How editing and proofreading make you a better and faster writer
Hand to your heart – do you intentionally (and following a process) proofread and edit the copy and content that you write?
Do you know that you should do it but don’t quite know the difference between proofreading and editing and how to do it?
Don’t worry any longer – I’ll share with you a few tips on how you can get started and why you want to get started with editing and proofreading your copy and content.
I’ll get to the how in a minute – but first let me give you an overview of proofreading vs editing (also known as “copyediting”):
“Proofreading is focused on the correction of grammar and punctuation while editing fixes issues with style, consistency, content correctness, vocabulary, and formatting.”
That is just a very top-level explanation, and every proofreader and editor will tell you that there’s a lot more to it.
But for content marketing and copywriting this definition is absolutely sufficient.
Consistent content creation is a challenge for many online service providers because it eats up too much of their time.
They get stuck because they can’t think of topics to write about, how to make their post an easy and interesting read, how to write quickly and concisely…
Even when they have a topic, they can’t get past the first paragraph and fiddle around with the sentence structure, the images they are going to use, or replace words because what they’ve written doesn’t sound quite right.
And that’s leading to…
Writing and editing are done in two different “modes” and areas of your brain. Writing is a creative task and is much easier when you are in a state of creative flow. Your writing comes from the creative part of your brain whereas editing comes from the rational and structured part of your brain.
Creative flow is a state where you just write and forget about time and what’s going on around you. That’s your subconscious mind taking over, processing information at high speed and often your fingers can’t type fast enough to capture all your thoughts and ideas.
But then, your conscious mind kicks in and says “that sentence sounds odd – let me look at it!”
And all of a sudden, your flow is gone and you are stuck with fine-tuning one particular sentence.
You can’t be in creative flow and edit your writing at the same time. That battle between your two modes of working (and two parts of the brain) gets you stuck.
When you want to write fast, I recommend writing down everything that you have to say on your topic (even if the first draft is totally grotty). That’s totally ok!
When you are writing, you want to capture all your ideas, you want to go where your mind goes and let creative solutions and ideas come to you.
They will come to you quickly and naturally and it’s best not to stop your flow of thoughts. Only when you’re done, stop writing
When I say that, I recommend though, that you do a bit of planning before you start writing so that you stick to the topic and the goal you want to achieve with your content.
You will see, that when you write in creative flow, you write a lot faster. And when you have planned your posts, you already have the points and the structure you want to use. You also have researched your topic and ensured that your data and the points you are making are correct. (I have another blog post, where I share a writing process with you). Just click on the image with the link and read that too – if you haven’t discovered a writing process that works for you).
Just writing saves you time!
Once you are done writing – let the rational part of your brain take over and edit and proofread your writing.
That will turn your grotty draft into an amazing piece of content.
Focus on one thing at a time and you’ll be done faster!
This point is a total no-brainer.
When you’re in creative mode, the words come streaming out of you and your fingers can’t always follow. That leads to some spelling and punctuation mistakes. It also leads to some sentences sounding a bit odd.
In the beginning, I said that “proofreading is focused on the correction of grammar and punctuation while editing fixes issues with style, consistency, content correctness, vocabulary, and formatting.”
That’s where you fix your grotty draft. You review your writing a few times and pick up on anything that sounds odd, feels odd, is misspelt, or factually wrong.
When you edit and proofread, you also check whether your post is “on topic” and achieves the goal you set yourself when you started writing your content. You make sure that your content conveys the right message, backs up your point and leads to a specific pre-defined conclusion.
Editing and proofreading irons out all the weaknesses of your content and ensures that it effectively fulfils its purpose.
That results in higher quality and with time – that leads to reason No. 3:
What do you want to be known for? I want to be known for high-quality content that people love to read. Content that inspires them, helps them, makes them more knowledgeable, entertains them and lifts their mood?
When your content is riddled with spelling and punctuation mistakes, when it is hard to read because there’s no clear structure and your thoughts are all over the place – and if you share shoddily researched information – then your reputation suffers and can damage your brand.
Editing and proofreading ensure that your content and copy are “on brand”, well written and well researched.
Over time your audience will understand that and crave your content.
Editing and proofreading are not the fun part of writing but if you follow a good writing process and have an editing and proofreading process that works, then you will be able to create higher quality content AND write faster.
If you want to go a bit deeper and learn more about a simple editing and proofreading process, then send me a message and I’ll send my process your way.