Blogging Part 2: Editing Your Own Blog Post

images

*This could be seen as an extension of  my previous blogging post so I’m treating it as a part 2.  And just to let you know, I am not an expert.*

Self editing is a big bone of contention for me.  As  a writer, whether said writer is professional or amateur, we are more used to the actual act of putting our thoughts and fancies on the page and not double or triple checking our output. It seems that when we edit our own work, we tend to miss the more obvious mistakes while looking for the more eclectic ones.

For example: recently I uploaded a post that I had taken ages to edit. *”Ages” to me means more than three passes over the article, it doesn’t really equate to a real time.*  Once I was satisfied that every thing looked okay, I posted it. Only to cringe with embarrassment when I first read the posted product. My first sentence had a word missing!

Face Palm moment.

Of course one of the great things about WordPress is that we can always go back and re-edit our stuff after we’ve posted it. But that really isn’t what we should be doing. We should do a decent edit before we send our baby out to be read by strangers (and friends) who will most likely not be impressed by the fact that we cannot spell or write an intelligent  sentence.

I don’t read other blogs nearly as much as I should. I am, by my very nature, lazy. I only have so much energy and attention span available to me and I have to share it with everything from doing the housework to taping a video for YouTube. So in my mind three passes is the longest that I can take to edit my own written material.

But when I do read other blogs, I cringe when I see a barrage of misspellings and sentences that have great holes in them where a word should be. Now I will admit that I have an almost phobic distaste for writers who cannot get the difference between to, two and too. I also have real problems with those who cannot differentiate between their, there and they’re.

*My most cringeworthy moment came when I’d incorrectly used their instead of they’re. I was mortified.*

With the use of spell checker software that is available, not just on WordPress, but on every word processing software in the world, I find it inconceivable that these common mistakes still appear on people’s blogs and (I’m sad to say) their books. I know that I have not followed a blog that has been full of spelling mistakes and despite the content being fantastic, I couldn’t in all honesty follow someone who did not care enough about what they wrote to edit it properly.

Editing is boring and tedious. Why is this chap smiling.
Editing is boring and tedious. Why is this chap smiling.

Granted we are writers and not editors, the two things are not mutually inclusive. Being good at one does not automatically mean you are good at the other. But, and this is a big but, we have to make that effort. If we don’t take ourselves seriously enough to send out a polished product when we upload, how can we expect anyone else to. (and that is to not too or two)

And we do want to be taken seriously, don’t we? The blogging world is full of people who can write just as well as we can and a lot more folks who can write better.  A lot of successful bloggers don’t just add pictures and videos and GIF‘S (that’s for you Tyson) they add a professional touch that includes ruthless editing.

Editing Tips:

1) Try reading the blogpost in reverse order. It’s a lot easier to spot boo-boo’s that way.

2) Have a trusted person read the post. My daughter used to do this for me and me for her. It works.

3) Try reading the post out loud. A lot of times this will save you from making sentencing mistakes.

4) Leave your post alone for a bit. Go do something that is not writing related and then come back, the mistakes will sometimes leap off that page at you.

5) Take your time. There is no rush. No-one is breathing over your shoulder screaming hurry up.

6) Last one I promise. Try reading it in preview mode (WordPress). I find mistakes show more clearly on preview.

Now following these tips is no guarantee that your future blog posts will be mistake free. But they will go a long way toward making it read more smoothly and improving the look of it.

I do feel that standards are slipping. I’ve read no less than three Freshly Pressed articles that were “shot-gunned” through with misspellings. Great stories all, but to read? I kept stumbling over misspelt words and it took the enjoyment out of the article. Just as it takes the enjoyment out of posting my own articles and discovering that I’d either turned word-check off, or I hadn’t bothered to really edit properly.

Just things like using the wrong “tense” or the wrong adverb or adjective can throw the reader out of the moment or cause them to miss your point. This can lose you views, followers and the confidence you need to continue writing.

We owe it to the good people who take the time to read, like, or comment on our babies. More importantly we owe it to ourselves. Because  we are writers, damn it and we are proud of that fact.

Do you have any editing tips that work for you? If so, please feel more than free to share them. We’d love to hear them, I know I can use all the help I can get.

What we do.
What we do.

I’ve Done How Many??

Am I the only person who sees the little slide at the left of your post screen as a sort of competitive gauge? I finish a post, one that hopefully has been fully edited, and the gauge thingy says. “You published 206 (plug applicable number in here if 206 isn’t your number) posts your next goal is 210.”

Every time I see this thing I feel myself charging up like a Kentucky Derby participant. My brain goes into calculation mode. “Wow! I only have four more posts to hit the 210 mark? I’d better think of something to write!”

I then start “cruising” the net, look at my DVD and game collection and pull up the Add New Post screen.  A lot of these “instant” posts wind up being discarded before I’ve finished the first sentence.

Because despite my competitive hackles rising up, I still have to be in the mood to write. I used to think I could always use my film and game collection to fall back on if I couldn’t think of anything else to write. But I need to have watched the film recently or else I am relying on old memories and,truth be told, those can be a bit dodgy.

The same rule applies to games. If I haven’t played it in awhile I tend to be a bit vague about the game in question.

Unfortunately for me, I have a bit of an addictive personality. That means, according to various doctors I’ve had over the years, that I am easily addicted. To everything. Really??

I tend to disagree. I always point out, quite logically, that if I were indeed an addictive personality I would be addicted to everything and I am not. I don’t do hard or soft drugs, I drink alcohol very rarely, I do still battle with the cigarette thing but that is more to time spent doing it than outright addiction. I also don’t have one-night-stands with strangers because I am addicted to sex.

But I will admit an addiction to writing, reading, game playing, movie watching and adrenaline. All the above mentioned items are leisure activities, the adrenaline I get from my job. But the point is, I guess, that I am seemingly addicted to ‘beating’ the stupid gauge thing on the left of the page.

In my mind I see it as a gauntlet thrown down at my feet. “Ha! You think you’re doing good? Well if you’re so good write me another four posts, sonny, and be quick about it. I have another challenge for you when you finish.”

I rise to the occasions every time. So I guess I am addicted to being competitive. Or I am a completionist. If that is the case I’m in trouble.

The sliding gauge ‘thingy’ is always going to win. It won’t matter if I write 206,000 posts (and how awesome would that be) the gauge will always tell me I need X amount to get to the next level.

It almost feels like playing a video game that will always win. No matter how many times you level up it will never be enough to fight the final big boss. I guess I am doomed to feel the same way every time I see the gauge. In fact it just hit me that when I post this up, I’ll see the gauge again.

Oh well, onward and…onward!

Gorging Myself on Books

books
books (Photo credit: brody4)

I am reading four books at once. Well, not at once, more like at the same time. I’m like a hummingbird darting from one nectar filled flower to another.

I open a  book, a quickly read a chapter or two, then set that book down and open another. I will do this until I have tasted each book. I will then pause and reflect on what I have just read.

This process will continue until I get to a chapter that hooks me. This is the defining moment. I have found that part of the story that so enthrals me that I can no longer continue my hummingbird reading. I will then have to finish that book. Preferably in one sitting, regardless of the books length, regardless of the topic, regardless of what else I might have to do.

I have always read this way. Partly because I am a very fast reader. Back when I was younger and had better eyesight and my concentration was total, I could read two thousand words a minute with seventy percent comprehension and eighty percent retention. I know this because my then girl friend was taking a speed-reading course.

My girlfriend, who incidentally later became my first wife, was an incredibly slow reader. It drove her to distraction. So when she started university, the first thing she did was take the speed-reading course. Part of the course was to take a test. You read an amount of prose and then you were tested on what you had read.

My Girlfriend wanted me to take the test as I could read, according to her, incredibly fast. That was when I found out exactly how fast I could read.

I don’t think that I can reach the dizzying heights of two thousand words per minute these days, but I am still damn fast. I have, though, improved my retention rate. I am not sure what that means. Of course the important thing about all this is the fact that I still love reading.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The four books I am dipping into at the moment are by all contemporary authors. Two are Scandinavian, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo seems to have opened up a whole new market. The other two are American writers. The books are:

Burned by Thomas Enger, She’s Never Coming Back by Hans Koppel, Gone by Michael Grant and Nightmare by Stephen Leather.

So far it has been a tie between Leather’s Nightmare, another in his Jack Nightingale series and Grant’s Gone, the first in his series about a world with everyone above the age of fifteen ‘gone.’

I still haven’t hit that defining chapter yet. But when I do, you’ll be the first to know.