Matt Banner
It doesn’t matter if you’re a New York Times bestselling author or a blogger from Kansas, everyone has to edit their work. The first draft is always a mess of disorganized thoughts and uncertain tangents. Writing begins as chaos and ends with order. It has been this way since the dawn of time.
Saving time while also polishing your work is every writer’s goal. These seven editing tips will help you achieve that goal.
Present Your Best Work with These 7 Editing Tips
When your first draft is finished and it’s time to edit, use these seven strategies to ensure that you hit all of the right literary notes and end up with a perfect final draft.
1 Eliminate Empty Filler Words
Phrases like it takes, here is, and there will be take the focus away from the nouns in your sentence. They basically combine with other filler words like who and when to pad out your sentences.
Look for phrases like these and train yourself to correct them:
- It’s fun to blog – Blogging is fun
- There are many people who blog – Many people blog
- Here are some ideas for you to try: – Some ideas for you to try are:
If you’ve already described the subject, then it’s okay to use words like here, it, and there. For example:
I love to blog. It’s a really great profession!
2 Use Strong Verbs
Look out for words that lessen the impact of what you’re saying. Try to replace these phrases with powerful and concise verbs.
- He went around the world – He traveled around the world
- Give out free items – Offer free items
- Make up a new idea – Create a new idea
3Focus on Powerful Adjectives
When you’re describing something, don’t use words like really or very. Instead, use words that get the point across confidently:
- Really gross – Disgusting
- Really great – Phenomenal
- Very large – Massive
- Very pretty – Gorgeous
Even if you cut out those two words before your adjectives, remember to focus on telling your readers what something is as opposed to what it isn’t. Take a look:
- It’s not that fun – It’s boring
- She’s not ugly – She’s gorgeous
- Blogging isn’t hard – Blogging is easy
For example, take a look at this food blogging article. Descriptive adjectives are imperative for this type of blog.
4Trim Fat from Your Phrases
People read fast these days, in most cases skimming content without reading every word. Make it easier for them by keeping your sentences short and to the point. Look at these sentences and imagine them without the bolded words. See how they read better?
- Every single person should love blogging.
- But the real issue here is people love to talk.
- You’re going to have to remove the extra words.
Nominalization is when a sentence has a weak noun where a stronger verb or adjective should be. These tend to include several other words that pad out the sentence.
- Give your blog posts a good proofread. – Proofread your posts.
- Interruptions are the cause of slow work days. – Interruptions cause slow work days.
- He has a high level of intelligence. – He is intelligent.
6 Don’t Overcomplicate Commas
Punctuation in the English language brings a lot of rules with it. Even the poor comma is subjected to countless rules and regulations. Shane Arthur over at Boost Blog Traffic has a great policy on comma usage:
Read your sentences out loud, and if they sound odd, add a comma to clarify the ideas in place. Otherwise it all runs together, and your reader has to stop to reread the sentence.
7Use Noun Modifiers
When you combine two nouns in a way that the first modifies the second, you’re using a noun modifier. They are useful because they shorten sentences. Try these out:
- Tips on blogging – Blogging Tips
- Great advice on how to boost focus – Great focus-boosting advice
- Information regarding your award – Award information
It’s easy to get swept up in the editing process, but it’s important to present your best work every time. Share your own editing tips in the comments below!
Matt Banner is the author of On Blast Blog, a website that provides easy-to-read information on how to start and grow a blog. You can follow him via twitter @blastyourblog.