You've probably invested a lot of time into researching and properly writing your article or manuscript. But you may have the idea in your head that editing is time-consuming or unnecessary, and you're wondering if it makes a difference. It may surprise you how much it matters, and it's easier than you'd think to edit an article.
Beyond just making your writing sound better when people read it, there are a lot of other benefits to editing your work. In this article, discover why it's important and what to look for as you edit!
Why is it important to edit an article?
Writers are busy people, so you only want to spend time editing if it makes a real difference, right? Here are some reasons why you should pay attention to the editing process.
It creates a positive reader experience
As an author or writer, it's easy to get caught up in your work, but you need to remember the most important thing - how the reader perceives your writing.
When someone reads your article or book, you want them to understand the story or the point you're trying to make. You don't want to confuse your readers because of grammar, punctuation, or a lack of clarity.
On the other hand, a well-edited article creates a positive reader experience. Nothing is distracting from what you're trying to say, so the reader will understand and likely want to read more of your writing!
In addition, you can accomplish what you set out to do when you started writing. Whether that was to explain facts, tell a story, or convince the reader about something, it's much easier to accomplish this with well-edited work.
It makes your work look more professional
A polished article or manuscript will just look better. You'll come across as a lot more professional, and you'll also be seen as responsible.
This can only help you in the writing world and will make you stand out from others who need to take the time to edit correctly.
For example, suppose an editor or publisher receives a book or article with some good ideas but the writing isn't well-edited. In that case, the lack of structure could distract them so much that they don't really understand what you wrote.
On the other hand, doing a great job with editing ensures that your writing is clear, and those involved with publishing will be able to quickly comprehend the points you're making.
It could get you more writing jobs
Last, and most importantly, you might get more writing jobs if you edit an article! Since your work is polished, you could be considered for other writing assignments in the future.
And it pays to make the jobs of other people (like editors and blog managers) easier. Elna Cain explains that one of the reasons her clients continue to work with her is that she makes her writing easy to read and pays attention to details.
How to edit an article: 11 Key things to look for
Now that you know why it matters so much, what do you need to do after you finish the writing process to ensure your work is ready? Here are the essential steps to properly edit an article.
1. Start with a read-through for obvious errors and to make your writing clear
After you finish writing, you should begin your editing with a read-through. Try to take a bit of time between when you finish writing and when you read through your work so your mind will be fresh.
As you read, look for inconsistencies and grammar errors, but mostly, does it make sense? Is it easy to understand? Will your readers easily discern the point you're making?
Once you've made sure the writing is clear, you can move forward to the next step.
2. Use a grammar and spell checker program
Sometimes it's easy to miss spelling and grammar errors when you're focused on writing. But as you go edit an article, use a spell checker or a grammar program to help you catch everything.
Using a tool like this is much more effective than just reading and assuming that you'll catch every error. And it takes far less time.
3. Read through the writer's guidelines and apply them to your article
There may be writer's guidelines if you're writing for a website or a blog. You can ask the website or company you're working for to provide these if they have them.
Read these guidelines thoroughly and apply what you learn to your article. It may include things like keyword information, what the structure of the article should be like, etc.
When you follow the guidelines, you save yourself and others time. And you've done your job well because you took the time to understand the details of what the blog or website was looking for.
4. Be sure to include proper links
If you're writing an article that requires links, you must include them correctly in your article. First of all, be sure to give credit by linking to any concepts or ideas and cite for quotations, etc., you write about that belong to someone else.
In addition, it's also essential to be sure that you're including links that take the reader to high-quality websites that offer good information.
5. Write in active voice
Generally, the preferred way to write is in an active voice, which makes your writing easier to understand.
Writing in an active voice might take more thought, but it improves your writing and is worth the extra effort.
6. Use shorter sentences
Rather than going on and on without a pause, create short sentences. Shorter sentences are simpler to read and understand, making your writing sound better to the reader.
Check your work for this. Not every sentence has to be short, but overall you want your work to be clear and straightforward for the reader instead of making the writing too detailed with long sentences.
7. Beware of transitions in the writing
As you transition from one topic to another, ensure the transition is smooth. You don't want to confuse the reader by jumping around and making different points that don't connect.
Ideally, as you edit an article, group similar topics together and make sure you transition between them. You can use transition words to do this, or sometimes a whole paragraph is needed to explain the subject you'll lead into next.
8. Don't make the same points multiple times
Rather than emphasizing the same thing over and over again, make your point effectively one time.
You should echo the overall point of the article throughout. But mention individual topics in one section before moving on.
If you repeat the same thing too often, it will be confusing at best. At worst, it will make your writing sound unprofessional and you want to avoid fluff writing, as well.
9. Understand the editing program you are using
If you're using an editing program unfamiliar to you, whether you're writing a book or an article, take the time to learn about it before you start writing. This will save you time later on when you're in the middle of editing.
10. Optimize for SEO
Optimizing your writing for SEO is extremely important if you're writing for a blog or website. These types of businesses rely on SEO to make sure that readers see their content.
Because of this, you need to understand the basics of SEO, such as headlines and keyword searching, etc.
This helps the company you're writing for and makes it easier for readers to find your work. When you're a writer, the more people have a chance to read your writing, the better, as it can lead to more jobs!
11. Read again to be sure that you didn't miss any details and that the writing makes sense
Once you've edited all the details and are sure that the writing makes sense, it's time to reread it! This might seem like a lot of repetition, but reading your work at least twice can help you catch any lingering errors.
You can use this time to be sure the writing flows and sounds the way you want it to. Try to read from the perspective of the people who will read your work and notice what they would notice.
Articles related to editing an article
If you've enjoyed reading this article, enjoy these articles related to editing an article!
- How To Fact-Check An Article In 7 Steps
- 8 Steps On How To Edit A Book For Yourself…Like A Pro!
- What Is SEO Editing And How Can You Use It In Your Writing?
Knowing how to edit an article is part of being a great writer!
While it's likely that there will be someone to help with edits of your work, it's essential that you start the process on your own.
Using this information, you can easily make your manuscript or article sound polished and avoid errors.
Remember that proper editing can help you get more writing jobs and make you seem much more professional.