Searching for information should not resemble panning for gold. Readers don’t want to wade through verbose sections of text to find the golden nuggets of information and won’t when more information is readily available.
Stop wasting your efforts with the “won’t” audiences! After all, what’s the point in writing articles if your articles aren’t read? Get readers engaged in your articles by ensuring only the key information makes the cut.
Take a Step Back
Revising and proofreading are critical steps in writing and growing as an Expert Author. Revising is a hard step for many and it’s often skipped. I get it – you’re close (sometimes too close) to your articles. You’ve raised it word-for-word and now you’re being asked to gut it, tear it apart, and then serve the best parts to your audience. The whole process can be scary, exhilarating, frustrating, and intense.
Change your mind and think of it like this: Writing is very forgiving. It’s flexible and loves all of the attention you can give it, including ruthless editing. At the end of the day, you and your readers should be satisfied with your articles. Use these steps to achieve this satisfaction.
Gut Your Article with these 5 Steps
1. Gut it.
Be ruthless by cutting sentences or even entire paragraphs. Use the – 10% rule: If you’ve written 1,000 words, then do everything in your power to bring it down to 900 words. Experiment by “setting aside” or cutting an entire paragraph of content and consider whether the article would make sense without it.
2. Remold it.
Try a different format. Would a list be more effective in conveying your message and organizing your thoughts? Would bulleted headers help you compartmentalize your information? Make it easy for readers by ensuring they can clearly identify the key points of your article.
3. Trim it.
Repetition can be helpful, but it’s tedious and often obnoxious to read. Remove repetitive content and check for message-weakening conjunctions like “yet,” “so,” etc. Simplify your key points to the most direct statements by choosing active voice over passive voice.
4. Revise it.
This stage is your final revision process and should not require extensive changes. Simply make sure your article answers all of your reader’s questions regarding your topic, the article flows with ease, and isn’t missing any key elements that may have been overlooked in the previous steps. Tweak as needed.
5. Proofread it.
This step should always be saved for last and never skipped: proofread your article for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. If you really want to take your revisions up a notch (highly recommended), then try this 10-step proofreading checklist.
Do you have to use all of the above steps? Not at all! Everyone’s writing is different and it’s important to not over-edit content. Many Expert Authors will use a combination of the above steps, such as 1, 4, and 5. Discover what works for you and your style. Once again, I must stress the importance of steps 4 and 5: don’t skip these. Always revise and proofread your articles prior to submission, but understand when you’re done. If you find yourself trying to edit a sentence or paragraph only to change it back, then use this as an indicator to move on.
These steps aren’t a recommendation to sacrifice creative, descriptive language for bare bones, dull content. In fact, they are designed for you to take a more creative approach to help you convey your message to your readers with more originality and style. So why not try it today?
Do you use these steps? What’s your revising and proofreading technique? Let us know in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!