Real talk, editing your own content is hard. You might be a grammar fanatic, have a thesaurus in your head and love editing other people’s content, but when it comes to your own, you’re stuck. I’m perfectly guilty of missing very obvious mistakes in my own writing. Why is this? When we write, we know exactly what we’re trying to say and we know what we want it to be, therefore, it’s really hard to look at things objectively and catch mistakes when your brain is just going through reading it as exactly what you want it to say. Whether it’s grammatical things that don’t quite make sense or even spelling, we’re all going to miss some things when it comes to our own content.
Since we just finished with last month’s issue of the magazine at work, I’ve done tons of editing of both my own content and articles I’d read probably half a dozen times, so by the end I was missing the most obvious mistakes. How to edit my own content has been an idea on my mind for quite some time, so I’m going to share with you a few ways in which I try and edit my own content to the best of my ability.
Read everything slowly.
The biggest mistake I make when editing my own content is reading it really quickly, almost skimming, to make sure the gist is right and that I got everything. This is not proofreading, no matter how much I tell myself it might be. After we spent lots of time writing the post, taking photos for the post and finally publishing the post, I know the last thing I want to do is go through it meticulously. However, this is the only way you’re going to catch mistakes. Read every word and sentence deliberately, that way you won’t miss glaring errors.
Read everything twice.
I know, I know, you want to be done! But reading through everything twice will give you two chances to catch any mistakes. Especially since you might be changing around some sentence structures, it’s possible to make new mistakes from changing around sentences, so reading it a second time through will give you the chance to catch those.
Read your work as someone who only wants to find fault.
I try and read my content as though I’m editing someone else’s writing- trying to be as tough as I can. I make notes to myself and really try to be brutal. If I don’t go into it with this mentality I’m far more likely to miss glaring errors. Sometimes I don’t find all that much, and that’s fine, but getting into this tough mentality is the best way to look at it objectively.
Read it aloud.
I know it sounds like we’re in the first grade, but reading stuff aloud is probably the best way you can possibly edit something. Your brain works far quicker when you read, but you can only go so fast when you’re talking, so it really gives you the opportunity to slow down and really look at the content. Some stuff might read fine if you’re glancing over it, but if you read it aloud you realize it doesn’t sound quite right.
Grammarly is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be incredibly useful to catch mistakes grammar-wise that you otherwise might not have thought of. It’s free to download into your browser and it will underline anything that’s grammatically incorrect and tell you why. It drives me crazy to have Grammarly on while I’m in the middle of writing, but I always switch it on when I’m finished and go through everything it’s underlined.
Editing your own content is no easy task, but hopefully with these few tips you’ll be catching as many errors as you can. Editing and having error-free content is the best way to look professional and really build a quality brand. Even if you’re writing for your own enjoyment, no one likes to read something that has mistakes in it and editing your writing is the best way to learn and improve. What are your favorite ways to edit your own content?