I know Innovative Editing has written before about the best ways to edit and proofread one’s self. But considering the human race’s proclivity to make mistakes, let’s tackle it again. Especially for business bloggers.
With that goal in mind, here’s this week’s Professional Writing Tip:
If you're posting something online that you first wrote in a Microsoft Word document or some such thing, always read it over one more time in its online form. You might be surprised what mistakes you catch when you do.
How do I know this and why do I post it? Because it happened to me while writing a nonfiction genre-specific Writing Rule last month.
It was something specifically meant for anyone wanting to write a craft or hobby how-to book. All based around this:
Know your audience and speak right to them.
This is actually a multifaceted rule. For one thing, according to crafting expert Margot Potter, aka Madge, aka The Impatient Crafter, you need to find a truly unique angle to write about your craft or hobby. Let potential readers know you’re the expert go-to in this area of the free-time world.
At the same time, let them know why their lives will be better by learning at your crafting table. Make your presentation as fun or beautiful or useful as possible.
You may notice how it starts out with “For one thing.” As in there’s more than one thing to be said about this topic. That’s why there’s that second paragraph (the first line is a header), which begins with “At the same time.”
So far, so good.
But then I blew it while finishing up writing that first draft – and editing it into a second draft – in Microsoft Word. I wrote, “Let’s start out by addressing the first part of that Writing Rule.”
Then I carried on addressing that “first part of that Writing Rule” until the end of the copy.
In both my first draft and second draft, I completely overlooked the fact that I’d intensely implied I would cover the second paragraph as well. Honestly, I’m not sure if a third read-over would have done the trick either.
By the third read-over working within the same medium, the human brain is apt to see what it thinks is there instead of what is actually there. It’s sad but true.
No matter whether we realize it or not, we get a bit bored with the copy we’ve labored over for so long. It’s much, much easier to think it’s already good to go than to labor over it a bit longer.
That’s why switching it up visually speaking is such a big deal.
By moving my blog post-to-be from the largely unadorned Microsoft Word setting to the much busier view within my blog-building platform, I was literally able to see the copy in a new light. This included the glaring mistake I’d made.
Admittedly, spotting the glaring mistake meant I had to spend another 15 minutes fixing it. Which was annoying.
But hey, if you’re going to publish something, strive to publish it right. I know that’s my business blogging Writing Rule. And I'm sure it's yours too.