- February 24, 2021
- Posted by: Carole
- Category: Uncategorized
You know that great feeling you get when you finish writing something? It doesn’t have to be a novel or a dissertation. It could be just an email or a blog. No matter what your writing accomplishment, we recognize that sigh of relief and fulfillment as you plop in the last punctuation mark. But then it hits you. You’re not done. It’s time to edit!
Now that sigh of relief might have shifted to panic. We’re not all natural born members of the Grammar Police, are we? So what do you do? Well, you’ve got two choices. You can hire an editor or you can confidently dive into self-editing mode. Ready to try it yourself? Okay. Follow these handy tips to catch many of your own blunders.
Spellcheck is wonderful. And it’s an invention that has come a long way since the days of word processors. That said, don’t think it begins and ends with this handy little tool. Nope! Spellcheck may catch some glaring errors, but as long as you’ve typed a word in the English language, it won’t save you. Your staff may have “cleaned the poo” instead of “the pool,” and you don’t want that going out in an email or status report. You need more than spell checker, but it’s a good place to start.
Set It Aside
Don’t edit your work as soon as you finish unless you absolutely have to. If it’s not a rush project, set it aside for a day or two and come back to it with fresh eyes. This gives your mind a little time to forget what you were trying to say and ensure you’re reading what is actually on the paper. Our minds are amazing, filling in words for us that aren’t actually there!
Read it to Your Cat
…or the dog, bird or people on the street below. Really, we’re just trying to say you should read your writing aloud. Hearing it helps you catch errors and get a feel for how well your writing flows. Just don’t count on your pets for feedback. Dogs wag their tails whenever you talk to them, and cats look ticked off half the time anyway.
Watch for Consistency
A good piece of work shows consistency throughout. You want to capitalize words consistently, format consistently and use a consistent style. If you’re all over the place in your writing, it’s tough for readers to follow your message and meaning.
Eliminate Empty Words
Really, very, so much, we want you to cut the wasted words. Use strong, descriptive verbs and adjectives to paint clear, vivid pictures. Choose words purposefully. Don’t use nondescript words like … you guessed it … “really,” “very” and “so much.”
Examine Your Paragraphs
Travel back with us to grade school when you learned the key components of a strong, proper paragraph. You’ve got to have a topic, or lead, sentence that sets the tone of the paragraph. Your reader should be able to scan that first sentence and know what the rest of the paragraph is about. The following three to five sentences should all contain supporting details about that one topic. If you started out talking about homemade birdhouses and the fourth sentence shares a wonder of modern meteorology, you’ve got a problem. Examine how your thoughts are laid out.
Review As Your Audience
It’s essential that your words speak to your intended audience. If you’re writing a brief for a medical board, you likely should write rather formally. Whereas, if you’re writing the intro to a young adult book on gaming, you need to simplify and know their lingo. Make sure you’ve chosen your words and tone appropriately.
Take a Look at Formatting
Stop reading for a moment and look at all the pieces of your document as a whole. Are the sections or chapters clearly labeled with appropriate content in each? Is the font the same for all headers on the same level? Have you used bullets and lots of subheadings if you’re writing for the web or writing a report? Think about your readers’ purpose for picking up your document and ensure it’s laid out in the most logical way to help them achieve their goal.
Share It With Someone
You may not know an editor, but you likely know someone who would be willing to read your writing. Just ask them to read to ensure comprehension and to catch any glaring errors.
With these tips, you can catch many of the most common writing errors. But if you do need a member of the Grammar Police to help, Rampant Social is here. We’ve got the pros on staff to ensure your writing is clear, understandable, grammatically correct and polished. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to discover how we can make your content and business stand out.
Rampant Social is a hyper-focused marketing agency specializing in tourism, parks and recreation, real estate, and health and wellness sectors. Our writers and editors develop blogs, social media and online content, and our experienced media and marketing planners can successfully create and execute branding, media planning and digital marketing strategies. Rampant’s team of industry professionals works with clients to create a full spectrum program for success, resulting in more cohesive marketing. Reach out today to see how Rampant Social can ignite your business growth.