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5 Steps for Editing Your Own Writing

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❶And just think how boring life would be if we already mastered them all and had nothing to strive for. Is the word an expletive?

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John Guanci Jan 14, The hardest part for me is getting the thoughts out of my head and onto the computer. I think the reason is that I tend to overanalyze and pay too much attention to how the words flow before I even hit the keys! Get your ideas down first, worry about structure later. Editing should be the fun part. Seriously, train your writer brain to ignore all instructions while writing. LittleOwlCrunchyMomma Jan 14, Shane Arthur Jan 15, Greg Jan 14, Wonderful tips and suggestions.

Karyn with a Y Jan 14, Carole Rustic Artistry Jan 15, The entire opening section reminded me of similar tips and suggestions that Henneke Duistermatt makes on her wonderful blog, http: Readers who found this post helpful should definitely check it out. Shane Arthur Jan 16, Hi Shane, Your 7 points great article is like 7wonders for me. Keep coming with nice write up often as usual so that we can be educated through every masterstrokes of yours.

Perhaps a list post of the flabby words and phrases I have on file. Kathy H Porter Jan 16, Hi Shane — loved the fact that you visually edited the first 18 lines of this post.

When I taught writing, I came up with a few tips for my students. And, for those pesky spelling errors? If I may, one last comment: Thanks for allowing me this trip down memory lane. I agree with your advice, especially about writing poetry.

I love that form. Nice that you like my homepage copy, Shane. A techie I will never be. Ash Jan 17, The secret to your brilliant word-smithing on my guest blogging submissions has now been revealed. Shane Arthur Jan 18, Robert van Tongeren Jan 18, Shane, so good to see you on this blog. Your edits in the guestblogging forum have had such a huge impact on my writing.

So I love this post. I recently created a note in Evernote with a couple of words I could copy and paste into the find functionality to quickly spot points of improvement in my text. Shane Arthur Jan 21, Ryan Biddulph Jan 19, Shalonda Gordon Jan 19, The post you have created here is life-changing for me.

As editing is something I neither understood or could accomplish without some assistance. Honestly I deserve to read it a few more times in order to obtain complete understanding..

Comments like yours will indeed keep me smiling. So glad you appreciated it. Emmeline Jan 20, I have pared it down into a checklist that people who have studied English grammar will understand:. Have you used… 1. Do you need it? The present continuous, or a phrasal verb? Could you replace it with a plain verb? Can you find another one? A negative description, eg. Can you put it positively? Weak verbs with nouns? Can you use those nouns as verbs?

Alcohol is the cause of hangovers — Alcohol causes hangovers. Mohita Nagpal Jan 28, I am guilty of many of the writing sins you pointed out. I tend to overdo the there, here and it business. You might want to edit this sentence. Shane Arthur Jan 28, I agree with you.

Stephen Anderson Jan 28, Thank you for a great post, Shane. Mark Jan 28, Shane Arthur Jan 30, MartinRobert Mar 10, Lee Germeroth Mar 14, Manuscriptedit Apr 01, Thanks for this valuable information and all the guidelines you provided.

I really appreciate it. Stine Halmind Apr 25, Thanks for some really specific, useful tips! I guess your writing style also depends on your audience, theme, language! Kim May 28, Mary Ann Carreon May 30, Helen Dewdney Jun 20, As a huge waffler this is going to help no end.

DiamondDenisa Aug 01, Jay Croft Aug 13, JP Ryder Aug 17, I just went over one of my emails and massively improved it by following your advice. I like to write but I was making quite a few of the mistakes you outlined above. Sanjay Sajeev Sep 15, I agree to all your points. I wrote many contents using grammar expletives. But now, i learned to write a content without these boring grammar expletives.

Keep writing this type articles. Loshon Sep 24, I want to improve my writing skills. Can you recommend any good books? Thank you in advance for your feedback. Shane Arthur Sep 25, Shane Arthur Nov 01, You just wrote two sentences without capitalizing the first words of each. Is that part of your non-suck method?

Have you been hacked? The whois data of your comment should help us determine this. Laurenmaaria Dec 03, Margaux Daughtry Dec 12, Am I the only one who read this and cried? Wait…I read this and cried…. I have work to do! Shane Arthur Jan 05, RK Dec 22, IMO, blanket editing rules are quite dangerous to writers, especially inexperienced ones.

Shane Arthur Dec 22, So, although we may list these tips as rules, you can view them as suggestions. Sandi Clifford Dec 30, I already edited that sentence having committed two infractions. I guess that word post I wrote last night will become quite easily now. Hema Unnoop Jan 05, Will save and get a print.

No time to waste. Going back to my old posts: Des Gray Jan 06, Hey Shane, thanks — one hell of a post. I read every word, including comments. Essential copy checklist — even better on the second read. Shane Arthur Jan 17, Charlotte Jan 17, Gupta Jan 29, Shane Arthur Feb 24, Alyce J Jan 31, Domain Feb 19, Vishnu Feb 19, Loved the way you elaborated with examples. Tim Fehraydinov Feb 20, English is not my native language, so these tips are especially useful to me as a blogger.

Muhammad Touqeer Feb 24, Shazma Khan Feb 26, Lovely post and great comments…. Shane Arthur Feb 26, Erik Mar 16, But learning to produce amazing content for your readers, while optimizing for search engines at the same time, is a necessary process to master. I like your suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of your writing, by simply editing some words leaving the same meaning.

Thanks for sharing your insights! So this really hits the mark for me. Too right, Shane, it is stressful. Done a few of those types of post myself. But, as we both know, you have to put the legwork in to get any sort of impact. Glad you liked it. Not sure about a checklist. So glad you found it useful. I love the examples! Thanks for sharing, Shane. Thanks for a great post! Fantastic cellular-level breakdown, Jon, thank you!

Good luck with the blog. As they say — write drunk and edit sober! So glad to hear that about the strike-through section. I was worried about that. I, like most other blog readers, usually skim through posts. I wish to see more posts of this quality and value on major blogs. But there are a few points where I disagree with you. But overall, a brilliant post with lots of value. Hello again, CCC superstar. Glad to see you again. Thank you for writing this. Thanks for putting it so well. Exactly what I wanted to see!

Thanks for the bonus tip! Thanks for the kind words. Thanks for putting this on the Weekly. Glad you enjoyed it enough to say that. Great post on sentence fixing and keeping the reader engaged. Those red track changes can truly drive that point home, huh? The biggest rule of all? Beware the overly proscriptive: Thank you Jon, this article will help my writing a lot!!!

Of course you just validated me vs. Mitch about commas and let he still liked the post. You are so kind.

Loved your Fibro poem. Okay, you made me laugh. No, YOU rock … literally. There was a lot of very good information in this blog post. This was a great post. So glad to hear you say that. Just rewrote that sentence, following rules here! And great to have Jon Morrow alert me about it. Sharing is in my blood.

I love the love. Exactly what I like to hear. Thank you for this. Great tips, succinctly presented. You can put these tips right next to those yummy brews of yours. So glad you are benefiting from what we write. So glad you liked the post.

Okay, I gave it a quick pass. Love the alliteration you used there! I love to slip into Dr. Seuss mode at times. Kind breaks up the monotony. If you spot a comma-heavy sentence, try to give each idea its own sentence.

Adverbs weaken your copy because these excess words are not truly descriptive. Rather than saying the girl runs quickly, say she sprints. Instead of describing the cat as walking slowly, say he creeps or tiptoes. For example, you might start your introduction talking about yourself, then switch halfway through the piece and start addressing the reader. And if you must switch, start with one and finish with the other.

Your readers will get lost. A powerful hyphen here and a thought-provoking semicolon there can be effective. But a piece of writing littered with all sorts of punctuation — parentheses, colons, ellipses, etc.

Oftentimes, you can eliminate these extra pieces of punctuation with commas or by ending a sentence and starting a new one — and that makes your writing that much stronger. Some people think jargon makes their writing sound smart, but you know better. Good writing does not confuse readers. If they need to grab a dictionary to finish a sentence, your writing has room for improvement.

To get your point across, use words people are familiar with. The English language has thousands of words. You can certainly find a shorter or more common word in your thesaurus than a jargony one. Did you catch the redundant words in that sentence? Brand new, advance planning, basic necessities… the list of these common phrases is longer than this blog post.

Your sentences are straightforward. Or, your sentences are to-the-point. Though prepositions of, in, to, for, etc. Prepositions need lots of friends. By cutting the preposition and the words that follow, you can cut three, four or even five words. Sometimes a prepositional phrase can be replaced with just one more direct word, or cut completely. An easy way to cut prepositions is to look for opportunities to make something possessive. You never need it. Did you start to walk the dog, or did you walk the dog?

Is the car starting to roll down the hill, or is it rolling down the hill? In the other 95 percent, get rid of it! This is a very difficult one to remember. Explaining grammar is her specialty. John is the guy who always forgets his shoes, not the guy that always forgets his shoes. Just get rid of it. This is often a symptom of lazy writing. There are lots of better, more interesting ways to start sentences. See how easy it is to make this mistake? Just make sure your bullets correspond to one another.

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Good writing is about more than just grammar.

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Is editing the same thing as proofreading? Not exactly. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand close and careful reading, but they focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques.

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