How are you?
I’m kinda panicking over here, since it feels like summer is coming to an end. And while it’s cozy and “romantic” when the days get shorter and the nights get longer, I really want summer to stick around some more.
The good thing?
If the weather sucks it’s easier for me to get shit done.
And now with September around the corner, my plan is to write, write, write.
Which brings me to today’s topic aaand it’s a biggie:
Did you just fall asleep?
I know it sounds boring, but hear me out. This really IS the mouthwatering icing to your writing-cake. Mmh.
So here are my editing-essentials for you. Follow these simple steps to transform your writing to irresistible:
1. Cut the crap
And be radical about it.
What I mean by this is: delete all unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs!
Everything that doesn’t serve a specific purpose has to go!
I know it can sometimes feel like cutting off your own bodyparts, but trust me on this one.
Among the top 5 typical unnecessary words are:
- a (little) bit
Now while they have their own meaning, they usually just fill up space and kinda make your message less powerful.
Instead of really good or very good you can say great, awesome, extraordinary, breathtaking, a pleasure or even just good. – More powerful!
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use these words at all. Just look through your writing and be
really clear and honest about each word’s purpose.
2. Become bffs with a thesaurus
If you’re not using one yet, YOU HAVE TO DO IT!
Did that feel like screaming?Good.
If your creative brain is stuck, a thesaurus WILL be your best friend! Because…
Finding the perfect words doesn’t have to be so hard.
Give the thesaurus a chance and it will bring you inspiration and fresh ideas. Even if your choice of words feels “good”, you should still check your new bff. You’ll be surprised how many other
great excellent words terms are out there, waiting for you.
So look through your content and type some of those lame-old, same-old phrases into your thesaurus. Then change them for the better! Amen.
The Oxford Dictionary tells us there are at least a quarter of a million words in the English language. Let’s freakin’ use them!
You eat with your eyes first!
That’s why a professional chef knows that if he just throws your perfectly sauteéd scallops on some ugly grandma-plate and drowns them in brown sauce, it will be a HUGE turn-off to the eater.
Even if the taste is extraordinary.
And just like a pro-chef will work his ass off to present his food in a mouth- and eyewatering way, you should do the same with your writing!
So what will our culinary artist look at when it comes to designing his plate?
You wanna make sure to use at least one additional color to highlight stuff. This will pretty up your content and also make it more distinct. But do find a balance and don’t make it look like you just fell into a pot of rainbow. ;)
Use different fonts and different font sizes to neatly arrange your content. You can also use these tools to highlight shit and have a so-called “double reader path”.
What the what? It means that you have paragraphs in bigger fonts standing out for the skimmers.
You know, the people who are less likely to read everything and wanna get a glimpse first? They look at the sentences that stand out and then decide if they wanna read the rest of your stuff. Use this method and you won’t lose them!
Play with bolds and italics to emphasize! Again, don’t go too crazy with it, since these methods lose power when you overdo them.
Less is more?
Let’s abuse the cook analogy even more:
Nobody likes an overloaded plate. It overwhelms you and makes you feel like you’ll never be able to finish.
And yet if there’s only so much as a bite on your plate… ain’t nobody comin’ back to your restaurant either! Booo.
The same goes for your writing.YES, you wanna find a balance. But as a general rule? Break your content down into paragraphs! And be consistent about it. I like to have my paragraphs no longer than 3 lines.
The white space makes it easier for the eyes to read. And it takes away the overwhelm. With every paragraph we finish, we get a sense of accomplishment. Yay, I made it! Now off to conquer the next one…
4. Get yourself a doggy bag
Sometimes you’ll come up with amazing stuff, only to find out later that it doesn’t work for this post/email/whatever.
Do not throw it away!!!
Get yourself a doggy bag and save the good stuff for later.
I just use a word-doc called “snippets”.
You can always go back to your virtual doggy bag and check out what’s in there. Even if you’re not gonna use your leftovers the way the are, let them be a source of ideas and inspiration.
Who wants to throw away inspiration anyway, right?
Step away from your writing before you edit.
You’ll have much better results, if you have distance. It’s hard for all of us if we’re in too deep. (which we are if we just gave birth to our content!)
So take some time and then come back with a fresh pair of eyes. Thank yourself later.
Now let me hear it in the comments:
Are you struggling with the editing part?
Ever used a thesaurus before?
And what did you have for lunch?
Can’t wait to talk to you,